How old are the oldest living organisms?
500 years old, 1000 years old, 3000 years old?
Artist Rachel Sussman set out to find and document some of the earth’s oldest living organisms. Her criteria? The organism had to be at least 2000 years old.
It’s hard to imagine any living thing being around for 2000 years, let alone over 10,000. It’s incredible to think that there are organisms that have been around since the invention of the wheel to the invention of the iPhone!
Here is Sussman, on the TED stage (EWC loves you, TED!), talking about the incredible journey that has taken her around the globe to explore the ancient treasures of our planet…
Our place on the timeline of life…
It’s hard to fathom the timescale of our planet. We have a human time scale we can barely comprehend, and yet, it is minuscule compared to the history of our planet and life on it.
We have done so much to impact Earth, particularly in the last few centuries, it’s hard to believe that this planet was spinning and producing life for billions of years without us here. Should we be having such an enormous impact on Earth, or is it time that we envisioned what it means to be a part of the history of life on Earth?
Perhaps if we took the time to contemplate what it means that there are 2000-year-old trees on this planet and that they are just one lifetime in their species’ history we could understand that life on this planet is continual. From one generation to the next, his planet is passed down and it is the responsibility of this generation to leave it better than we found it for the next.
Stay beautiful & keep laughing!
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- Sussman, Rachel. “The World’s Oldest Living Things.” TED.com. TED, July 2010. Web. 17 Feb. 2016. <http://www.ted.com/talks/rachel_sussman_the_world_s_oldest_living_things#>. ↩