Earth's Oldest Living Thing Is...
Giant seagrass, called 'Posidonia oceanic,' likely at least 100K years old
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 7, 2012 9:22 AM CST
Updated Feb 11, 2012 7:15 AM CST
A stock image of seagrass.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – The 43,000-year-old Tasmanian plant once identified as the planet's oldest living thing turns out to be a relative youngin'. At up to 200,000 years old, patches of giant seagrass in the Mediterranean have taken the top slot. Australian scientists sequenced the DNA of the Posidonia oceanic to find that it is between 12,000 years and 200,000 years old, and most likely at least 100,000 years old. Their report, published in PLos ONE, reviewed 40 underwater meadows throughout the Mediterranean.

The seagrass has survived so long because it has the ability to clone itself, reproduce asexually, and stockpile nutrients for tough times, the Telegraph notes. "They are continually producing new branches," says a professor. But climate change threatens the seagrass, he adds, because "as the water warms, the organisms move slowly to higher altitudes. The Mediterranean is locked to the north by the European continent. They cannot move. The outlook is very bad."

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Earth's Oldest Living Thing Is... is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 37 comments
Feb 11, 2012 11:25 AM CST
I don't care about the other stuff in the findings, but I think "asexual reproduction" for all Americans is the goal of the tight-assed GOP.
Feb 11, 2012 10:59 AM CST
It's sad to think that this seagrass, that has been around for hundreds of thousands of years could be killed off because of warming temperatures in the Mediterraneans sea. Further proof that the way people live their lives today is destroying the planet. People have become a parasite on this planet.
Feb 11, 2012 10:47 AM CST
Ron Paul