The Oldest Living Things Unraveled

The new pictures that have recently surfaced on the internet reveal the oldest living things that exist on the planet. A 2,000 year old shrub, a 5,000 year old moss and a 9,550 year old spruce have been spotted in the pictures. In order to track these living things, the artist Rachel Sussman had to spend a decade searching for them. These plants have been pictured in Antarctica, Greenland and the Mojave Desert.  The discovery of these plants gives a detailed view on the evolution of plants on Earth and other useful info.

Rachel went through the parts of Atacama desert in Chile to Australia in search of these plants. Finding these plants would help the researchers a lot in order to crave out the details of the plants’ evolution. The book that has been jotted down by Rachel is known as “The Oldest Living Things in the World” and it takes the user on an incredible journey piercing through the time and space. From over one decade, Rachel has been collaborating with biologists in order to spot these plants and identify them. For this purpose, she has already travelled all around the world. The book that she has written had an interesting concept underlying with it. Only the living organisms that are 2,000 years or older were to be included in the book.

The Oldest Living Things Unraveled The Oldest Living Things Unraveled The Oldest Living Things Unraveled The Oldest Living Things Unraveled The Oldest Living Things Unraveled The Oldest Living Things Unraveled The Oldest Living Things Unraveled The Oldest Living Things Unraveled

When Sussman was interviewed, she stated that the idea of the book came to her on the trip to Japan. When she was travelling there, there came the news about a 2,180 year old tree. The idea struck her very hard and when she resided in New York, she could not help but think about the writing a book continuously. The project conducted by Rachel is a bit of art and a bit of science put together. She added that her minimum criterion for selecting the plants/trees is that they are aged at least 2,000 years. She considers this age as the zero level for her project.  While travelling in quest of these plants, she said that Greenland was one of the best ones. Going there was an experience equivalent to going back in old times. Once she fell off the boat and could not find the other researchers she had to meet and this induced a fear in her and she did not know what to do.


Visiting to Greenland was like going to the undisturbed state of flora and fauna. You can simply stretch your hand in the lake and can find a fish.  It is as easy as it gets. There were an ample of plants in the name Greenlandic lichens that grow by one centimeter over the whole century. They are usually found in South America and Africa.

Stromatolites are considered to be the oldest living things in the world and some researchers are of the belief that these plants were the first to arrive on Earth. They are 2,000-3,000 years old and are found in Australia. Rachel also went to Antarctica in quest of the oldest living organisms and found an old moss; that aged 5,500 years. She also went to Tasmania in order to click the picture of a shrub that was 43,600 year old and it is the last individual of its kind in the world. The study of Rachel is based on plants because she could not find any animal that lived in excess of 175 years.  The plants that she has found out play an important role for the scientists to know the facts of past. She hopes for the conservation of these plants considering their importance for the scientists.

Credit goes to Rachel Sussman for above photos.

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