The average human lifespan is less than that of the animal kingdom. Humans have an "absolute limit" of 150 years, but some animals can live through centuries and millennia, and even reverse the aging process.

The oldest land animal is almost 190 years old, but none of them make this list. Here are 10 of the longest- living animals.

A bowhead whale breaches in waters near the Qikiqtaaluk Region in Nunavut, northern Canada.

A bowhead whale breaches in waters near the Qikiqtaaluk Region in Nunavut, northern Canada. (Image credit: Kelvin Aitken / VWPics / Alamy Stock Photo)
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A bowhead whale is the longest living mammal. The lifespan of the whales in the subarctic is unknown, but stone harpoon tips found in some individuals show that they live over 100 years.

The whales may be able to protect themselves from cancer by having a gene called ERCC1, which is involved in repairing damaged DNA. One of the genes, called PCNA, has a duplicate section. Live Science reported that this gene is involved in cell growth and repair and that it could slow the aging process.

There is a study suggesting that natural rates of aging are fixed.

A rougheye rockfish (Sebastes aleutianus), also known as the blackthroat rockfish or the blacktip rockfish.

A rougheye rockfish (Sebastes aleutianus), also known as the blackthroat rockfish or the blacktip rockfish. (Image credit: Adisha Pramod / Alamy Stock Photo)
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The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife says that the Rougheye rockfish has a maximum lifespan of 205 years. The fish live in the ocean from California to Japan. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada is an independent panel that assesses the status of species threatened with extinction.

Is fish caught in Alaska 200 years ago?

3. Freshwater pearl mussel: 250+ years old

A photo of freshwater mussels from the Margaritifera genus.

Freshwater mussels from the Margaritifera genus. (Image credit: Irfan M Nur/
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The freshwater pearl mussels are bivalves that can be found in the ocean. They can be found in Europe and North America. According to the World Wildlife Fund, the oldest freshwater pearl mussel was more than two centuries old. The invertebrates have low metabolisms.

There are only a few freshwater pearl mussels left in the world. Their population is declining due to damage and changes to the river habitats they depend on.

clams and mussels could be used to clean up waterways.

4. Greenland shark: 272+ years old

Greenland shark swimming, Somniosus microcephalus isolated on black background.

Greenland shark swimming with isolated on black background. (Image credit: dotted zebra / Alamy Stock Photo)
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According to the St. Lawrence Shark Observatory in Canada, they can grow to be 24 feet long and have a diet that includes fish and seals.

According to a study published in the journal Science, the maximum lifespan of these sharks can be as long as 272 years. The biggest shark in the study could have been as old as 512 years old according to the researchers. Even though the age estimates came with a degree of uncertainty, the sharks are still the longest living animals on the planet.

Scientists have not found a 512-year-old shark.

5. Tubeworm: 300+ years old

An underwater photo of tubeworms by hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor.

Tubeworms on the ocean floor. (Image credit: Ralph White via Getty Images)
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There are tubeworms that live in the deep sea. A study published in the journal The Science of Nature found that a tubeworm species in the Gulf of Mexico can live up to 200 years. With a low death rate, tubeworms have been able to evolve to have long lives.

A strange deep-sea vent has a boundless carpet of worms covering it.

6. Ocean quahog clam: 500+ years old

A photo of a quahog clam on a beach in Cape Cod in Massachusetts.

A quahog clam on a beach in Cape Cod in Massachusetts. (Image credit: Gabe Dubois/
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The clams are found in the North Atlantic Ocean. The freshwater pearl mussels can live as long as this saltwater species. According to the National Museum Wales in the U.K., the oldest known ocean quahog clam is 509 years old.

7. Black coral: 4,000+ years old

An underwater photo of black coral bushes on a reef.

Black coral bushes on a reef.  (Image credit: Mike Workman/
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Corals look like colorful, underwater rocks and plants, but they are actually made up of the appendages of other animals. Over time, the coral structure grows bigger and bigger due to the multiplication of these polyps and the creation of a genetically identical copy of them. The lifespan of a coral is more of a team effort since it is made up of multiple identical organisms.

Corals can live for hundreds of years or more, but deep-water black corals are one of the longest-lived corals. Black coral found off the coast of Hawaii have been measured to be 4,265 years old.

8. Glass sponge: 10,000+ years old

An illustration of sponges from 1892.

An illustration of sponges, including Monorhaphis chuni (labeled 2 on the left).  (Image credit: History and Art Collection/Alamy Stock Photo)
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Sponges are made up of colonies of animals and can live for a long time. There are glass sponges on the planet. The members of this group have skeletons that look like glass and are found in the deep ocean. A study published in the journal Chemical Geology estimated the age of a glass sponge to be 11,000 years old. Sponge species can live longer.

The sponges leave strange brown trails to prove that they are a part of the ocean.

9. Turritopsis dohrnii: potentially immortal

An underwater photo of a Turritopsis immortal jellyfish off Palm Beach, Florida, U.S.

A Turritopsis immortal jellyfish off the coast of Palm Beach in Florida. (Image credit: Blue Planet Archive/Alamy Stock Photo)
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Turritopsis dohrnii can potentially live for the rest of their lives. The Jellyfish start life as a small fish and grow into larger fish. The medusas are free- swimming. The American Museum of Natural History says that mature Turritopsis dohrnii can turn back into polyps if they are damaged or starving.

According to the Natural History Museum in London, the jellyfish can reverse their life cycle multiple times and still live to be old. Turritopsis dohrnii are small and can be eaten by other animals, preventing them from achieving immortality.

10. Hydra: also potentially immortal

A photo of a Hydra, the small invertebrates that could be immortal.

A photo of a Hydra, the small invertebrates that could be immortal.  (Image credit: Choksawatdikorn/
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The soft bodies of the hydra are similar to those of a Jellyfish. Turritopsis dohrnii has the ability to live forever. Live Science reported that hydras don't show signs of aging. Stem cells, which continually regenerate through duplication or cloning, make up the majority of these invertebrates. Because of threats like disease and predator, hydras don't live forever, but they could be if the threats weren't present.

hydra re-assembles when blown apart.

The original article was published on Live Science in August of 2021.