Skip to main content

Photos: Earth's Most Ancient Organisms

The Oldest Living Things

(Image credit: Rachel Sussman)

Photographer Rachel Sussman traveled the planet in search of organisms that have been living for 2,000 years or more. Her book, "The Oldest Living Things in the World," hits bookshelves in the United States on April 22, 2014.

100,000 Years Old: Sea Grass

(Image credit: Rachel Sussman)

This sea grass (Posidonia oceanica) spans the ocean floor between Spain's Balearic Islands.

13,000 Years Old: Eucalyptus

(Image credit: Rachel Sussman)

The exact location of this rare 13,000-year-old eucalyptus in Australia is kept secret because it is critically endangered. There are only five known individuals of this species, which Sussman was not even allowed to name in her book.

5,500 Years Old: Antarctic Moss

(Image credit: Rachel Sussman)

A moss named Chorisodontium aciphyllum grows on Antarctica's rocky Elephant Island.

5,000 Years Old: Bristlecone Pine

(Image credit: Rachel Sussman)

Bristlecone pines, found in the western United States, are the oldest known unitary organisms.

2,000 Years Old: Llareta

(Image credit: Rachel Sussman)

Though it might not look like it, llareta is actually a cousin of carrots and parsley. This dense plant grows in Chile's Atacama Desert.