what-is-the-oldest-living-thing

Welcome to Clip from Spiral logo

Interactive video lesson plan for: What Is The Oldest Living Thing?

Activity overview:

From eldritch aspen colonies to immortal jellyfish, the world is lousy with long-lived organisms. But what’s the oldest?

Learn more at HowStuffWorks.com

Share on Facebook: https://goo.gl/IDNsbs
Share on Twitter: https://goo.gl/QXC2XL
Subscribe: http://goo.gl/ZYI7Gt
Visit our site: http://www.brainstuffshow.com

So, as far as aging goes, humans have it pretty good. I mean, we’re no giant tortoises, but we’re generally capable of living for decades – some of us for more than a century! Here at BrainStuff, this got us thinking: What is the world’s oldest living thing?

It’s a tricky question, and the answer depends on how we define “living” and a “thing”.

First, let’s tackle what we mean by “thing”. If we say a “thing” could also be a clonal colony, then the competition heats up quickly. There are numerous plant and fungal clone colonies that have been around for tens of thousands of years, and they’re still barreling along.

There’s King Clone, the creosote bush in the Mojave – almost 12,000 years old. And we can’t forget Pando, the gigantic male quaking aspen clonal colony in Utah. He’s about 80,000 years old. Incidentally, he’s also the heaviest living thing, weighing in around 6 million kg.

But what if we stick to single organisms? If so, then the tiny endoliths are strong contenders. These extremophile Methuselahs like to kick back and take it easy – for millions of years they’ve lived a mile and a half below the ocean floor, with metabolisms slower than molasses, only reproducing once every few centuries or millennia. I mean, that makes pandas look like rabbits.

There’s a big – let’s call it a loophole – in the definition of living. Dormancy. What if something was frozen in time, trapped in stasis, and then revived like Captain America or the alien in the Thing?

In 2011 Professor Brian Schubert published a paper on just that – he’d discovered bacteria in what he called “a kind of hibernation state” inside tiny bubbles of 34,000 year old salt crystals.

So if we allow an organism to take a “time out” and spend thousands of years in stasis, there are loads of competitors for the title of “oldest living thing."

There’s one other important thing: some organisms might be immortal. Now, don’t get jealous – we’re not talking some super sexy vampire-type immortality. Nope, we’re talking about jelly fish – specifically hydra and the Turritopsis dohrnii.

The Turritopsis is only about 4.5 mm large, but capable of something that may be unique in the animal world – after reaching sexual maturity, it can revert to its polyp stage. It can reverse and reset its aging cycle, rendering it biologically immortal. And the hydra doesn’t seem to age at all. This means that, potentially, the oldest living organism could, one day, be a jellyfish.

But for now, even, the oldest living, continually active things on earth appear to be the extremophile organisms collectively called endoliths. At least, that’s the current working theory.

SOURCES:

http://www.livescience.com/9277-34-000-year-organisms-buried-alive.html

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/268/5213/1060

http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/content/18/6/1143.full

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/sci/tech/978774.stm

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11734907

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v407/n6806/abs/407897a0.html

http://phys.org/news/2013-08-soil-beneath-ocean-harbor-bacteria.html

https://ca.news.yahoo.com/34-000-old-organisms-found-buried-alive-20110113-082207-783.html

Tagged under: brainstuff,brain stuff,howstuffworks, stuff works,science,technology,ben bowlin,stuff ,oldest living ,oldest living organism,oldest tree,oldest bacteria,extremophile,immortal jellyfish,The Oldest Living Things In The World,endolith,clonal colony,pando,king clone,turritopsis dohrnii,jellyfish

Clip makes it super easy to turn any public video into a formative assessment activity in your classroom.

Add multiple choice quizzes, questions and browse hundreds of approved, video lesson ideas for Clip

Make YouTube one of your teaching aids - Works perfectly with lesson micro-teaching plans

Play this activity

1. Students enter a simple code

2. You play the video

3. The students comment

4. You review and reflect

* Whiteboard required for teacher-paced activities

Share on:

Share What Is The Oldest Living Thing? on Google+ Share What Is The Oldest Living Thing? on Twitter Share What Is The Oldest Living Thing? on Facebook Pin What Is The Oldest Living Thing? Email What Is The Oldest Living Thing?

Ready to see what else Spiral logo can do?

With four apps, each designed around existing classroom activities, Spiral gives you the power to do formative assessment with anything you teach.

Quickfire

Carry out a quickfire formative assessment to see what the whole class is thinking

Discuss

Create interactive presentations to spark creativity in class

Team Up

Student teams can create and share collaborative presentations from linked devices

Clip

Turn any public video into a live chat with questions and quizzes

1000s of teachers use Spiral to deliver awesome, engaging activities that capture students' understanding during lessons.

Now it's your turn Sign up

Spiral Reviews by Teachers and Digital Learning Coaches

Spiral
Review of Spiral by teacher: Kathryn Laster @kklaster

Tried out the canvas response option on @SpiralEducation & it's so awesome! Add text or drawings AND annotate an image! #R10tech

Spiral
Review of Spiral by teacher: Room 220 Math Stars @3rdgradeBCE

Using @SpiralEducation in class for math review. Student approved! Thumbs up! Thanks.

Spiral
Review of Spiral by teacher: Miss Ord @ordmiss

Absolutely amazing collaboration from year 10 today. 100% engagement and constant smiles from all #lovetsla #spiral

Spiral
Review of Spiral by teacher: Adam J. Stryker @strykerstennis

Students show better Interpersonal Writing skills than Speaking via @SpiralEducation Great #data #langchat folks!

Spiral
Review of Spiral by teacher: Dr Ayla Göl @iladylayla

A good tool for supporting active #learning.

Spiral
Review of Spiral by teacher: Brett Erenberg @BrettErenberg

The Team Up app is unlike anything I have ever seen. You left NOTHING out! So impressed!

Get the Clip Chrome Extension & Create Video Lessons in Seconds

Add Clip to Chrome