If your day seems to be dragging along, or the week is just taking forever to pass, imagine how the planet feels after more than 4.5 billion years of existence. You may be bored as hell right now, but a little perspective always helps, right? Our wildly long-lived planet is home to many things that will help you realize even your really slow days are not actually that long.
5 Japanese Man Named Jiroemon Kimura
Currently, the oldest living human being is a Japanese man named Jiroemon Kimura. With luck, Kimura will live to (and well past) his birthday in April of 2013, reaching the age of 116! He is not only the oldest living man alive, he is also the last person who can be verified to have been born before the turn of the last century. According to a 2009 article in “The Japan Times,” Kimura has: seven children (five of which are still surviving), 15 grandchildren (all but one of which is surviving), 25 great-grandchildren, and 13 great-great-grandchildren. Now that’s a legacy right there.
4 The Omo Remains
The oldest known human remains date from almost 200,000 years ago. When we say human, we mean Homo sapiens, modern man, us! They are known as the Omo Remains, and were found in the 1960s in Ethiopia by acclaimed anthropologist Richard Leakey and his team. The fossils were thought to be around 130,000 years old, which is plenty impressive. But the Omo Remains were revised using more modern techniques in the early 21st century, and were found to actually be closer to 195,000 years of age. Not a bad run so far, team. Let’s keep it up!
3 The Oldest Living Tree
The oldest living tree on the planet is almost 10,000 years old (OK, 9,500) and is all of … 20 feet tall. That’s because it’s growing in northern Sweden, in an environment that was so cold over the past 10 millennia that the tree stayed a tiny little shrub. Now, “thanks” to global warming, it has begun to grow.
2 Sea Grass
The oldest living thing on the planet may not be all that sexy, but it is really, really goddamn old. As far as we currently know, the oldest living thing today is a type of sea grass lining the floor of parts of the Mediterranean Sea. Some samples of these unassuming contenders have been found to be at least 100,000 years old … and they may even be twice that age!
1 Zircon Crystal
The crown for The Oldest Thing on Earth had better be a pretty small little thing, because it has to fit on an object that is almost invisible to the naked eye. Scientists have concluded that the oldest thing ever identified is a miniature bit of zircon crystal. It’s bright yellow, about the size of a grain of sand, and purportedly around 4.4 billion years old. This little fellah has been with us for the long run, folks.