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Home > Animal Kingdom > Animal Records > Oldest Living Creature

Oldest Living Creature: Madagascar Radiated Tortoise
Geochelone radiata

A Madagascar radiated tortoise presented to the Tongan royal family by the British explorer Captain Cook in either 1773 or 1777 lived to the age of at least 188 years old! The animal was called Tui Malila. The venerated tortoise appears in the photo at right taken in 1953 when Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh visited the Tongan royal family.

Madagascar radiated tortoises are an endangered species found living only in the extreme south of the Island of Madagascar. They are called radiated tortoises because of the unique pattern of coloring on their shells, where yellow streaks radiate from the the 'scales' on the top shell - the carapace.

The Secret to Long Life

Qeen Elizabeth with Tui MalilaTortoises can live extra long lives because their vital systems do not weaken with age, as ours do. They can also survive for very long periods without water or food, living off of their 'reserves'. If you've ever watched a tortoise move you know that they are extremely S-L-O-W. They can go for very long periods without moving, too. An animal that can go without food or moving for a long time has very low energy requirements. In other words, it doesn't take much to keep these tough guys going, and going and going...

What is the oldest living organism? ->

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