Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Ancients

Looking like some combination of wood and stone, this is one of the tortoises at Victoria's Butterfly Gardens...

Tortoises have walked -- slowly -- across the face of the earth since the age of dinosaurs-- 200 million years.

They are also among the longest-living animals on earth. The oldest tortoise ever recorded, and one of the oldest individual animals ever recorded, was Tu'i Malila, which was presented to the Tongan royal family by the British explorer Captain Cook shortly after its birth in 1777. Tu'i Malila remained in the care of the Tongan royal family until its death by natural causes on May 19, 1965, at the age of 188.

Jonathan, a Seychelles giant tortoise living on the island of St Helena is 182 years old and may well be the current oldest living animal on Earth.

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