Monday, 14 February 2011

Ageing in perspective

We social gerontologists talk about ageing and reckon a centenarian or supercentenarian to be pretty old, but when biologists talk about ageing they mean REALLY old.

I loved this sequence of oldest living things, starting with a self-cloning plant reckoned now to be 43,000 years old and ending with Galapagos tortoises, mere striplings at 150-odd years old.

I also enjoyed this Radio 4 programme about yew trees, the oldest of which they reckoned to be 5,000 years old.


I was amused that the website makes no reference to yew trees, and the Radio 4 programme made a claim for the 5,000 year old yew tree to possibly be the world's oldest living thing. I guess biologists don't always do their lit reviewing properly, just like social gerontologists.

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