Why This Animal Can Live for Over 500 Years

Date: March 30, 2018

Source: National Geographic 
Author: Liz Langley

If you were a red coral, you’d have enough time to fulfill several bucket lists before you died. Though it’s hard to figure out what you’d put on them.

Mediterranean red coral, pictured here in the Adriatic Sea off Croatia, can live for 500 years.

The red coral, which can live for five hundred years, is one of several marine species that make human lifespans look like a blink of the eye by comparison. In a new study, scientists have honed in on what enables some of these marine species to live for hundreds of years.

The study authors combed through dozens of other studies that estimated lifespans “for more than 200 species found worldwide,” says lead author Ignasi Montero-Serra, predoctoral candidate at the University of Barcelona.

Looking at the patterns of sessile, or immobile, species like corals, macroalgae, sponges, and gorgonians—a type of coral that includes sea fans—the team found that animals living in deeper waters were likely to have longer lives.

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