Scientists Discover The World's Oldest Living Thing...In Cyprus?
Carlos Duarte of the University of Western Australia in Perth and his colleagues sequenced the DNA of the sea grass Posidonia oceanica at 40 sites across 2,100 miles of seafloor, from Spain to Cyprus.
The study, published in the journal PLoS One, showed the organisms ranged from 12,000 years to 200,000-years-old, with most of them likely being around 100,000-years-old.
Like all sea grass, Posidonia Oceanica reproduces by cloning and the analysis revealed the presence, of very large clones spreading over one to several (up to 15) kilometres at the different locations, each of them being essentially a single organism. Using estimates from field studies and models of the clonal growth of Posidonia oceanica, scientists said they were able to calculate its age.
The scientists said that despite its longevity, Posidonia oceanica is now threatened by climate change as the Mediterranean is warming three times faster than the world average and the sea grass is declining by around 5 percent annually.