Few animals live as long as humans do. The West Indian Ocean coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae), an endangered species of fish that can grow to 2 meters long and weigh about 100 kilograms, might be a rare exception. A new study finds the underwater giant may live to be 100 years old.Alex Viveros, “This ‘living fossil’ could reach 100 years old” at Science (June 17, 2021)
Researchers counted the calcium structures on the scales which, like tree rings, get topped up each year. One specimen was 84. Apparently, coelacanths only reach breeding age at about 40 to 60 years. So it is life in the slow lane for the individuals as well as for the species.
It would be interesting to know: Were the coelacanths outliers among early Devonian fishes or was fish longevity normal back then and they just continue to be long-lived to this day?
See also: Surprise, surprise, the aging process is irreversible. It’s nice to know that entropy is good for something.