Special Report

Photos of the World’s Oldest Living Things

Among the organisms documented by photographer Rachel Sussman are 80,000-year-old aspen trees and 600,000-year-old bacteria

Welwitschia mirablis (Rachel Sussman)


(Rachel Sussman)
This colony of quaking aspen trees, which covers roughly 106 acres near Fish Lake, Utah, has some 47,000 individual stems. It is one single organism, connected by an enormous underground root system. Named Pando—Latin for “I Spread”—it weighs an estimated 6,600 tons, making it the world’s heaviest organism; with an age upwards of 80,000 years, it is also one of the oldest.

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