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)
The Glencoe baobab, located in Limpopo Province, South Africa, is one of the stoutest trees in the world—its trunk was 154 feet around before being split in two by lightning in 2009. The dates “1893” and “1896,” carved into its trunk, merely hint at its age: it is an estimated 2,000 years old.

“One of my challenges was, ironically, lack of time,” Sussman says. “For certain of my subjects I only had an hour, or sometimes even a matter of minutes, to spend with them. I couldn’t always wait for the weather or light to change even if I didn’t like what I was seeing.”

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