A Seychelles giant tortoise named Jonathan recently was named by the Guinness Book of World Records to be the oldest land animal—at 190 years old.
Living on the island of St. Helena’s with other giant tortoises, he was brought there as a gift to the island’s governor Sir William Grey-Wilson in 1882.
Thought to be born in the year 1832, Jonathan’s advanced age is really only a guess, based on the fact that he was fully mature when he arrived, making him at least 50 in 1882. The Guinness folks say, in all likelihood, he’s been alive for more than two centuries.
He was around for two world wars, the invention of trains and automobiles, and the end of slavery. He’s lived through the rise and fall of both fascism and communism, and he predates the light bulb, the photograph, the telephone, and the Eiffel Tower.
The old timer is part of an endangered species, but one that is famous for its longevity. An Aldabara giant tortoise named Adwaita, which was presented to the British East India Company, was thought to be 255 when he died in a Calcutta zoological garden.
As for Jonathan, he is still eating and mating, though he needs a little help from his caretakers.
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