No, your grandpa with no teeth and hairy ears isn´t the oldest thing on Earth. It isn´t even Mick Jagger either, although he is believed to be the only rock star to have owned a pet dinosaur as a kid.
In fact, there are loads of old stuff on our planet that have been around for even longer than Days of Our Lives.
The Oldest People
Humans are far from being the oldest things on our planet. Heck, there are even fish and elephants that can outlive most homo sapiens. At the time of writing the verified oldest people alive are Misao Okawa and Gertrude Weaver, both having reached the grand old age of 116 years old.
The Ancient Trees
There are a number of trees around the world that are among the oldest living things on our planet. For example, the easy to pronounce Llangernyw Yew in Wales is between 4,000 and 5,000 years old. The oldest tree in the US is a Great Basin Bristlecone Pine in California that has racked up over 5,000 years. Over in Sweden there is a modest looking spruce that is apparently 9,500 years old, meaning that it sprung to life during the last Ice Age.
The Oldest Animals
The oldest animal ever to have lived is believed to have been a deep sea clam called Ming that was accidentally killed – nay, murdered – by scientists at the ripe old age of 506. There are presumably other ancient molluscs out there quivering in fear but the oldest verified animal is, rather bizarrely, called Jonathan. Jon-boy the giant tortoise lives on Saint Helena and was born in 1832; the same year Lewis Carroll was born and the same year the Bad Axe Massacre saw one of the last major Native American rebellions. He is now 182 years old. As would Lewis Carroll be if he were a tortoise, I guess.
The Oldest Book
It is difficult to be exact about what is the oldest book still in existence. However, one of the strongest contenders is the St Cuthbert Gospel. This leather bound book was written in the 7th century and placed in St Cuthbert´s grave with him, presumably after he had died. It was discovered when his coffin was opened in the 12th century and was recently sold for $14 million.
The Old Sponges
My aunt has a grotty old sponge in her bathroom that looks as though St Cuthbert used it or a tortoise called Jonathan cleaned his shell with it after a particularly messy day. However, there are even older sponges out there. Some of the sponges in the Antarctic region are believed to be 10,000 years old, while other estimated put them as mere youngsters of 1,500 years old.
The Ancient Musical Instruments
If you thought that music was invented by Elvis then you are only a few tens of thousands years out. The oldest musical instruments to have been found are 42,000 year old bone flutes made out of bird bones and mammoth ivory, which just goes to show that prehistoric musicians didn´t give a freaking monkey about the list of endangered species. They also didn´t mind putting icky stuff in their mouths if it meant a chance of getting on the Upper Palaeolithic Billboard Charts and buying some carved stone bling with the royalties.