What’s green, about 5 feet tall, and wet all over?
If you guessed an overgrown leprechaun after losing a water balloon fight, then go to the back of the class. The answer is actually the oldest living organism on Earth, Posidonia oceanica.
Posidonia oceanica is a seagrass found as low as 100 feet deep in the Mediterranean Sea where, according to Australian scientists, it has kept on keepin’ on between 12,000 and 200,000 years, though scientists believe the plant to be at least be 100,000 years old. One of the scientists who sequenced the seagrass’ DNA told The Telegraph that the reason the plant was so long in life was due to its ability to clone itself through asexual reproduction. +15 Charisma awarded to seagrass for making comic book science a real life science!
While all of this is very awesome, there is a black cloud looming over this otherwise sunny story: Posidonia oceanica may not be around my longer. Yes, thanks to changes in the climate the seagrass has started to decline.
“The seagrass in the Mediterranean is already in clear decline due to shoreline construction and declining water quality and this decline has been exacerbated by climate change,” Professor Carlos Duarte told The Telegraph. “As the water warms, the organisms move slowly to higher altitudes.”
Great. Just great, humanity. Thanks to us, we’re about to kill off the OLDEST living thing on our planet. I can barely comprehend what a lifetime of 100,00 years for a plant must be like, but it’s still profoundly annoying that even something so elegantly ancient as Posidonia oceanica is not immune to the environmental apocalypse wrought by our globe-warming asses.