Meet Jonathan : A 189 Years Old Tortoise Who Is Older Than Eiffel Tower

Ankita Gurung
Ankita Gurung

Meet Jonathan the oldest living animal on Earth. Tortoises are often said to live longer than any animals. But Jonathan has raise the bar by being the tortoise who is 189 years old. Jonathan, who lives on the island of Saint Helena. A British Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic Ocean has seen two world wars. The Great Depression, the deadly Spanish flu and now the coronavirus. And yet continues to thrive at the island. This giant tortoise originally belong in the Indian Ocean he was brought to the South Atlantic island.  Back in 1882 with three other tortoises when he was 50 years old.

Who is Jonathan?

Jonathan is one of the oldest tortoise to walk on this planet earth. Jonathan lives on the grounds of Plantation House. The official residence of the governor of St Helena and is taken care of by the authorities there. He was estimated to be fully mature when he was brought to St Helena . Which means he was 50 years old when he was brought to St Helena. And he is born earlier than 1832.

History of Jonathan?

He is the oldest animal and now even has a Guinness books of record in his name. His estimated year of birth also predates the release of the Penny Black, the first postage stamp (1840), the building of the first skyscraper (1885) and the completion of the Eiffel Tower (1887) – the tallest iron structure. Other human milestones to have taken place in his long life include the first photograph of a person (1838), the first incandescent light bulb (1878) and the first powered flight (1903).

In his lifetime, Jonathan has lived through two world wars, the Russian Revolution, seven monarchs on the British throne and 40 US presidents. One of the oldest animal in terrestrial animals has outlived even the oldest man on earth by 65 years.

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The greatest authenticated age for a human is a “mere” 122 years 144 days, achieved by Jeanne Calment (1875–1997) from France. Jonathan’s home is the manicured lawns of “Plantation”, a Georgian mansion built by the East India Company in 1791–92. Today, he shares the grounds with three other giant tortoises: David, Emma and Fred.

Why do tortoise live so long?

Although not yet properly researched, scientists have a few theories about what makes the tortoises tick so long, long after humans and others with sizeable lifespans have passed on. A recent study looked at substances that lead to cell damage and death and also took into account cells of turtle species, including from a giant tortoise, just like Jonathan. It revealed that these animals have the ability to protect themselves from the long-term effects of cell damage by quickly killing off damaged cells, using a process called apoptosis, thus increasing their life expectancy.

Health of Jonathan

Although this oldest animal is 189 years he is still fit although it has lost his eyesight and the power of smell. Yet Jonathan retains excellent hearing and a healthy appetite. According to his vet (see interview below), he still has “a good libido” too, which is an indicator of sound internal health.

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