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There Are Whales Alive Today That Are Older Than Moby Dick!

Eskimo hunters, whaling off the coast of Alaska, discovered 19th century stone and metal harpoon tips embedded in the blubber of bowhead whales. That means these relatives of humpbacks and other baleen whales were dodging harpoons as far back as the 1870’s!

Of course, Herman Melville published Moby Dick in 1851, so dating harpoons just means they were born sometime before 1879. Biologist Craig George decided to use a technique that measures certain protein chemistry in the whales eyes (basically as whales age, their eyes accumulate certain amino acids) to date them more accurately. 

The result? There are likely bowhead whales out there that are more than 200 years old! That makes them older than any known tortoise, and perhaps the oldest animal on Earth! Check out more at Smithsonian.

They still don’t have anything on trees when it comes to age, though.