Jonathan the tortoise celebrates 190th birthday, oldest living land animal

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Jonathan the tortoise celebrated his 190th birthday as he extends his run as the world’s longest-living land animal.

Jonathan first arrived at his current home on the South Pacific island of Saint Helena in 1882 as a gift to the governor of the island, which was British territory. It was then thought that he was already 50 years old.

Jonathan has now been on Earth for 190 years and is 48 inches tall, the same size as when he arrived on the island. His species of turtle reaches full maturity at 50, giving the best estimate for its age, although some naturalists believe it could be even older.

Despite his long life, he didn’t gain international attention until 2008 when The Independent reported on his then-remarkable age of 176.

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Locals speculated why Jonathan lived so long, surpassing the expected lifespan of his breed, the Seychelles giant tortoise, which lives to 150 years.

Jonathan, a Seychelles giant tortoise, believed to be the oldest living reptile on earth, prowls the yard of the Plantation House, the official residence of the Governor of the United Kingdom, where he has lived since 1882 when he arrived on the island.
(Gianluigi Guercia/AFP via Getty Images)

Jonathan was five years old when Queen Victoria – Britain’s second longest-reigning monarch – ascended to the throne, and he survived both world wars. He is older than the first photo and has lived through the administrations of 39 US presidents.

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The locals organized a number of events to celebrate Jonathan’s birthday, culminating in a three-day celebration.

Jonathan, a Seychelles giant tortoise, believed to be the oldest reptile living on Earth with an alleged age of 185 years, crawls through the lawn of the Plantation House, the official residence of the Governor of the United Kingdom, in St. -Helena, a British Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic Ocean.

Jonathan, a Seychelles giant tortoise, believed to be the oldest reptile living on Earth with an alleged age of 185 years, crawls through the lawn of the Plantation House, the official residence of the Governor of the United Kingdom, in St. -Helena, a British Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic Ocean.
(Gianluigi Guercia/AFP via Getty Images)

Jonathan, who is estimated to have been born in 1832, lived most of his life in the governor’s plantation home, according to the island’s website, which adds that Jonathan could arguably serve as a national symbol for the island. Jonathan’s image even appears on the back of a 5 pence Saint Helena coin.

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Scientists have even studied Jonathan to determine what health benefits they could derive from his diet and his cells. Because his cells don’t mutate in the same way that human cells do, scientists hope he can reveal a secret to fighting cancer in humans.

Jonathan, a giant tortoise from the Seychelles, believed to be the oldest reptile living on Earth, at the alleged age of 185 years on October 20, 2017 in Saint Helena.

Jonathan, a giant tortoise from the Seychelles, believed to be the oldest reptile living on Earth, at the alleged age of 185 years on October 20, 2017 in Saint Helena.
(Gianluigi Guercia/AFP via Getty Images)

Jonathan shares his home with three other turtles: Emma, ​​a 54-year-old female; David, a 54-year-old man; and Fredrika, formerly Fredrik, a 31-year-old tortoise who was originally thought to be a male, but is now thought to be a female. The first two arrived in 1969 and Frederika arrived in 1991.

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Jonathan last year surpassed the previous record holder for the oldest living land animal, a Madagascar tortoise named Tu’I Malila, who was gifted to the royal family of Tonga in 1777 and died in 1965 at age 188, according to Smithsonian magazine.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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