It's big, it's old and it lives under the sea and now an international research collaboration with The University of Western Australia's Ocean's Institute has confirmed an ancient seagrass to hold the secrets of the oldest living organism on earth.
Because ancient giant Posidonia oceanica reproduces asexually generating clones of itself, a single organism has been found to span up to 15 kilometers wide, reaching more than 6,000 metric tonnes in mass and may well be more than 100,000 years old.
Researchers analysed 40 meadows across 3,500 kilometres of the Mediterranean sea. Computer models helped demonstrate that the clonal spread mode of Posidonia oceanica, which as all other seagrasses can reproduce both sexually and asexually, allows them to spread and maintain highly-competent clones over millennia, whereas even the most competent genotypes of organisms that can only reproduce sexually are lost at every generation. The genus Posidonia occurs only in the Mediterranean and Australian waters.
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald