Journal: News & Comment

Friday, November 17, 2000
# 12:44:00 AM:

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Happy birthday, Harriet

Okay, I missed it by a few days, but last week Harriet the Tortoise, who lives at a zoo in Australia, celebrated her birthday.


Well, Harriet was collected from the Galapagos Islands by Charles Darwin.

Yes, that Charles Darwin, who scooped her up in 1835. Last week, Harriet turned 170.

My grandmother turns 90 next month. When she was born in 1910, Harriet the Tortoise was already 80 years old. (80 years is about the life expectancy for an average North American woman today.) Many think Harriet is the oldest animal on earth -- she's lived about 48 years longer than the oldest human did, and is still chugging away. Some of Canada's own bowhead whales might be older -- maybe much older -- but Harriet's age is confirmed, and she's certainly the oldest land creature ever known.


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