Journal: News & Comment

Monday, October 03, 2005
# 2:30:00 PM:

Feeling old?

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I wrote about the famous Harriet the Tortoise here five years ago, in one of my earliest journal entries on this site. At the time she had just turned 170, and she is now 175 years old (as far as anyone knows). Charles Darwin collected Harriet on the Galápagos Islands in 1835.

Yes, that's right. There is an animal alive and thriving right now in an Australian zoo that was (probably) born the year Faust premiered, Upper Canada College was founded, Andrew Jackson became president of the United States, the first typewriter was patented, James Smithson started the Smithsonian Institution, and the last Bounty mutineer died. If people lived that long, both pianist Anton Rubinstein and jeansmaker Levi Strauss would still be alive.

For that matter, so would my great-great-great-grandparents, whose names I do not even know. I doubt they lived long enough to meet their great-granddaughter, whom I knew as my Oma, and who died four years ago herself.

So yup, Harriet's old.


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