Photographer traveled the globe to document ‘The Oldest Living Things in the World’

April 21

For her book “The Oldest Living Things in the World,” photographer Rachel Sussman crisscrossed the globe to shoot trees, moss, sea grasses, yucca, bacteria and other “continuously living” things that date back at least 2,000 years.


More than 2,000 years old, this llareta is in Chile’s Atacama Desert. (Rachel Sussman )

This 5,500-year-old Antarctic moss is located on Elephant Island in Antarctica. (Rachel Sussman )

Among them: a clonal colony of quaking aspen trees (it has a single massive root system that began growing 80,000 years ago), a meadow of sea grass off the Spanish island of Ibiza that can be traced back 100,000 years and, above, a mere youngster: a 2,000-year-old llareta (or yareta) in Chile’s Atacama Desert. The plant may look like overgrown moss, but, Sussman writes, it is actually related to parsley, carrots and celery.


Book cover, "The Oldest Living Things In The World," by Rachel Sussman, with essays by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Carl Zimmer. (Courtesy of The University of Chicago Press)

Pafuri Baobab, which is up to 2,000 years old, is located in the Kruger Game Preserve in South Africa. (Rachel Sussman )
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