Extreme Longevity: Discovering Earth's Oldest Organisms

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Product Details

Twenty-First Century Books (Tm)
Publish Date
6.3 X 9.1 X 0.7 inches | 0.8 pounds
Library Binding

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About the Author

Karen Latchana Kenney was born near the rainforests of Guyana, but moved far north to Minnesota at a young age. She graduated from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor's degree in English and has been writing and editing since. She has worked as an editor at an educational publishing company, but is now a full-time freelance writer and editor in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has written more than 70 books on all kinds of subjects: from arts and crafts to biographies of famous people. Her books have received positive reviews from Booklist, Library Media Connection, and School Library Journal. When she's not busy writing, she loves biking and hiking with her husband and young son in the many beautiful parks of the state. Visit her online at http: //latchanakenney.wordpress.com/.


"A fascinating study of some of the longest-living organisms on the planet. Although many books cover the life of various plants and animals, this particular approach is thought-provoking and awe-inspiring. If we think of a standard human lifespan and then lengthen it by 20 years, most people would consider those centenarians to be truly old. Readers learn that there are many mammals, fish, reptiles and other smaller organisms that make our human lives seem like drops in an eternal bucket. Simply to imagine a bowhead whale's journey through icy Arctic waters, encountering whalers from the 1890s and then scientists from 2017, connects humans to our past as never before: human beings are merely one small component of time and Earth. The chapters are well written and succinct. Fascinating segments offer additional information, enhance the narrative, and will engross readers. Each chapter is a topic unto itself and offers scientific as well as anecdotal material. VERDICT An excellent addition to middle school and high school library collections."--School Library Journal

-- (1/1/2019 12:00:00 AM)

"Did you know that the longest-living human on record died in 1997 at age 122? This well-researched and informative book includes intriguing facts about the world's longest-living organisms. Familiar ones, like giant tortoises, sequoias, and bristlecone pines are described, as well as lesser ones, like hydras, stromatolites, cresote bushes, and quahogs. Scientists are eagerly studying these long-lived organisms to see how they can help extend human longevity and prevent diseases--fluids from clamlike ocean quahogs, for example, who can live to be hundreds of years old, may help scientists prevent Alzheimer's disease. The book describes the methods scientists use to determine various organisms' life spans. In 2007, biologists were able to calculate a captured bowhead whale's age (approximately 130 years) by analyzing the age of the antique harpoon fragment found still embedded in it. Fourteen scientists were consulted by the author in the writing of this book, which also includes a comparative time line, source notes, glossary, bibliography, further information, and index. Readers will enjoy learning about these amazing organisms."--Booklist

-- (9/11/2018 12:00:00 AM)

"Immortality may still be the stuff of legend for humans, but it's a real possibility for a jellyfish native to the Mediterranean Sea. Biologists are studying specimens of flora and fauna that live extraordinarily long lives. The longest living human on record is Jean Louise Calment, a Frenchwoman who lived 122 years and 164 days, but that's nothing compared to the Greenland shark that may live over 500 years. In an accessible, informative text, Kenney (Healing Plants, 2018, etc.) introduces biologists and geneticists who study examples of extreme longevity in the plant and animal kingdoms, such as the possibly 80,000-year-old root system of a colony of male quaking aspens. One potentially immortal specimen is the hydra, a small freshwater animal described as 'a simple tube without internal body organs'; the secret to its longevity is that its body is made of stem cells that repair and replace damaged body parts. Kenney discusses the technologies scientists use to determine age and longevity, including DNA sampling, growth rings, and radiocarbon dating, and how scientists are using their discoveries about aged plants and animals to research drugs to promote longevity in humans. High-quality color photographs and clear diagrams help explain the material. Useful for reports or reading for pleasure, this is an engaging and informative volume. An intriguing look at some of world's oldest organisms and the scientists who study them."--Kirkus Reviews

-- (7/25/2018 12:00:00 AM)