Documenting the Oldest Living Things in the World

22:04 minutes

A visit to a 7,000-year-old tree launched photographer Rachel Sussman on a quest: to visit and document the oldest living organisms on earth. A decade later, she’s collected her shots in a family album, The Oldest Living Things in the World. Ira speaks with Sussman and science writer Carl Zimmer about why and how some lives become so long. (Read more about one of the oldest living plants, the llareta, here.)

Segment Guests

Rachel Sussman

Rachel Sussman is an artist and author of The Oldest Living Things in the World (The University of Chicago Press, 2014) in Brooklyn, New York.

Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer is the author of Life’s Edge: The Search of What it Means to Be Alive. He’s also a science columnist for the New York Times. He’s based in New York, New York.

Meet the Producer

About Annie Minoff

Annie Minoff is a producer for The Journal from Gimlet Media and the Wall Street Journal, and a former co-host and producer of Undiscovered. She also plays the banjo.

Explore More

Llareta, One of the Oldest Living Plants in the World

This hard-as-a-rock South American cushion plant can live thousands of years.

Read More