WTF Fun Fact 12909 – The Land Animal That Lived The Longest

This is something that will make you appreciate how our modern world is still so, so young. The longest-lived creatures are older than any of us, and most were or are older than our desire or ability to record their age for posterity. That said, we do have records of the land animal that lived the longest that we can properly verify. Other animals may have lived longer, but we don’t have reliable ways to prove it.

The radiated tortoise – one of the longest-lived animals

When it comes to sea creatures, we’re even more clueless as to age, and we endanger them by trying to find out. But it’s a bit easier with land animals, especially tortoises since they don’t move very fast.

As far as things we can verify are concerned, a radiated tortoise from Madagascar named Tu’i Malila is the longest-lived land animal. And here’s another fun fact – all its life, Tu’i Malila was thought to be a male. Upon her death, a proper examination was conducted, and it was determined she was female. (Some tortoises obviously don’t have obvious sex characteristics.)

The story of Tu’i Malila

Tu’i Malila means “King” Malila in the Tongan language and records show that Captain James Cook gave her to the royal family of Tonga shortly after her birth in 1777. She stayed in the royal family’s care her whole life until her death in 1965.

The radiated tortoise (a classification that has nothing to do with radiation but rather the pattern on their shells) is now preserved and on display at the Tongan National Center on the island of Tongatapu.

Other “oldest” animals

However, there is some disagreement over what counts as the oldest living animal. Some argue that an Aldabra giant tortoise from India named Adwaita lived to be around 255.

This year (in January 2022) the keepers of a giant tortoise named Jonathan have convinced the Guinness Book of World Records that the animal from St. Helena turned 190.

 WTF fun facts

Source: “The King of Tonga” — The Good Turtle Blog

WTF Fun Fact 12902 – Tom Cruise Split From Wives At Age 33

Tom Cruise has been married three times. And all of his marriages ended when his wife at the time was 33 years old. Coincidence? Maybe.

The significance of 33

What is it about the number 33? Tom Cruise’s three wives – Mimi Rogers, Nicole Kidman, and Katie Holmes – were all 33 when their relationships with the actor ended. They were all 34 when the divorce was finalized.

Cruise is a Scientologist, and while there’s no proof that the “magic number” had anything to do with the breakup, 33 is a significant number for him. However, it’s not clear that Cruise was in control of any of the breakups – in fact, Katie Holmes was said to have left him.

As for the actual significance of the number 33, it’s hard to say. Scientologists are a notoriously secret group, so while some “sources” say the number is important, it’s unclear exactly how. We do know that L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, built his first church in Phoenix, on the 33rd parallel.

Is it all a coincidence?

The average age of divorcing couples in the U.S. is around 30 years old, so it’s more than likely just a kooky coincidence. The number has some significance in other religions an in numerology, but it’s not clear if Cruise believes in any of that.

It’s also worth noting that while the news widely covered the fact that Cruise’s breakups all came when his wife at the time was 33, all of the divorces happened when they were 34. It’s just that Holmes announced the breakup when she was 33, people picked up on the number, and no one was sure how old Holmes would be when the divorce was finalized.

So maybe 34 is the unlucky number here.  WTF fun facts

Source: “All three of Tom Cruise’s marriages ended when wife was 33” — TODAY

WTF Fun Fact 12819 – Jonathan the Tortoise

Jonathan the tortoise is the oldest known land animal. And in order to fact-check that (since we feel like it would be an easy claim for people to make without much proof), we turned to Snopes.

An 1886 photo of Jonathan the Tortoise

The rumors about a 100+-year-old tortoise actually started in early 2022 when a website called posted a photo from what they said was the early 1900s claiming to show a tortoise named Jonathan who is still alive.

The photo was credited to the director of an NGO on Saint Helena Island where old tortoises are known to live.

Says Snopes: “Jonathan has been misidentified in viral photographs before. We have reached out to the government of Saint Helena Island, where the tortoise lives, to confirm the authenticity of the image.”

The image is real – but the site got one thing wrong. It’s actually OLDER than they claimed, and therefore so is Jonathan!

Jonathan is pushing 200!

One of the photos is from 1886! And Jonathan is already full grown. He’s been on Saint Helena for a very long time, and his age is estimated to be somewhere around 190 years old!

As you might imagine, he’s quite a tourist attraction. So if you’re ever in the South Atlantic, off the coast of Namibia, you can visit Jonathan at the governor’s residence “where he gets hand-fed fruit and vegetables and ‘frolics’ with female tortoises, according to an AFP News Agency video profile, even though he has lost his sight due to cataracts.”

It’s doubtful Jonathan would still be alive without human intervention at this point since a blind tortoise wouldn’t fare well out in the wild.

And the latest rumor about Jonathan is that he is also gay and has a male lover. Apparently, he was partnered with a tortoise named Fredrica back in 1991, and when the caretakers wondered why they weren’t producing any offspring despite their frequent mating, they realized she was a he.

Want one more fun fact to top you off? Saint Helena is the island where Napoleon died after his exile. His body is now in Paris, but you can still visit his original grave after you go to see Jonathan.  WTF fun facts

Source: “Yes, Jonathan the Tortoise Is the Oldest Known Land Animal” — Snopes

WTF Fun Fact 12714 – Our Happiest Years

Even people over aged 90 are happier than many of us aged 40 – 59. At least that’s what a UK survey from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found when they analyzed the well-being data of more than 300,000 adults from 2012 to 2015.

Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s true for everyone – some of us think of our 40s and 50s as a wonderful time when our careers flourish. But overall, that age group reports the lower levels of life satisfaction and the highest levels of anxiety. And while anxiety is higher in women, they tend to report more life satisfaction than men.

According to The Guardian’s report on the survey, “life satisfaction plummeted among respondents aged 35 and over.” This may be due to increased family responsibilities and less time to let loose and have fun.

Researchers stated that “Evidence shows that people are having children later. Therefore, another possible reason for lower scores for the middle-age groups could result from the burden caused by having to care for both parents and children at the same time”

If you are middle-aged and miserable, however, there is a bright spot. Once you hit 60, it’s largely uphill for life satisfaction. People aged 65-79 had the highest levels of personal wellbeing (peaking at ages 70 to 74).

Now, it may be a generational thing as well. Or perhaps with age comes wisdom and the realization that one can choose happiness. We just don’t know for sure.

The important thing to note is that if you feel unduly stressed in your 40s and 50s, you’re pretty much normal – and it does get better. However, ages 50 to 54 may be the worst years. — WTF fun facts

Source: “People aged 40-59 are least happy and most anxious, report finds” — The Guardian