This 113 Year Old Picture Led to a Mind-Boggling Discovery

March 16, 2016 Updated: December 31, 2017

Jonathan the tortoise is old, but no one realized how old until a picture from 1902 surfaced.


Turns out Jonathan might be the oldest living animal in the world.

The photo shows the giant tortoise after he was brought to the island of St. Helena. It was taken in 1902, 20 years after he arrived.

The picture shows Jonathan at his full adult size, and it takes up to 50 years for a giant tortoise to reach that size–meaning Jonathan could have been born as early as 1832.

It was determined not too long ago that Jonathan is 183 years old.


Jonathan is fed a daily diet of fresh fruit and vegetables, his keeper Joe Hollis told the BBC.

“He is virtually blind from cataracts, has no sense of smell—but his hearing is good,” Joe noted.

Giant tortoises can live up to 250 years old.

When Joe goes, there are plans for his shell to be preserved and displayed in St. Helena, while some others are planning to raise funds to erect a life-size bronze statue of him.