HOUSTON (AP) - A research team led by a Texas A&M University scientist says coral found near the coast of Hawaii is more than 42
centuries old - making it among the oldest continuously living organisms on the planet.
A coral bed in about 1,200 feet of water studied by researchers in submersible vehicles included the species Leiopathes, which carbon dating technology has put at 4,265 years of age, Brendan Roark, an assistant professor in the A&M College of Geosciences, said Wednesday.
That age rivals the nearly 5,000-year-old bristlecone pine trees growing in the mountains of Northern California as among nature's longest-living continuously growing organisms.
It was previously thought the coral beds were no more than a few
hundred years old, he said.