FEB 24, 2017 10:05 AM PST

The World's Oldest Aquarium Fish, an Australian Lungfish, Has Died

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

The world’s oldest-known aquarium fish, an 84+ year-old Australia lungfish (Neoceratodus forsteri) who went by the name of Granddad, from Chicago, Illinois’ Shedd Aquarium has died this month after declining health issues forced the hand of the aquarium’s staff to euthanize the creature.

A picture of Granddad, the 84+ year-old Australian lungfish that recently passed away.

Image Credit: Shedd Aquarium

According to a statement issued by Shedd Aquarium, the creature was refusing to eat and signs of organ failure were present at the time that the decision was made. A necropsy after the fact revealed that old age was the cause of the creature’s odd behavior, not any major health issues.

Granddad’s presence in the aquarium began back in 1933 and he has touched the lives of more than 104 million people during his stay. When the lungfish first arrived back in 1933, his exact age was unknown, so 84 years is the youngest he could possibly be, and he might even be older than that.

“It is incredible to know that over 104 million guests had the opportunity to see Granddad in our care and learn about his unique species over eight decades,” said President and CEO Bridget Coughlin, Ph.D.

“For a fish who spent much of his time imitating a fallen log, he sparked curiosity, excitement and wonder among guests of all ages who would hear his story and learn about the incredible biology that makes his species a living fossil and one of the oldest living vertebrate genera on the planet.”

The statement goes on to explain the uniqueness of the Australian lungfish as a whole, noting that the creature has existed on Earth for more than 380 million years and that it has remained mostly unchanged all this time, exhibiting next to no major evolutionary changes.

They’re native to Australia, hence their full name (Australian lungfish), but Granddad was imported during an expedition several decades ago.

What’s interesting about the Australian lungfish is their unique ability (for a fish) to be able to breathe either while above or under water. This is because they have gills just like fish, but they also have one single lung, which allows them to breathe even when they’re not underwater.

The creatures are thought to have an age ceiling of around 100 years, so Granddad’s 84 (or more) age estimate means that he lived a good, relaxed, and safe life in the aquarium’s care.

Granddad is now in a better place, but his memories won’t be forgotten. The following tribute video was uploaded to YouTube following his death in his memory:

Source: Shedd Aquarium via CNN

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
MAR 31, 2020
Plants & Animals
MAR 31, 2020
This Spider Goes Fishing for Food
Most spiders are land animals, but the fishing spider tends to spend most of its time dwelling on watery surfaces. Fishi ...
APR 17, 2020
Earth & The Environment
APR 17, 2020
Earth Just Had its Second Warmest March
The planet continues to set climate records, which is certainly not great news. Earlier this week, the National Oceanic ...
APR 24, 2020
Health & Medicine
APR 24, 2020
Study Shows Marijuana Withdrawal is Real
Whether or not an addiction to marijuana is a risk of the drug has been widely debated, with the general population typi ...
MAY 11, 2020
Plants & Animals
MAY 11, 2020
Ever Wonder How a Bee Ascends to the Rank of Queen?
Virtually every beehive sports its own queen bee, but there can be only one. Beneath her are hundreds or thousands of pe ...
MAY 22, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
MAY 22, 2020
Some Coral Turn Neon When Stressed
Corals are immobile animals, and coral reefs are considered to be the most diverse ecosystems in the sea.
MAY 24, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
MAY 24, 2020
How CRISPR Can Aid in Wildlife Conservation
Since it was developed, researchers have modified and applied the CRISPR gene editing technology in many different ways.
Loading Comments...