The newest addition the Archie McPhee Library is an epic journey across the planet and back through time via a beautiful book entitled The Oldest Living Things in the World [Buy on Amazon] by Brooklyn-based contemporary artist Rachel Sussman. Nature is awesome and the Earth is very very old and Sussman spent the last 10 years researching, working with biologists and traveling in order to photograph the oldest continuously living organisms on the planet.
Spanning from Antarctica to Greenland, the Mojave Desert to the Australian Outback, the result is a stunning and unique visual collection of ancient organisms unlike anything that has been created in the arts or sciences before, insightfully and accessibly narrated by Sussman along the way.
These ancient individuals live on every continent and range from Greenlandic lichens that grow only one centimeter a century, to unique desert shrubs in Africa and South America, a predatory fungus in Oregon, Caribbean brain coral, to an 80,000-year-old colony of aspen in Utah. Sussman journeyed to Antarctica to photograph 5,500-year-old moss; Australia for stromatolites, primeval organisms tied to the oxygenation of the planet and the beginnings of life on Earth; and to Tasmania to capture a 43,600-year-old self-propagating shrub that’s the last individual of its kind.