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TEDGlobal 2010

Rachel Sussman: The world's oldest living things

レイチェル・サスマン「世界で最も長寿な生物」

July 15, 2010

レイチェル・サスマンが、トバゴの浜辺にある2,000歳の脳サンゴから、農業の黎明期から生きてきた南アフリカの「地底の森」まで、世界で最も古くから生き続けてきた生命体の写真を見せながら語ります。

Rachel Sussman - Artist, photographer
Rachel Sussman is on a quest to celebrate the resilience of life by identifying and photographing continuous-living organisms that are 2,000 years or older, all around the world. Full bio

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Double-click the English subtitles below to play the video.
This strange-looking plant is called the Llareta.
この奇妙な形をした植物はヤレタです
00:16
What looks like moss covering rocks
岩を覆う苔のように見えるのは
00:19
is actually a shrub
何千という枝でできた
00:21
comprised of thousands of branches,
灌木です
00:23
each containing clusters of tiny green leaves at the end
それぞれの先には小さな緑の葉がかたまりになっていて
00:25
and so densely packed together
非常に密集しているので
00:28
that you could actually stand on top of it.
その上に立つこともできます
00:30
This individual lives in the Atacama Desert in Chile,
この個体はチリのアタカマ砂漠にあり
00:33
and it happens to be 3,000 years old.
樹齢3,000年ほどです
00:36
It also happens to be a relative of parsley.
パセリの近縁種でもあります
00:39
For the past five years, I've been researching,
この5年間
00:42
working with biologists
生物学者たちと共同で研究し
00:44
and traveling all over the world
世界中を回りながら
00:46
to find continuously living organisms
2,000年以上生き続けている生命体を
00:48
that are 2,000 years old and older.
探してきました
00:50
The project is part art and part science.
芸術と科学にまたがるプロジェクトです
00:53
There's an environmental component.
環境という要素もあります
00:55
And I'm also trying to create a means
日常の時間軸から踏み出し
00:57
in which to step outside our quotidian experience of time
時間の尺度をより深く考えるための手段を
00:59
and to start to consider a deeper timescale.
作りたいとも思っています
01:02
I selected 2,000 years as my minimum age
最低でも2,000年としたのは
01:05
because I wanted to start at what we consider to be year zero
西暦の始まりを開始点として
01:08
and work backward from there.
そこから遡って行きたかったからです
01:11
What you're looking at now is a tree called Jomon Sugi,
これは縄文杉です
01:13
living on the remote island of Yakushima.
屋久島という孤島に自生しています
01:16
The tree was in part a catalyst for the project.
この木がプロジェクトを始めるきっかけの一つになりました
01:19
I'd been traveling in Japan
写真を撮るために
01:22
without an agenda other than to photograph,
日本を旅行していた時
01:24
and then I heard about this tree
樹齢2,180年だという
01:26
that is 2,180 years old
この木のことを聞き
01:28
and knew that I had to go visit it.
そこに行かねばと思いました
01:31
It wasn't until later, when I was actually back home in New York
その後ニューヨークの自宅に戻ってから
01:34
that I got the idea for the project.
このプロジェクトを思いつきました
01:37
So it was the slow churn, if you will.
ゆっくりと立ち現われてきたのです
01:39
I think it was my longstanding desire
自らの芸術と科学 そして哲学に対する
01:41
to bring together my interest
関心を一つにまとめたいと
01:43
in art, science and philosophy
私は長いこと願っていました
01:45
that allowed me to be ready
だから ひらめいた時には
01:47
when the proverbial light bulb went on.
準備ができていたのです
01:49
So I started researching, and to my surprise,
調べ始めると 驚いたことに
01:51
this project had never been done before
芸術であれ科学であれ
01:53
in the arts or the sciences.
この取り組みは行われたことのないものでした
01:55
And -- perhaps naively --
そして単純にも私は
01:57
I was surprised to find that there isn't even an area in the sciences
世界中の長寿な種族を扱う
01:59
that deals with this idea
科学の分野すらないということに
02:02
of global species longevity.
驚いたのです
02:04
So what you're looking at here
今見ているのは
02:06
is the rhizocarpon geographicum, or map lichen,
チズゴケです
02:08
and this is around 3,000 years old
3,000年ほど生きています
02:11
and lives in Greenland,
グリーンランドに生えていますが
02:13
which is a long way to go for some lichens.
地衣類にとっては遥か遠い場所です
02:15
Visiting Greenland was more like
グリーンランドを訪れるのは
02:18
traveling back in time
極北を旅するだけでなく
02:20
than just traveling very far north.
過去への旅行をしているようなものです
02:22
It was very primal and more remote
これまでに訪れた中で
02:24
than anything I'd ever experienced before.
最も原初的で遠い場所でした
02:26
And this is heightened by a couple of particular experiences.
特別な体験もしました
02:29
One was when I had been dropped off by boat
ボートで遠くのフィヨルドに行って
02:32
on a remote fjord,
下ろされた時
02:35
only to find that the archeologists I was supposed to meet
待ち合わせをしていた考古学者が
02:37
were nowhere to be found.
どこにもいませんでした
02:39
And it's not like you could send them a text or shoot them an e-mail,
SMSやメールを送ることもできません
02:41
so I was literally left to my own devices.
本当に一人ぼっちだったのです
02:44
But luckily, it worked out obviously,
結局は何とかなりましたが
02:47
but it was a humbling experience
取り残されたときは
02:50
to feel so disconnected.
人間の微力さを感じました
02:52
And then a few days later,
数日後
02:55
we had the opportunity to go fishing in a glacial stream
キャンプ近くの氷河から流れる小川で
02:57
near our campsite,
釣りをしました
02:59
where the fish were so abundant
あふれんばかりに魚がいて
03:01
that you could literally reach into the stream
30センチのマスを
03:04
and grab out a foot-long trout with your bare hands.
素手で手づかみすることができました
03:07
It was like visiting
地球が今よりも無垢だった時代を
03:10
a more innocent time on the planet.
訪れたかのようでした
03:12
And then, of course, there's the lichens.
そこには地衣類もいました
03:15
These lichens grow only one centimeter
100年で1センチしか
03:17
every hundred years.
育ちません
03:19
I think that really puts human lifespans
こうした植物を見ると
03:21
into a different perspective.
人間の寿命を新たな視点で考えることができます
03:23
And what you're looking at here
今見ているのは
03:25
is an aerial photo take over eastern Oregon.
東オレゴンの上空から撮った写真です
03:27
And if the title "Searching for Armillaria Death Rings,"
「アルミラリアの死環を探して」という見出しは
03:29
sounds ominous, it is.
不気味に感じられます
03:32
The Armillaria is actually a predatory fungus,
アルミラリアは捕食性のキノコです
03:35
killing certain species of trees in the forest.
ある種の木を殺します
03:38
It's also more benignly known
より温和な言い方をすれば
03:41
as the honey mushroom or the "humongous fungus"
「とてつもなく大きなキノコ」として知られています
03:43
because it happens to be
世界最大級の
03:46
one of the world's largest organisms as well.
生命体の一つなのです
03:48
So with the help of some biologists studying the fungus,
キノコを研究する生物学者とともに
03:50
I got some maps and some GPS coordinates
地図とGPSの座標を入手し
03:53
and chartered a plane
飛行機をチャーターして
03:56
and started looking for the death rings,
死環を探し始めました
03:58
the circular patterns
アルミラリアが木を殺してできる
04:01
in which the fungus kills the trees.
円形の模様です
04:03
So I'm not sure if there are any in this photo,
この写真に写っているかはわかりませんが
04:05
but I do know the fungus is down there.
地表にはアルミラリアがあります
04:07
And then this back down on the ground
地面に行くと
04:09
and you can see that the fungus is actually invading this tree.
アルミラリアがこの木を襲っているのがわかります
04:11
So that white material that you see
樹皮と木の間に見える
04:14
in between the bark and the wood
白い物質は
04:16
is the mycelial felt of the fungus,
アルミラリアのフェルト状の菌糸です
04:18
and what it's doing -- it's actually
水分と栄養分の流れを阻害して
04:21
slowly strangling the tree to death
ゆっくりと木を
04:23
by preventing the flow of water and nutrients.
絞め殺しているのです
04:25
So this strategy has served it pretty well --
この戦略はうまく働いてきました
04:28
it's 2,400 years old.
これは2,400年も生きています
04:30
And then from underground to underwater.
地中から海中の話に移ります
04:33
This is a Brain Coral living in Tobago
トバゴの脳サンゴです
04:36
that's around 2,000 years old.
2,000年ほど生きています
04:38
And I had to overcome my fear of deep water to find this one.
深海への恐れを克服して見つけました
04:40
This is at about 60 feet
水深18メートルほどの
04:43
or 18 meters, depth.
ところにあります
04:45
And you'll see, there's some damage to the surface of the coral.
サンゴの表面が傷ついています
04:47
That was actually caused by a school of parrot fish
石鯛の群れが
04:50
that had started eating it,
食べたのです
04:53
though luckily, they lost interest before killing it.
死なずに済んだのは幸運でした
04:55
Luckily still, it seems to be out of harm's way
最近起きた石油流出事故の影響も
04:58
of the recent oil spill.
受けていません
05:01
But that being said, we just as easily could have lost
とはいえ 地球で最も昔から生きている
05:03
one of the oldest living things on the planet,
生命体の一つを簡単に失っていたかもしれないのです
05:05
and the full impact of that disaster
事故がもたらす災厄の全貌は
05:08
is still yet to be seen.
まだわかりません
05:10
Now this is something that I think
これは地球で最もひっそりと
05:12
is one of the most quietly resilient things on the planet.
命をつないでいる生き物だと思います
05:14
This is clonal colony
ユタ州にあるアメリカヤマナラシの
05:17
of Quaking Aspen trees, living in Utah,
クローンの集団です
05:19
that is literally 80,000 years old.
8万年も生きてきました
05:22
What looks like a forest
森のように見えますが
05:25
is actually only one tree.
実は1本の木です
05:27
Imagine that it's one giant root system
一つの巨大な根が張っていて
05:30
and each tree is a stem
それぞれの木は
05:32
coming up from that system.
そこから現れた幹なのです
05:34
So what you have is one giant,
ここにあるのは
05:36
interconnected,
巨大な一つにつながった
05:38
genetically identical individual
同一の遺伝子を持つ個体で
05:40
that's been living for 80,000 years.
8万年も生きています
05:42
It also happens to be male
この木は雄株で
05:45
and, in theory immortal.
理論上は不死です
05:47
(Laughter)
(笑)
05:49
This is a clonal tree as well.
こちらもクローンの木です
05:52
This is the spruce Gran Picea,
樹齢9,550年ほどの
05:54
which at 9,550 years
トウヒですが
05:56
is a mere babe in the woods.
赤ちゃんのようなものです
05:58
The location of this tree
木を守るため
06:00
is actually kept secret for its own protection.
生えている場所は明かされていません
06:02
I spoke to the biologist who discovered this tree,
この木を発見した生物学者と話しましたが
06:05
and he told me that that spindly growth you see there in the center
真ん中に見える細長い成長部分は
06:08
is most likely a product of climate change.
恐らく気候変動によるものだろうと言っていました
06:11
As it's gotten warmer on the top of the mountain,
山頂が暖かくなってきているため
06:14
the vegetation zone is actually changing.
植生が変わっています
06:17
So we don't even necessarily have to have
植物と直接に接しなくとも
06:20
direct contact with these organisms
被害を及ぼすことは
06:22
to have a very real impact on them.
可能なのです
06:24
This is the Fortingall Yew --
これはフォーティンゴールのイチイの木です
06:28
no, I'm just kidding --
冗談です
06:31
this is the Fortingall Yew.
こちらがフォーティンゴールのイチイです
06:33
(Laughter)
(笑)
06:35
But I put that slide in there
羊の写真を入れたのは
06:37
because I'm often asked if there are any animals in the project.
私のプロジェクトに動物はいないのかとよく聞かれるからです
06:39
And aside from coral,
サンゴを除けば
06:42
the answer is no.
動物はいません
06:44
Does anybody know how old the oldest tortoise is --
最長寿のカメが何歳か知っていますか?
06:46
any guesses?
推測では?
06:49
(Audience: 300.)
(聴衆:300歳)
06:51
Rachel Sussman: 300? No, 175
RS: 300?いいえ 最長寿のカメは
06:53
is the oldest living tortoise,
175歳です
06:55
so nowhere near 2,000.
2,000年には遠く及びません
06:57
And then, you might have heard
アイスランドの浜辺で見つかった
07:00
of this giant clam that was discovered
405歳に達する
07:02
off the coast of northern Iceland
しゃこ貝のことを
07:04
that reached 405 years old.
聞いたことがある方もいるかもしれません
07:06
However, it died in the lab
でもこの貝は 研究室で
07:09
as they were determining its age.
年齢を調べている間に死にました
07:11
The most interesting discovery of late, I think
最近の発見で一番興味深く感じるのは
07:14
is the so-called immortal jellyfish,
「不死のクラゲ」とでも言うべきもので
07:16
which has actually been observed in the lab
成体になった後で
07:19
to be able to be able to revert back to the polyp state
ポリプ型に戻れることが
07:21
after reaching full maturity.
研究室で観察されました
07:24
So that being said,
とはいえ 野生状態で
07:26
it's highly unlikely that any jellyfish would survive that long in the wild.
クラゲがそれ程長生きできるとは思えません
07:29
And back to the yew here.
イチイの話に戻ります
07:33
So as you can see, it's in a churchyard;
この木はスコットランドの
07:35
it's in Scotland. It's behind a protective wall.
教会の庭で保護されています
07:37
And there are actually a number or ancient yews
イギリス各地の教会で
07:40
in churchyards around the U.K.,
イチイの古木がたくさん生えています
07:42
but if you do the math, you'll remember
でも計算してみるとわかりますが
07:44
it's actually the yew trees that were there first, then the churches.
最初にあったのはイチイで後から教会ができたのです
07:46
And now down to another part of the world.
別の地域の話に移りましょう
07:51
I had the opportunity to travel around the Limpopo Province in South Africa
以前 南アフリカのリンポポ州を旅行する機会がありました
07:53
with an expert in Baobab trees.
バオバブの専門家と一緒でした
07:56
And we saw a number of them,
バオバブを何本も見ましたが
07:58
and this is most likely the oldest.
これが一番長寿だと思います
08:00
It's around 2,000,
樹齢2,000年ほどです
08:02
and it's called the Sagole Baobab.
サゴーリ・バオバブと呼ばれています
08:04
And you know, I think of all of these organisms
こうした古い木々は全て
08:06
as palimpsests.
歴史の刻印だと思います
08:08
They contain thousands of years
自らの内に何千年という歴史を
08:10
of their own histories within themselves,
刻み込んでいますし
08:12
and they also contain records of natural and human events.
自然界や人間界の出来事も記録しています
08:14
And the Baobabs in particular
バオバブを見ると
08:17
are a great example of this.
それがよくわかります
08:19
You can see that this one
このバオバブには
08:21
has names carved into its trunk,
人間の名前が彫られています
08:23
but it also records some natural events.
自然界の出来事も記録されています
08:25
So the Baobabs, as they get older,
バオバブは年を取ると
08:27
tend to get pulpy in their centers and hollow out.
中心部がパルプ状になり空洞化します
08:29
And this can create
そして動物たちの
08:32
great natural shelters for animals,
自然の隠れ家になります
08:34
but they've also been appropriated
怪しげな人間の行為にも
08:36
for some rather dubious human uses,
使われてきました
08:38
including a bar, a prison
バーや刑務所
08:40
and even a toilet inside of a tree.
そしてトイレにまで
08:43
And this brings me to another favorite of mine --
私がもう一つ気に入っている
08:46
I think, because it is just so unusual.
変わった木があります
08:48
This plant is called the Welwitschia,
ウェルウィッチアという木です
08:51
and it lives only in parts of coastal Namibia and Angola,
ナミビアとアンゴラの一部沿岸のみに自生し
08:53
where it's uniquely adapted
海から来る霧の水分を
08:56
to collect moisture from mist coming off the sea.
集めるよう順応しています
08:58
And what's more, it's actually a tree.
これは実際のところ木なのです
09:01
It's a primitive conifer.
原始的な針葉樹です
09:04
You'll notice that it's bearing cones down the center.
真ん中に果実をつけています
09:06
And what looks like two big heaps of leaves,
葉っぱが2つの大きな山を作っていますが
09:09
is actually two single leaves
実際は2枚の葉です
09:12
that get shredded up
厳しい砂漠の気候により
09:14
by the harsh desert conditions over time.
だんだんと切り裂かれていくのです
09:16
And it actually never sheds those leaves,
葉を落とすことはないので
09:18
so it also bears the distinction
最も長い葉を持つ
09:21
of having the longest leaves
植物であるという
09:23
in the plant kingdom.
栄誉を手にしています
09:25
I spoke to a biologist
ケープタウンの
09:27
at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden in Capetown
カーステンボッシュ植物園で
09:29
to ask him
ウェルウィッチアの由来を
09:31
where he thought this remarkable plant came from,
生物学者に尋ねると
09:33
and his thought was that
答えはこうでした
09:36
if you travel around Namibia,
ナミビアに行けば
09:38
you see that there are a number of petrified forests,
化石化した森がいくつもあり
09:40
and the logs are all --
そこにある丸太はすべて
09:42
the logs are all giant coniferous trees,
巨大な針葉樹のものだが
09:45
and yet there's no sign of where they might have come from.
どこから来たのかを示すものは何もない
09:48
So his thought was that
その生物学者の考えでは
09:51
flooding in the north of Africa
アフリカ北部の洪水が
09:53
actually brought those coniferous trees down
何万年も前に
09:55
tens of thousands of years ago,
それらの木々を運んできた
09:58
and what resulted was this remarkable adaptation
そこから砂漠特有の環境への
10:00
to this unique desert environment.
注目すべき適応が起きたのです
10:03
This is what I think is the most poetic of the oldest living things.
長寿生物の中でも最もロマンチックなケースだと思います
10:05
This is something called an underground forest.
これは地底森林と呼ばれるものです
10:08
So, I spoke to a botanist at the Pretoria Botanical Garden,
プレトリア植物園で ある植物学者が
10:11
who explained that certain species of trees
この地域に適応してきた
10:14
have adapted to this region.
植物があると教えてくれました
10:17
It's bushfelt region,
ブッシュフェルト地方は
10:20
which is dry and prone to a lot of fires,
乾燥し火事が起きやすい場所です
10:22
as so what these trees have done
これらの木が何をしているかというと
10:24
is, if you can imagine that this is the crown of the tree,
ここが木の最上部で
10:27
and that this is ground level,
こちらが地面だとして
10:29
imagine that the whole thing,
木の全体が
10:31
that whole bulk of the tree,
地中に
10:33
migrated underground,
移り住んでしまい
10:35
and you just have those leaves peeping up above the surface.
これらの葉だけが地表に現れているのです
10:37
That way, when a fire roars through,
そうすれば 火事が迫って来ても
10:40
it's the equivalent of getting your eyebrows singed.
まつ毛が焦げる程度のことで済むのです
10:42
The tree can easily recover.
すぐに回復できます
10:45
These also tend to grow clonally,
これらの木もクローンによって増えます
10:48
the oldest of which is 13,000 years old.
最も古いものは1万3千年ほど生きています
10:50
Back in the U.S., there's a couple plants of similar age.
アメリカでも同じぐらい古い植物がいくつかあります
10:53
This is the clonal Creosote bush,
このクローンのメキシコハマビシは
10:56
which is around 12,000 years old.
樹齢1万2千年ほどです
10:58
If you've been in the American West,
アメリカ西部に行けば
11:00
you know the Creosote bush is pretty ubiquitous,
メキシコハマビシはどこにでもありますが
11:02
but that being said, you see that this has
この個体は独特の
11:04
this unique, circular form.
丸い形をしています
11:06
And what's happening is it's expanding slowly outwards
元々の形から
11:08
from that original shape.
少しずつ外に広がっています
11:11
And it's one -- again, that interconnected root system,
これも一つにつながった根を持ち
11:14
making it one genetically identical individual.
同一の遺伝子を持つ個体となっています
11:17
It also has a friend nearby --
近くには「友人」と呼べるような
11:20
well, I think they're friends.
植物もいます
11:23
This is the clonal Mojave yucca, it's about a mile away,
1マイルほどの距離にあるクローンのモハビ・ユッカです
11:25
and it's a little bit older than 12,000 years.
1万2千年以上生き続けています
11:28
And you see it has that similar circular form.
同じような丸い形をしています
11:30
And there's some younger clones
より若いクローンが
11:33
dotting the landscape behind it.
周辺に点在しています
11:35
And both of these, the yucca and the Creosote bush,
ユッカもメキシコハマビシも
11:37
live on Bureau of Land Management land,
土地管理局の所有地にあります
11:40
and that's very different from being protected in a national park.
国立公園で保護されている訳ではありません
11:43
In fact, this land is designated
実際この地は
11:46
for recreational all-terrain vehicle use.
オフロードカーで楽しむための場所とされています
11:48
So, now I want to show what very well might be
では恐らく世界で最も古くから生き続けている
11:54
the oldest living thing on the planet.
生物をお見せしましょう
11:57
This is Siberian Actinobacteria,
シベリアのアクチノバクテリアです
11:59
which is between 400,000
40万年から60万年も
12:01
and 600,000 years old.
生きています
12:04
This bacteria was discovered several years ago
数年前に惑星生物学者のチームが
12:07
by a team of planetary biologists
他の星に生命がいる手がかりを探そうと
12:09
hoping to find clues to life on other planets
地球で最も厳しい気候の場所を探査している際に
12:11
by looking at one of the harshest conditions on ours.
発見しました
12:14
And what they found, by doing research into the permafrost,
永久凍土の調査から見つかったのが
12:17
was this bacteria.
このバクテリアです
12:20
But what's unique about it is that
ユニークなのは
12:22
it's doing DNA repair below freezing.
氷点下でDNAの修復を行う点です
12:24
And what that means is that it's not dormant --
つまり眠ってはいないのです
12:26
it's actually been living and growing
50万年の間
12:29
for half a million years.
生き続け成長しています
12:31
It's also probably one the most vulnerable
このバクテリアは最長寿の生物の中で
12:34
of the oldest living things,
最も脆弱な生き物でもあります
12:37
because if the permafrost melts,
永久凍土が解けると
12:39
it won't survive.
生きていけません
12:41
This is a map that I've put together of the oldest living things,
この地図は最長寿の生き物をまとめたものです
12:43
so you can get a sense of where they are; you see they're all over the world.
世界中にいることがわかります
12:45
The blue flags represent things that I've already photographed,
青い旗が立っているところは私が写真に収めたところで
12:48
and the reds are places that I'm still trying to get to.
赤い旗はこれから行こうとしている場所です
12:51
You'll see also, there's a flag on Antarctica.
南極にも旗を立てています
12:54
I'm trying to travel there
南極半島にいる
12:57
to find 5,000 year-old moss,
5,000年生きている苔を
12:59
which lives on the Antarctic Peninsula.
見つけたいのです
13:02
So, I probably have about two more years left
このプロジェクトにはあと2年間
13:05
on this project --
取り組むつもりです
13:07
on this phase of the project,
5年が経過した
13:09
but after five years,
今の段階では
13:11
I really feel like I know what's at the heart of this work.
この仕事の意義がよくわかった気がします
13:13
The oldest living things in the world
世界で最も古くから生きている生物は
13:16
are a record and celebration of our past,
過去の記録であるとともに賛歌であり
13:18
a call to action in the present
現在の行動を呼びかけるものであり
13:21
and a barometer of our future.
そして未来への指標なのです
13:24
They've survived for millennia
そうした生物は
13:26
in desert, in the permafrost,
砂漠や永久凍土 山頂や海の底で
13:28
at the tops of mountains and at the bottom of the ocean.
何千年も生き続けてきました
13:30
They've withstood
知られざる自然の脅威や人間の侵略を
13:33
untold natural perils and human encroachments,
耐えてきたのです
13:35
but now some of them are in jeopardy,
でもその一部は危機に瀕しています
13:38
and they can't just get up and get out of the way.
立ちあがって別の場所に移るなんてことはできないのです
13:40
It's my hope that, by going to find these organisms,
こうした生命体を見つけに行くことで
13:43
that I can help draw attention
それらが持つ驚くべき生命力への
13:45
to their remarkable resilience
関心を呼び起こし
13:47
and help play a part in insuring
将来に渡って生き続けて行けるような
13:49
their continued longevity into the foreseeable future.
環境作りに貢献したいと思っています
13:51
Thank you.
ありがとう
13:54
(Applause)
(拍手)
13:56
Translator:Wataru Narita
Reviewer:Takako Sato

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Rachel Sussman - Artist, photographer
Rachel Sussman is on a quest to celebrate the resilience of life by identifying and photographing continuous-living organisms that are 2,000 years or older, all around the world.

Why you should listen

For the past five years, Rachel Sussman has traveled around the globe photographing organisms that have lived for more than 2,000 years. From 500,000-year-old actinobacteria in the Siberian permafrost a lone spruce standing on a mostly barren mountain in Sweden, her images capture both the robustness and fragility of life. While these organisms' longevity dwarfs even that of human civilization, they all depend on ecosystems in fine balance -- a balance thrown into question by human encroachment and climate change.

Sussman's work has been exhibited throughout the United States and Europe in venues including the Museum of Natural History.

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