Sustainability Environment

Australian lungfish in San Francisco the oldest living aquarium fish

Story at a glance

  • California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco is home to what is believed to be the oldest living aquarium fish.
  • Methuselah, an Australian lungfish, is about 90 years old.
  • The Australian lungfish is a unique species that boasts gills and lungs and is thought to be an ancestral cross between fish and amphibians.

The California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco is home to what is believed to be the oldest living aquarium fish.  

Methuselah, an Australian lungfish, is about 90 years old, named after the Biblical figure, Noah’s grandfather, who was stated to have lived to be 969 years old.   

“By default, Methuselah is the oldest,” Allan Jan, senior biologist at the Academy, told The Associated Press (AP).  

The oldest Australian lungfish, named Grandad, lived at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago until it died at the age of 95 in 2017. 


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The Australian lungfish, a unique species that boasts gills and lungs, is thought to be an ancestral cross between fish and amphibians.  

Methuselah, now 4-foot-long and 40-pounds, was brought to San Francisco from Australia in 1938. According to The Associated Press, her first media appearance in the San Francisco Chronicle in 1947 stated, “These strange creatures — with green scales looking like fresh artichoke leaves — are known to scientists as a possible ‘missing link’ between terrestrial and aquatic animals.”   

Methuselah enjoys getting belly rubs and eating fresh figs. 

“I tell my volunteers, pretend she’s an underwater puppy, very mellow, gentle, but of course if she gets spooked she will have sudden bouts of energy. But for the most part she’s just calm,” said Jan, adding, “We just give her the best possible care we can provide, and hopefully she thrives.” 


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