Meet Methuselah, the World’s Oldest Aquarium Fish

Methuselah the Queensland lungfish arrived from Australia over 70 years ago, but her true age is unknown.

Methuselah just might be the oldest fish in a zoological setting on Earth. Known as the Australian or Queensland lungfish, it’s 4 feet long and one of only six living species of air-breathing lungfish. 

The Queensland lungfish — also known as an Australian lungfish — came to San Francisco on a steamship from Australia back in 1938. 

Named after the oldest person mentioned in the Bible — Methuselah is said to have lived to be 969 years old — the fish has been kept at Steinhart Aquarium since her arrival to the U.S., one of the most biologically diverse and interactive aquariums in the world. 

The 4-foot, 40-pound fish was estimated to be around 5 or 6 when she arrived, making her approximate age around 90.

“Based on the pictures that I've seen and the size of her when she arrived, she wasn't young then either. She wasn't a baby. So I want to say maybe tack on five, six years since the time she was here,” said Allan Jan, senior biologist at California Academy of Sciences.

It is believed that Methuselah is a female fish, but because a blood-draw would be risky for a fish of this age, the academy will send a tiny sample of her fin to researchers in Australia in an attempt to confirm her sex and figure out her exact age.

Because the Australian lungfish is now a threatened species, they can no longer be moved from Australian waters, and after Methuselah passes the aquarium will likely not receive a replacement, according to the academy biologists.

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