It’s possible that Methuselah might be the oldest fish to be seen in a zoological setting. 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.
She was approximately 4ft tall and 40 pounds when she arrived. This makes her an approximate age of 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.
Methuselah may be a female fish. However, as a blood-draw would not be safe for a fish this old, the academy will send researchers in Australia a tiny sample from her fin in an effort to confirm her sexuality and find out her exact age.
Australian lungfish are now endangered and can’t be moved from Australian waters. The academy biologists predict that the aquarium won’t receive a replacement after Methuselah has passed.