A 2010 photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey shows 2- to-3-meter-tall orange colored, black coral trees (Leiopathes cf. glabberima) growing near Viosca Knoll in the Gulf of Mexico, which are ... more 
A 2010 photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey shows 2- to-3-meter-tall orange colored, black coral trees (Leiopathes cf. glabberima) growing near Viosca Knoll in the Gulf of Mexico, which are among the oldest living organisms on Earth. For the first time, scientists have been able to validate the age of deep-sea black corals in the Gulf of Mexico.  They found the Gulf is home to 2,000 year-old deep-sea black corals, many of which are only a few feet tall.  These slow-growing, long-living animals thrive in very deep waters—300 meters (984 feet) and deeper—yet scientists say they are sensitive to what is happening in the surface ocean as well as on the sea floor.  less 
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Associated Press | Photo By U.S. Geological Survey, Ken Sulak
Thu, Mar 31, 2011 12:56 PM EDT