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The discovery

‘The Oldest Living Things in the World’ by Rachel Sussman

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For the past decade, Brooklyn-based artist Rachel Sussman has traveled the world in search of living organisms that are at least 2,000 years old. “The Oldest Living Things in the World” (University of Chicago) is an enthralling personal and photographic record of her adventures. As remarkable as these organisms are — among them, brain coral in Tobago and the so-called underground forests in South Africa — it’s Sussman’s essays for the new tome that make this more than just another coffee-table book. At a time when science is increasingly specialized, her artist’s vision transcends the divides between disciplines, and she highlights the importance of analyzing longevity across species as a way of understanding our world.

JAN GARDNER

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