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Time Abyss

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Oh, finally. For her first four billion years, there was nothing to read.
"I was old when the molecules of your world joined and called themselves land and sea and fish and man.
That's why they come back to Z'ha'dum every time they're driven off. Because I'm here. They think they are showing respect. They don't understand. They did use to. But that was a long time ago. A million years."
Lorien, Babylon 5

There are the old, and then there are the truly old. People usually die within a century or so. Cities and nations may last a few millennia, and we think them old, but the truly old are so much older. They are even shown to be The Oldest Ones in the Book in some Literature.

They were already old when all the nations we know were born, even those now vanished into history. They can speak of Ancient Athens and Babylon as casually as we might speak of yesterday, for to them those ancient cities are but recent memories. They were there when brick was first laid on brick, over five thousand years ago. They may have watched the trilobites come, and go, with eyes older than the stars. They may even be older than time itself.

Contemplating such immense spans of time is like looking into an abyss, an inducement to vertigo, for they are more than we can grasp. Oh, we can talk about them easily enough, just more big numbers, but we can't intuit them. We all know what a second or a week feels like; a million years (or even ten thousand) is beyond all human experience. It is from this incomprehension that this trope draws its power, when done right, an evocation of incomprehensible age that appeals to our sense of wonder. Naturally, a Time Abyss must experience all the years they claim. It doesn't count if they skip over or sleep through them.

While a Time Abyss is normally a person — perhaps not technically human, but a person nonetheless — objects can also qualify, everything from cities to coins. Imagine an alien monolith that has been sitting on the moon for three billion years. Think about all it has seen: the slow dance of the continents, the long march of evolution, the sudden flowering of civilization. Think, and wonder.

Geographical features can't qualify, though. We expect the hills to be old as dirt. We do not expect people, or any of their works, to be older than the hills.

Five thousand years or so is a decent estimate of the minimum age needed to qualify for this trope, excluding any hypothetical Contemporary Caveman, and yet, in Science Fiction, a Time Abyss will typically be far older than that. Geological time scales are usually involved. In modern-day works of a religious bent (or not), Adam and Eve (or Cain) are likely candidates, as the first ever living sapient creatures. If there are several of these individuals, expect a few of them (or one in particular) to be significantly older than the rest. 10,000 Years is commonly used as a shorthand to establish that something is especially ancient.

A god or major Eldritch Abomination is often a time abyss, as are Precursors and Elves (depending on how they're portrayed, many aren't old enough to follow this trope). These characters may decide that there's Nothing Left to Do but Die because Who Wants to Live Forever?. May even oscillate between Living Forever Is Awesome and bored eternity.

Meta-trope of Living Relic, where the being in question finds themselves the last survivor of their civilization, race, or even species long after their kind has become myth. Being a Time Abyss will often lead to a work's creator wanting to engage in some Exposition of Immortality to show just how much they remember.

One more interesting fact about them is that they can even be a kind of Ouroboros creature with no beginning and no end that simply lives forever.

Example subpages:

Other examples

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  • The 2000 Year Old Man: as titled, he wouldn't be old enough to qualify, but he claims his oldest memories are of living as a caveman. And he says he met Moses.
  • Many Transformers in all incarnations are millions of years old. Some individuals are older than the entire human species.
    • For an idea, in the Transformers: Generation 1 cartoon, Optimus and Megatron had been battling each other for millions of years before arriving to Earth. There's also how Shockwave didn't change much during the four million years the Autobots and the Decepticons in the Ark were in stasis (well, except for being minus one hand).
    • The Thirteen are considered old even by the standards of their species, including Vector Prime and The Fallen. The first creations of Primus, they were old before the war that's been going for millions of years got started. They don't even have faction insignias, since they pre-date their formations by eons (their toys notwithstanding).
      • In Transformers: Prime the Thirteen are said to have battled Unicron in ancient times. Unicron eventually became Earth by collecting debris as he drifted through space. In the canon novel Exodus, which takes place a few million years ago at most, Alpha Trion, one of the Thirteen, speaks to Optimus. In case you haven't figured it out that means Trion is at least five billion or so years old.
    • Kup and Alpha Trion from Transformers: Generation 1; Alpha Trion was around when the Quintessons were driven from Cybertron — about twelve million years ago. Kup could be anywhere from just as old to maybe "only" ten million years old; he's certainly older than Optimus Prime, who is at least nine million years old. Alpha Trion, in other media, was retconned into being one of the Thirteen, although this isn't easy to reconcile.
      • The Quintessons themselves, or at least the ones who were personally around before they lost Cybertron (e.g. the three-face who built the Transorganic energy-leech) also qualify.
    • ...And that's not counting all the resurrections.
    • Starscream is so good at the trope he named that he betrayed time!
      Starscream: My exo-structure was destroyed, but miraculously my spark endured, drifting helplessly thorough the depths of space, beyond the reach of time itself! — Beast Wars, "Possession"
    • Transformers: More than Meets the Eye states that Transformers actually can die of old age... it just takes a little under a billion years for it to happen. In fact they're so long-lived that, for many years, Cybertronians believed themselves to be biologically immortal, expressly because they'd never actually seen someone die of old age.
      • Another continuity (Transformers Regeneration One) has the Transformers aging much faster after their universe is cut-off from Primus, the multiversal being that created the Transformers and influences every universe they appear in.
    • In Transformers: Animated, immense temporal units get thrown around casually, emphasizing just how long it is that they can live. For some examples, Ratchet, whose general demeanor is is middle aged, is millions of years old. Meanwhile, in a third season episode flashing back to Prowl's joining of Optimus Prime's team, Prowl claims to have spent a million years in meditation before they disturbed him, and shortly afterwards, Optimus casually refers to 50 or 60 years as being "no time at all" before they can all head back to Cybertron.
    • IDW Kup, mostly seen in The Transformers: Robots in Disguise, was already old when he was sent back in time to the beginning of the Dead Universe. Having taken The Slow Path back to the present before returning to the normal universe none the worse for wear, he is almost definitely older than the universe itself.
    • And then the 80's cartoon gave us Primacron, who in that continuity created Primus, Unicron and the Quintessons, and is still kicking around tampering with Creation in the present day. To boot, he also doesn't seem to have the justification of being made of metal, appearing to be a small organic alien monkey.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Ronnie Schiatto from Baccano! is implied to be this. Although he doesn't give an exact date, he does drop a mention that he's been around since ancient times.
  • In Bleach, a few members of the Zero Division seem to be older than Yamamoto himself. They are responsible for the fundamental tenets of Soul Society, so this makes sense. For example, Oetsu Nimaiya is the creator of Asauchi, the basic form of all Zanpakuto, while Ichibe Hyosube was responsible for the naming of everything in Soul Society. The novels reveal that Ichibe is millions of years old and in fact predates the creation of Soul Society itself.
  • The Kiltgangs in Captain Earth are so incredibly old that Teppei notes how weird an ordinary day (and life) on Earth feels. Then there's also the problem that anyone the Designer's Children kiss will be confronted via a telepathic kiss with memories worth eons upon eons of aggressive space warrior lifestyle.
  • The Millennium Earl from D.Gray-Man is implied to be thousands of years old. He fought an as of yet unnamed hero wielding the Heart of Innocence during the Great Flood. He's the First of the Noah, and the only one who never reincarnated; moreover, while this made fans speculate that he was the biblical Noah, it's been recently implied that he's actually Adam.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • The Kais. The youngest-looking of them is over five million years old and has not aged visibly in that time. Old Kai is roughly seventy-five million years old, according to Word of God.
    • The wizard Babidi, considering his father was killed five million years ago. Unlike the Kais though, Babidi does look quite old.
    • Dragon Ball Super states that Beerus was the one who sealed Old Kai in the sword 75 million years ago. As mentor of successive gods of destruction, Whis is probably a lot older than this.
    • Majin Buu, the Big Bad of the Buu saga (and Babidi's Dragon-in-Chief/killer) came into being five million years ago. Or rather, that's what people believe. Buu has actually existed since time immemorial. While Bibidi (Babidi's father) thought he had created Buu, he actually only summoned him.
  • Fly Me to the Moon: Tsukasa feels her immortality is this after she was forced to drink the elixer when she was 16 (1,400 years is a very long time for somebody who wants to die at some point). From the perspective of all the other characters she certainly carries this aura, speaking of how lucky they are that they can travel across Japan in a few hours when 1,000 years ago it would have taken a week.
  • Gooyan, the true Big Bad in Futari wa Pretty Cure Splash★Star, is old enough to remember the universe before the Big Bang. He states that the silence was peaceful and that the cacophony of life is abhorrent to him. His entire goal is to remove all life from the universe and return to that nothingness.
  • Guyver: Zoalords Archanfel and Waferdanos were born before the last Ice Age, making them at least three million years old. The aliens who created them had been tampering with life on Earth pretty much since it first appeared, a billion or so years ago.
  • Stated in the trivia section of it's own wiki page, Ikaros from Heaven's Lost Property is actually over 100 quadrillion years old.
  • The Pillar Men from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure are an ancient race of vampiric superbeings, stated to have been around since before the dawn of mankind.
  • Ajimu Najimi of Medaka Box is orders of magnitude older than the universe. Apparently it was quite boring before the Big Bang.
  • Dragons in Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid are mentioned to have lifespans on the magnitude of billions of years. Lucoa in particular is explicitly older than the Earth itself and is established in Mononoke Sharing to have been one of the gods who made it in the first place.
  • Garterbelt is one in Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, being forced to relive all of Earth's history since the dinosaurs by God.
  • Queen Millennia: La-Metalians can live for over 1000 years with ease and Mirai is 360 million years old. She even recognizes Hajime because she's touched a hand of his prehistoric ancestor.
  • The Observer of Time in RahXephon: Pluralitas Concentio. Ayato becomes the Observer at the end of the movie.
  • It isn't clear how old Onashia is in Simoun (or how long she's ruled Simulacrum), but her personality definitely qualifies.
  • Soul Hunter: Jyoka and Fukki have been around since before human's appearance on earth. And with the reveal that Jyoka have restarted the world so many times she herself lost track of the count, and the fact that we don't know exactly how old they where when they arrived on earth to begin with, they're likely several millions years old at least.
  • Tales of Wedding Rings: The elven Elder, Peridot, is well over 500 years old, making her both the oldest living person in the world and the only one with firsthand knowledge of the original Ring King's mythic war against the Abyss King. A flashback to the war shows that, beyond her skin darkening over the intervening centuries, she looks the same now as she did then.
  • The Choushin from Tenchi Muyo!. For an uncounted period of time they searched for a being greater than themselves. It's unknown how long they existed like that, assuming time even applies to that state, but they eventually created the entire multiverse of space and time and have been around ever since. And if that doesn't mean anything to you, then one of them created a physical body to exist in which she is still alive and kicking over twenty thousand years later.
  • The living ruins under the town in Uzumaki. Older than sentient life, they exist to cause an Eternal Recurrence of madness and destruction. The story is just one cycle of their purpose.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, the Light of Ruin was a Cosmic Entity that has literally been around for eons.

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • Nicol Bolas and Ugin are the last survivors of the Elder Dragons that ruled Dominaria when it was young. Ugin is described as unfathomably ancient, and Nicol Bolas is said to be over 25,000 years old — to quote Tezzeret]: "I would have picked an opponent younger than, say, human civilization".
    • The Eldrazi Titans are alien gods formed before colored magic even existed. This means that they're older than Nicol Bolas, putting their age in the tens of thousands of years.
    • Any of the living, active Paruns in Ravnica (A parun being the founder of any of the ten guilds) counts, given that by the time of the first Ravnica block story, the guilds have been around for 10,000 years. The only survivors are Niv-Mizzet (the Mad Scientist dragon of Izzet), Rakdos (the demon in charge of his namesake guild), and Mat'Selesnya (the godlike elemental leader of the Selesnya, although unlike the other two they have not been directly seen in card form). There is actually one more: Azor, the parun of Azorius, but being a planeswalker, he is currently not in Ravnica, but nevertheless alive and well.
    • Ugin's one-time allies Sorin Markov and Nahiri also qualify to a lesser degree. Sorin, a vampire planeswalkers, is about 8000 years old (as they first meet 4000 years ago and she remarks upon escaping the Helvault in modern times that she is now older than he was when they first met). While Nahiri was technically in suspended animation for most of her life she was conscious the entire time and constantly tormented by the legions demons sealed inside with her.

    Comic Books 
  • The DCU:
    • The New Gods of the Fourth World and their predecessors, the Old Gods, who predate the DC universe.
    • Vandal Savage is one of these, though you'd never know it just by looking at him. He began life as a caveman, and became immortal when exposed to a mysterious meteor. It was revealed in Final Crisis: Revelations that Savage is Cain. Yes, that Cain. In an episode of Justice League, it was shown that he was still kicking thirty thousand years after the end of the world, which, incidentally, he caused.
    • Savage's arch-nemesis, the Resurrection Man. Or maybe not; originally, every time he died, he reincarnated as a baby. Thanks to some scientific experimentation on his current incarnation, he now straight-up resurrects — and survives in this incarnation up through the future of DC One Million.
  • Doctor Strange villain Shuma Gorath and the other Many-Angled Ones were some of the first creatures to ever exist in the multiverse.
  • ElfQuest has quite a few long-lived characters which have been around since the humans were still in their stone age (with later stories taking place in a medievalish period), but ignoring those that got there by skipping millennia still leaves some examples: Two-Edge must be pushing twenty thousand years, was a legend in two troll kingdoms that have since crumbled, and had more or less secretly significant influence on the technological advancement of humankind. His mother, Winnowill saw her tribe of elves go from wild forest dwellers to civilised, was cut off from them and watched/played with humans for some ten thousand years. She was venerated as a goddess by two entirely separate human peoples. Timmain spent most of her time as a wolf, but probably still counts. When the immortal shapeshifting aliens that were the ancestors of elves were stranded on the World of Two Moons, she had lived through their space flight, which was long enough for the marmot and butterfly like animals they brought along to evolve into sentient humanoids. Before that, she was the last of her kind who remembered that they used to breed — which the immortals had given up due to overpopulation of their planet.
  • In Fables, Frau Totenkinder was originally a tribal shaman in the Paleolithic era.
  • Great Lakes Avengers: All indications are that Mr. Immortal is destined to be Galactus's equivalent in the next universe. His power is being completely incapable of dying (or rather, of staying dead). Not even the most powerful of omnipotent beings could kill him off for real, meaning that he will be this trope, whether he likes it or not. And he's a Joke Character.
  • Green Lantern:
    • The Guardians of The Universe, source of Green Lantern's power. They were among the first sentient races to evolve, and are several billion years old — as individuals, that is, not just as a species. Additionally the other races that share ancestry with the Guardians, like the Zamorans and the Controllers.
    • Enemies of the Guardians, such as Larfleeze, Atrocitus, and the older Manhunters, also have ages in the billions.
    • The Emotional Spectrum entities, born from the emotions of sentient life, are similarly old. Each one is stated to be the first living thing ever to experience the emotion of which they are an embodiment.
    • Blackest Night:
      • The Life Entity is the oldest being in existence. It triggered the birth of life in the first place. Nekron, the cosmic void's response to life, is the second oldest being in existence.
      • The being known as Relic is even older than the Life Entity, since he is the only remaining member of the LightSmiths, who were the first discoverers and users of the emotional spectrum, doing things even the Guardians couldn't even imagine. Relic is from the previous universe before the current DC universe the Life Entity created.
  • Judge Dredd: One short story reveals that there is an inhabitant of Deadworld who outlasted even the immortal Dark Judges: the Boneman. Tasked with the mission to "endure" and "remember", the Boneman watched Necro-City One turn to dust, watched oceans evaporate, and the atmosphere dissipate, until one day justice might return to that cursed world.
  • Depending on his identity, the Legion of Super-Heroes villain named the Time Trapper is this. In all incarnations, the Time Trapper was born at least during the 30th-31st century, but has survived to operate at the end of time itself.
  • Lucifer:
    • The Jin En Mok predate the creation of the universe and want to escape it.
    • Also The Silk Man, another survivor of a previous Creation, possibly the same one as the Jin En Mok, possibly not.
    • Lucifer ruled hell for 10 billion years — which means every single angel and lilim is older than this.note 
    • One issue includes a Mesopotamian priestess who was cursed by the Old Gods to experience the same miscarriage every day for eternity. She has been searching for millennia for a way to finally die and get her revenge on the gods.
  • The Marvel Universe is full of this. Galactus is the sole survivor of the universe existing before the Big Bang. Each member of the Elders of the Universe is the last survivor of a forgotten race from billions of years ago who fanatically pursues a personal obsession such as collecting, gaming or fighting. The Proemials were born as the Universe was created, the Elder Gods emerged before life first appeared on Earth, the Eternals are a million years old (created by the even more ancient Celestials), the various Gods are thousands to tens of thousands of years old, the Master of the World is forty thousand years old, the Neanderthal Cole witnessed the sinking of Lemuria twenty thousand years ago, the mutant Selene is seventeen thousand years old, and Black Axe is almost fifteen thousand.
  • Perhaps the most extreme non-cosmic example of the Marvel Universe is John Sublime from New X-Men. He is a sentient bacteria who lives on Earth since the beginning of life on the planet, making him over 3 billion years old.
  • Walker from Powers. He's at least old enough to have been part of a clan of missing links, and his DNA has continued to mutate and evolve over time so that he fits right in today. Perhaps fortunately, perhaps unfortunately, his memory only goes back a very limited time, maybe about a hundred years. Things towards the beginning of that span start fading and getting blurry, and eventually are replaced with new memories. Occasionally a catalyst can give him flashes of some long dormant memories, though.
  • The two main antagonists of Rachel Rising are Lilith (in the popular origin story that she was Adam's first wife before Eve was created) and a Fallen Angel named Malus. So both of the bad guys have been around for as long as the human species has existed, or longer.
  • The world of The Sandman (1989) is implied to have a handful of inhabitants that inspire one of the quotes on the quotations page. For the most part, we are just assured that they're out there, somewhere. We do meet one or two of them, though.
    • The Endless, Lucifer, and any other angel are said to be ten billion years old, the figure Neil Gaiman used as the age of the universe. Though information revealed later in the comic seems to contradict this somewhat: only Destiny is anywhere near the age of the universe, whereas the rest of them only came into existence when lifeforms complex enough to experience the concept they embody first evolved (then again, lifeforms that qualify include stars and eldritch abominations, pushing things much earlier than might be expected). The angels and other mythical beings exist in a strange Schroedinger-esque state of being as old as time itself and having only existed for as long as humans believed in them — or put another way, they were already ancient when they came into existence.
    • Thessaly, a human being (as opposed to cosmic spiritual entity) and powerful witch, sounds Neolithic when she describes her age in A Game of You.
    • Brief Lives starts one chapter with a rough count of the number of humans and human-like beings on Earth who remember mammoths, Atlantis (the first one), dinosaurs, and were around before the Earth formed. Then it follows a 15,000-year old lawyer on his way to work, until he's crushed by a pile of falling bricks.
    • Endless Nights shows all the Endless around and established when the Earth was still cooling and lifeless, and the green energy of the Guardians of Oa was just a budding research project. So, at least four billion years old.
    • When Dream has William Shakespeare and company put on an outdoor performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream at a hill called Wendel's Mound, Dream mentions that the mound was a theatre site before Shakespeare's race came to Britain.
      Shakespeare: "Before the Normans?"
      Dream: "Before the humans."
    • The Sandman: Overture introduces beings even older than The Endless: their parents Time (Chronos) and Night (Nyx).
  • Knuckles the Echidna and Chaos in Sonic the Comic were alive during the great war between the Echindnas and the Drakons which happened over eight thousand years ago.
  • Mammoth Mogul from Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) is an immortal, and at least twelve thousand years old.
  • Superman:
    • The one-shot Strange Visitor depicts a Superman in a universe where he started fighting crime in 1938 at street-level, but grew Stronger with Age. By 2013, he's stronger than his mainline counterpart and has barely aged... but he finds, as the story goes on, that he's truly The Ageless, and by the end of the story, he's literally survived to the heat-death of the universe. Even moreso, his power has grown to the point that he can hold back the heat-death of the universe, which he does so for billions of years, until the last life in the universe (the god Anu) dies. Even through all this, though, he still remembers to save a group of astronauts that were lost in time in 1939.
    • By the end of The Immortal Superman, Kal-El has lived over one million years of history.
    • In Superman vs. Shazam!, Karmang is way older than the Earth's first four-legged, air-breathing animals.
  • Transmetropolitan: The setting qualifies, simply because they don't know how old their civilization is. Oh, they have time travel technology, and they have fixed dates for historical events at around our present and beyond; they just don't know what date it is right now. At some point, the ridiculously advanced society simply lost track of what date it was; they currently tell time by counting the amount of years from the historical events of their own history.
  • Ultimate Fantastic Four:
    • Namor has been imprisoned for over 9000 years. The worst this did to him was to cause a bit of muscular atrophy, like astronauts suffer from.
    • Likewise the Super-Skrull, the oldest living Skrull, is over a billion years old.
  • Ananke in The Wicked + The Divine — she has been alive for well over 6,000 years, incarnating herself as a young girl (who ages into the "Crone" of the Mother-Maiden-Crone trinity) and using four gods' heads as a ritual to ensure this happens. With one exception (possibly two, if the 9th century Egypt is to be believed) she succeeds this for every 90-ish years... until 2015 when Laura found the true way to end Ananke's cycle, and then Valentine jumped off a building and took Minervananke with him, causing the end of the cycle.
  • X-Men villain Apocalypse was born in ancient Egypt and in various cartoons/comics boasts about things like how 20th/21st century superpowers/technology are no closer to besting him than Babylonian fire sticks were.

    Fan Works 
  • Alpha and Omega: Shinji is estimated to be 1.68 decillion years old (That's 33 zeroes. Or to put it another way, he's lived through roughly a billion billion universes). Near the end, Shinji realizes one of the Leviathans is even older than he is.
  • Antipodes: Tantalus, Celestia and Luna began life as the living embodiments of chaos, order and the void between them and predate the formation of the world. Rubidium was also alive during the fall of civilization, making him around ten thousand years old and the oldest living non-divine entity in the story.
  • Belonging, a Teen Titans fic, features Kishar, a female demon who, along with her friends, imprisoned Trigon in another dimension 200 million years ago. The friends made a Heroic Sacrifice, while she remained guarding the prison. In the end, she got bored and created humanity to have some company. Toward the end of the story, Kishar summons Death (to discuss the repercussions of a certain difficult choice made) and casually mentions it's been nearly a billion years since she last did that.
  • Child of the Storm:
    • Doctor Strange admits that, between his longevity and constant time travel, he doesn't remember how old he is. He stopped counting at 100,000, and roughly estimates he's about five times that. Adding to that, his constant time travel mean that he's woven through billions of years of history.
    • Thanos, by contrast, is not a time traveller and is so unbelievably old that per Word of God, "no one knows what Thanos was, let alone what he is now."
  • A Crown of Stars: Daniel, God-Emperor of Avalon, is 452,388 years old. His wife Rayana is slightly younger... ten or twenty thousand years younger.
    Asuka's brain was still refusing to process that number. He was 452,388 years old?! Stone tools weren’t that old! Fire wasn't that old!
  • A Diplomatic Visit: Chapter 2 of the sequel Diplomat at Large reveals that Chrysalis is quite literally the first changeling Queen (not the first of their race, but the first to undergo a metamorphosis into a Queen), over a millennia old.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: The Light Gods, and Dark Gods as categories have existed since "a time so long ago that even the continents of this planet did not yet have their present shape".
  • In ELOZE, when speaking to the Sand Goddess, she laughs at the prospect of Ganon destroying the world.
  • Haunted Mansion and the Hatbox Ghost: Spirits in the Mansionverse are functionally immortal; Ammit the Devourer (yes, that one) and the One-Eyed Black Cat, two demons of unknown origins, still remember the Egyptian gods of old, and it is theorized some of the bedsheet ghosts in the Mansion are millenia-old ghosts who have, by now, completely forgotten their mortal life, and may have been Neanderthals for all we know.
  • Examples from Shazam! fanfiction Here There Be Monsters:
    • Amentep and his wife Taia were born in Ancient Egypt over four millennia ago.
      When he stepped through the doorway into the living room again, he looked like a new man. His head was wrapped in a red turban with a yellow jewel at the forehead, and his body was clothed in a formal, black suit with a red opera-style cape hanging from his shoulders. In his hand was the golden wand with the oblong head that was centuries older than himself.
      And Amentep, like Taia, was over 4,000 years old.
    • Shazam — the wizard — was born eons ago. His power made the first super-hero and virtually immortal, until he asked for the gift of aging.
      Eons past, Shazam himself had wielded the power of the ancient gods, as a super-hero — the first such being on Earth. Then he had asked for the gift of aging, and been given it, though he aged at a much reduced rate compared to normal men.
  • Hope for the Heartless:
    • The Invisibles, creations and servants of the Fates themselves, are stated to have existed for a millennium.
    • Arawn, the Death Lord of Annuvin, who died several centuries ago, is revealed to have existed centuries (possibly millennia) before that through various means.
  • The Infinite Loops: Due to damage to the World Tree, every universe has been put into "safe mode," looping eternally. Each universe has an Anchor (who is Awake for every loop) and normal loopers (who vary on whether they're Awake or not). Loops tend to last at least a year or two minimum, depending on the universe, and it's not uncommon for variant loops to last millennia. Every looper therefore has an age somewhere between "practically infinite" to "about the same as the age of the planet they're standing on." On their first loop, new loopers are often horrified when other "young" loopers will describe something a few centuries ago as "recent." Looping children, in particular, have to deal with Not Allowed to Grow Up, meaning that with the exception of extreme variant loops they will always be treated as children by non-loopers even though they are orders of magnitude older and wiser.
  • My Little Pony:
    • Pony fanfiction in general likes to dwell on the princesses' staggering, incomprehensible age. Sometimes it's not pretty. Sometimes it just makes them willing to be a bit kooky because they have the perspective to know it'll all blow over in a few decades.
    • Austraeoh: Downplayed. While we're never given exact ages for the elder alicorns (namely Celestia and Luna), they predate life as we know it. And they only discovered the world. Whoever built it was probably even older. Whitemane and other lesser alicorn are also old, but note quite to that level of ancient.
    • Ἐλπίς ("Elpis", Greek for "hope"): Celestia is not just older than the universe — she is so incomprehensibly, unfathomably old that she has lived through the birth and death of countless universes. Every single time the universe comes to an end, she is forced to re-experience her memories of every single universe that had ever existed up to that point, and then is given a choice: to end the universe for good, or to "try again" and start the universe over from nothing. Every single time, she chooses to restart the universe, hoping that she can prevent The End of the World as We Know It this time. Over, and over, and over...
    • Eternal (MLP): Unicorns are immortal. Galaxy is the oldest, being older than time itself.
    • The God Empress of Ponykind: Princess Celestia mentions her true age is a bit upwards of four billion years old.
    • Merely a Mare: Princess Luna casually mentions that she and her sister Celestia are more than four hundred million years old. Pinkie Pie, being Pinkie Pie, wonders how she'll ever fit that many candles on her birthday cake.
    • The Moonstone Cup: Amarok the giant wolf is incredibly old — the oldest records describing him go back to the ponies' prehistoric period, making him comfortably older than Celestia and Luna and probably the oldest living being in the world.
    • The Pieces Lie Where They Fell: The Nightmare is old enough that it cannot even remember if it was male or female.
    • Pony POV Series:
      • The Concepts (such as Celestia, Luna, and Discord) are this if they didn't use to be a pony. Celestia reveals at one point she was present for the Big Bang, meaning she's at least 13 billion years old — and she's one of the younger Concepts. That also doesn't take into account the fact time doesn't exist as we know it in the spirit world and they are likely far older than that. If only her physical body is taken into account, she's still several thousand years old The Elders are even older, predating time itself. and have seen the birth and death of the universe several times. In fact, Fauna Luster is the birth of the universe and Entropy is its death.
      • Tirek and the Moochick are both so old that they predate ponies as a sapient species.
    • The Writing on the Wall: The "tomb" is seventy-one thousand years old, and by far the oldest structure ever discovered. It is so old that conventional dating methods fail and its age can only be determined accurately thanks to an astronomical calendar helpfully left inside by its builders. Of the many, many languages represented on the eponymous wall, only the newest one is even recognizable to the explorers, and even that language is so old they don't have the reference materials they need to translate it on hand.
  • A New Chance Series: Many of the older Legendary Pokemon have been around for millions of years. A century in a Soul Dew doesn't really bother Father Latios as much as missing out on raising his children. The infant Lugia encountered in the Whirl Islands is alone older than human history.
  • Nobledark Imperium: During a battle against the Tyranids, the Imperium managed to bring down a Hive Ship more or less intact and has spent the past few centuries studying it. When the technicians assigned to it were able to determine the thing's age — which they had to do using radioactive isotope dating of the kind normally used for rocks, as regular carbon dating doesn't work well for anything more than fifty thousand years old — they determined that the ship was around five million years in age. Not the Tyranid race, mind — just that one ship. The margin of error alone was larger than the history of human civilization.
  • Harry Potter, or at least a version of him, in On a Pale Horse is old enough that he uses the Earth's age as a unit of time, such as thinking he hadn't been a hero in "about four Earths worth of time".
  • Paris Burning has the personifications of some of the world's oldest cities, such as Jerusalem or Athens. Older still are the beings Cities consider to be the first of their kind, immortals of mysterious origin who reside in Africa and witnessed the birth of the first creatures we would recognize as human. And older, possibly, than them are the Things that sleep in the depths of the earth, one of which once said, "We do not feel pain because we existed before it."
  • In the Project Dark Jade Recursive Fanfic Her Shadowed Realm, due to absorbing the Dog and Horse Talismans, Jade has Complete Immortality, and has been trapped in the Shadow Realm so long that she was already ancient by the time Egypt started the Shadow games thousands of years ago!
  • Rainbow Brite and the War of Darkness notes that Rainbow Brite's lifetime has spanned millions of years, with no sign of slowing down anytime soon.
  • According to the prologue of The Sacred and the Profane the War in Heaven and the resulting mass falling is very difficult to describe in a way humans can understand because it happened before anything familiar about reality to mankind, even time itself, was invented by God. Thus, this places the ages of Caphriel and Zirah as probably over 14 billion.
  • The Eternal War of Sonic X: Dark Chaos has raged between the Angels and Demons for five hundred trillion years. Maledict and Allysion are even older than that; they helped create the entire universe several times over.
  • In Son of the Western Sea Percy admits that his baseline for "older than dirt" is anything before the time of the Titans, and only a few beings qualify. These include the Egyptian goddess Nekhbet and a mysterious lady who he met in Iran. Then in Australia he realises that the Rainbow Serpent (which just literally hit him out of a vision) is far, far older than both of them and what he was seeing had happened tens of thousands of years ago. And was still happening.
  • Cybertronians in Spark to Spark, Dust to Dust, like their canonical counterparts, are extremely long lived. Their war has been going on for possibly longer than the existence of Remnant itself. When the Autobots originally crash landed on Remnant, Optimus states that the moon was still whole, which was well before the God of Darkness' genocide of mankind.
  • There Was Once an Avenger From Krypton:
    • The Collector claims that he's been alive since the dawn of creation, which would make him several billion years old at the youngest.
    • Moonstone states that she stopped keeping track of how old she is after she turned 10,000. Pidge even states that she's older than human agriculture. This naturally applies to the Diamonds as well since they're all much older than she is and one of the normal colonization methods they use amounts to "wait until the planet's species goes extinct".
    • The Omnitrix is somewhere in the ballpark of 100,000 years or less, having been created at a time when the Celestials still roamed the universe and the Asgardians were still in their early warmongering days.
    • As in canon, the Kwamis. Pollen mentions that she, as one of the older Kwamis, was born when the stars were young, and that even before Tikki and Plagg (the former of whom was born at the same time the universe was if canon's lore still applies) there was an entity that all the Kwamis were once part of before that.
    • Vilgax claims that the Celestials — who are merged with the Ben 10 Celestialsapiens (Alien X's species) — actually made The Multiverse and everything in it, making them as a species the current record holders for "oldest beings in existence".
  • In Things We Don't Tell Humans, along with the canon Time Abyss Alpha Trion, Jetfire/Skyfire is also that old. It's heavily implied that he was the consort of one of the original Primes.
  • In Top Dog, the roots of wizardry come from an ancient, powerfully magical civilization that existed on Earth about seventy thousand years ago. They created a race of Voluntary Shapeshifters to serve as shock troops in war, and, predictably enough, were destroyed by them. Those shapeshifters later became the Amerai, and the clan heads are still almost all original created Amerai, rather than newer born.
  • The Originals of The Universiad have lived for twelve thousand years.
  • In The Weaver Option, Lelith Hesperax is revealed to just be the latest identity of a far older being. She was born Aenaria Eldanesh and is the last living Aeldari to have fought in the War in Heaven. This makes her likely the oldest mortal being in the galaxy, and potentially older than even the Chaos Gods.
  • Part of The Reveal in World Enough And Time is that both C.C. and V.V. are this, having existed before this current version of the world did. It's complicated to the point of Mind Screw in how it's presented and even C.C. isn't entirely certain how and why she's immortal as The Fog of Ages has muddled her memory.
  • The World is Filled with Monsters: It's not made clear how old it is, exactly, but Blightweaver is implied to be very old indeed. If its boasts are to be taken at face value, it was already around before ponies developed civilization or even sapience.

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The Antareans in Cocoon. The first base they built here on Earth? It was Atlantis.
    Walter: Every ten or eleven thousand years or so, I make a terrible mistake.
  • Glorious: Ghatanothoa has resided in the aether since the dawn of time. He acknowledges that he is a very old and very lonely god. He's very friendly though.
  • Godzilla:
    • Godzilla vs. Destoroyah: Godzilla's titular foe is mentioned to have originated during Precambrian times, and so old that they're actually anaerobic, implying that Destoroyah is more than two-billion years old.
    • Godzilla is suggested in the Godzilla (2014) prequel comic to have survived the Permian Extinction and shifted between dormancy and active hunting across 250 million years, appearing at various points throughout human history. The MUTOs eggs laid dormant in a massive skeleton for millions of years.
  • Ego, the Living Planet in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a being that predates all known accounts, originally starting as a giant brain then forming a planet around it. In that time he's created humanoid extensions of himself to travel the stars and meet other races and creatures, reproducing with many of them. Unfortunately all that time spent interacting with other creatures has left him with a tepid opinion of the universe and, seeing that no one out there can match his existence, he wants to destroy the universe and create anew.
  • Howling II: Stirba: Werewolf Bitch: Unlike other werewolves, Stirba can restore her youth. She is very nearly ten thousand years old. In the Russian dub, she predates humanity.
  • In Jupiter Ascending, the late Abrasax Matriarch was over 91 thousand years old when she died. Of the "younger" generation Kalique recently passed the 14 millennia mark and she's the middle child.
  • In The Last Witch Hunter, the Witch Queen claims to remember the times before mankind. Depending on which hominid you consider to be human already, her lifespan could be measured in millions of years.
  • John Oldman from The Man from Earth is just about fourteen thousand years old, according to his own count. However, The Fog of Ages set in a long time ago for him, and a lot of his own knowledge regarding his earliest memories has been pieced together from studying archaeology.
  • The nameless monster from No Such Thing, played by Robert John Burke, gives a speech about how he was there "When you were young", referring to life on Earth itself, in which he mentions that the period of time before we evolved into fish (i.e. the Precambrian era) was very boring for him.
  • The creature that possesses the body of Grant Grant in Slither claims to have been around for a billion years, which is likely considering that it travels from planet to planet via meteorite, a mode of transportation that takes tens of millions of years at minimum.
  • In Star Wars, Obi-Wan Kenobi tells Luke that the Jedi Knights have been "the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic" for "over a thousand generations." Expanded universe materials have generally taken this claim literally to mean that both the Republic and the Jedi Order have existed in some form for at least 25,000 years (though with various interludes in which the Sith took over all or part of the galaxy, or large swaths of the Republic fell out of touch with the whole).
    • Some of the species in this also qualify from a human's point of view, though not their own. Most notably, Yoda is 900 years old at the time of his death, which is normal for his species' lifespan. Somewhat less prolonged but still notable from a human point of view, Chewbacca is 200 years old and Jabba the Hutt 600 years old at the time of the movies.
  • Malekith and the Dark Elves from Thor: The Dark World, who have waited in hibernation for thousands of years since losing the war against the Asgardians. Their race has existed since before the universe, and Malekith seems to remember the time before the light.
  • In War of the Worlds (2005), the Tripods used to invade the Earth were buried underground at some point in the distant past. A character in the film speculates that they may have been planted before there were any human beings on the planet, but at a minimum they precede recorded history and the oral tradition of any society with surviving descendants. This gives them a minimum age in the tens of thousands of years.
  • The Djinn in Wishmaster uses the most extreme variation, noting that his kind is older than time itself, possibly unintentionally created by God, and stuck in the void between worlds.
  • Like in the comics, the title villain of X-Men: Apocalypse originates from Ancient Egypt (at least 6 thousand years!), only in the movie they imply he had been alive quite a while before it.
    I was there to spark and fan the flame of man's awakening... to spin the wheel of civilization...and when the forest grew too wide and required clearing for new growth, I was there to set it ablaze.
  • The very premise of Eternals is that they've been on Earth since the early beginnings of civilization, 7000 years ago. Later in the movie we find out that they have had these missions before and with the exception of Ajak have been getting their minds wiped, so they've all existed for millions of years.

  • This music video of Barber's Adagio for Strings uses this trope by focusing on a tree while human buildings fade in and out around it.
  • "Farewell..." by Dreamtale.
  • GWAR brings this up from time time, stating to have been alive since the beginning of time after the creation of the universe by the Master, being banished to Earth for 65 million years ago by the Master, wiping out the dinosaurs, inventing music, creating the human race from prehistoric animals, wreaking havoc on human civilizations, and being Frozen in Time for thousands of years by the Master until the 1980s.
  • Time Forgotten One by vocaloid KAITO. It takes a bit of thinking to realize he's just a statue
  • A concept album The Elders by KISS introduces the titular Council of Elders with "When the Earth was young, they were already old..."
  • Nautilus Pompilius: In the song "Polina's Morning", Polina's morning lasts a hundred billion years.
  • Most likely Universe Man from the They Might Be Giants song "Particle Man" represents this trope seeing as he has a watch with a minute hand, millennium hand and an eon hand.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • According to most major monotheistic religions in the world today, God is not technically one of these, because age is a foreign concept; time can only be an abyss to those that are bound by it. God wasn't created or born like humans are, He didn't have a beginning, He IS the beginning, everything is here because of Him therefore making Him the abyss rather than time. Titles like Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the one who was (existed since the beginning), who is (presently is), and who is yet to come (always will exist), the Great I Am are richly deserved.
    • According to some philosophers, time itself is meaningless to God. He created time, and existed before...He existed when...well, explaining it is hard, though in one analogy God is like the author of a book. At what point does an author exist in his book's — his universe's — internal timeline? He can turn to the first page, or to the last page. He can write scenes out of order, go back and forth, and generally follow no continuity or causality.
      "With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day."
      — 2 Peter 3:8, NIV translation
    • Enoch, father of the more famous Methuselah, is sometimes argued to have lived the longest out of all humans named in the Bible. This is because he is mentioned to have been "taken by God" and to "not see death", which is interpreted to mean he never actually died and was carried to Heaven while still alive. Given common Biblical timelines, that would make him around 5,000 years old.
    • A similar argument is sometimes made for Elijah as well, although since he only lived around 900 BC he hasn't quite reached this trope yet.
  • In Hindu Mythology, reality and everything within it lasts as long as the lifetime of Brahma the creator. Brahma will live to be a hundred years old, except that a single day in his life is over four billion human years.
    • Assuming he lived even so much as a hundred days, Brahma would have by then lived for over 400 billion years. To put that in perspective, it's currently believed that the universe is roughly 13.8 billion years old. If we get into years, the number goes into astronomical proportions longer than the predicated life span of the universe. Entire universes could die and be reborn many times over before Brahma ever even reached "middle age", such concepts as "time" and "space" might very well collapse and become meaningless terms as the wear and tear of the eons goes on.
      • The Shiva Purana states that Vishnu ages one day in the time that it takes Brahma to grow old and die, and that Shiva, in turn, ages one day in the time that it takes Vishnu to grow old and die.
  • Depending on religion and whether any given denomination thereof believes in and/or counts the afterlife, a person's spirit may live as long as the respective deity would, given a belief in a spirit's eternal qualities.
  • Father Time is literally as old as time he's actually time.
  • The Jade Emperor of Chinese Mythology didn't ascend to the throne until he was nearly 227 million years old.

  • Nicholas Parsons is regularly claimed to be as old as time by panelists on Just a Minute and other BBC Radio 4 programmes. On The Unbelievable Truth, someone claimed that there could be a parrot that was older than him, to which David Mitchell replied "Nicholas Parsons has always...been."

  • Fesxis from Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues has lived for so long that she's possessed hundreds of bodies, and been everything from a destroyer to a saviour. This has shaped her philosophy, leading her to develop a personal Code of Honour rather than act aimlessly like she's done for so long.

  • Tren Krom, the resident Eldritch Abomination in BIONICLE, acts this way, what with his "I watched your universe be born" and all. Fridge Logic then kicks in, however, as even though Tren Krom is the oldest being in the Matoran Universe, that universe is actually a giant space-traveling robot, constructed many, many millennia ago. Its creators are still alive and has been waiting for its return, which makes them much older than Tren Krom. This goes for many other inhabitants both inside and outside the Matoran Universe as well: They are truly ancient by our standards, but their own feeling of age varies vastly. Of course, that means that he's only 100,000+ years old.
  • Draculaura, the Genki Girl Vegetarian Vampire from Monster High, reveals in her second diary that her "father" is not only not the Dracula we know,note  but also was already an ancient vampire "by the time togas were first becoming fashionable." Pretty eerie and ominous stuff for a doll line rated ages 6+.

  • Sarda (and to a lesser extent, Lich), in 8-Bit Theater. Sarda was present at the birth of the universe, and due to the presence of White Mage was forced to wait several billion years for planetary formation to give him a reasonably pleasant place to live. By the time of the comic, he is quite mad (in every sense of the word). Lich notes at one point the shortsightedness of living races by the fact that they "build [their] cities right where glaciers will come screaming through in 200,000 years".
  • In Bird Boy, Bali stumbles on evidence of long, long, long ago. Mythic time, in fact.
  • In the Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire universe, it's said that the Winslow has existed since the Big Bang, and will continue to exist long after the universe ends. It's also said that there are other objects like the Winslow, leftovers from previous universes that have somehow become eternal and indestructible. The Winslow is special by being the only sentient one, however.
  • Several members of the cast of Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures: Even though most Cubi "only" live about three thousand years, clan leaders live much longer, with Cyra the youngest at about 7,000, Fa'lina 9,288, and the oldest about 75,000. The Fae and Dragons are even older, with a (now-deleted) secret cast page putting Mab at over 400,000 and the Dragon exemplar from the Demonology page listed as over 57,000 and said to be "fairly young." To many of these people, Being civilization seems like something of an ephemeral fad. Fa'lina, in particular, seems completely unchanged since a sidestory set in the seventeenth century, in contrast to the much younger Kria, Aaryanna, and Abel; even Mink, whose age is unknown, seems to have become obsessed with 20th-century technology in the interim.
  • Immortals in El Goonish Shive are only sort of this. Despite the name, they actually have to periodically reset which is a form of death. To be done right, it takes preparation. They gather their power and prepare their memories for their next incarnation. The memories are more in the form of a diary the previous incarnation leaves, so there's no emotional connection to them. They are inexperienced with their powers. They are bound by promises their previous incarnation made, however. If an Immortal fails to prepare properly, they may lack information and power.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court: It is eventually revealed that Jones, a.k.a. Wandering Eye, has existed, immortal, indestructible, unchanging, and mostly alone, for more than 4.5 billion years. She has wandered the Earth ever since its creation. She claims that she isn't even alive, and even she doesn't know what she is. Annie's reaction to this revelation is appropriate, all things considered. It also puts a lot more weight on something she said earlier in the comic:
    Jones: I've never seen something like this before.
    Headmaster Llanwellyn: Coming from you, that disturbs me greatly.
  • Homestuck
    • The First Guardians are described as "nearly as old as their [respective] planets". Becquerel, Jade's pet Guardian, arrived on Earth from a meteor in the Devonian period, 413 million years ago.
      (From Homestuck Book Two) Long enough ago that a bunch of ocean used to not be there. Oh, and dinosaurs? They hadn't even been BORN yet.
    • Lord English, who exists outside of time and has lived through every universe, ever.
    • Age of ghosts, who exist in the Furthest Ring, can be very difficult to judge, since time as a concept doesn't make a lot of sense out there, and is completely disconnected from the timeline of any individual universe. In any case, Aranea has been dead for so long time has lost meaning to her.
  • Anything having to do with the dragon or Nemesite civilizations in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!.
    Princess Voluptua: "I'm heir to the throne of an empire that has owned your world since your antecedents were fish."
  • Cthulhu in Irregular Webcomic!, since he's been sent back to the beginning of time and forced to sit through the first 15 billion years of the universe's development twice.
  • In It Hurts!!, Pasqualo ends up as this, traveling through space from present-day until the heat death of the universe.
  • Kill Six Billion Demons:
    • 2 Michael casually says he guarded Throne for "thirty kalpa" before humans arrived (which itself was millennia ago). A kalpa is a real unit of measurement, and going by Hindu estimations, thirty kalpa is 130 billion years. No wonder he is completely unconcerned with human lives.
    • All the angels are technically almost as old as Creation, though most have died (and ressurected) multiple times since then and all but forgotten their first lives as a result (angels lose about 90% of their memories when they die). Then there is the Metatron, who hasn't died even once and therefore has lived all those thirty Kalpa, plus whatever time before Michael's first death, uninterrupted.
    • Most of the Seven are 'merely' a millennia or two old (most having been born during The Universal War), but Gog-Agog is canonically a lot older than that and (if All There in the Manual is to be trusted) had already assimilated her entire homeworld centuries before The Second Conquest began and exposed her homeworld to The Multiverse, making her at least ten thousand years old (still a baby by angel standards).
  • When they first appeared in Mindmistress, the Sisters of Twilight were witnessing the birth of the Elder Gods. And they were already really old in those days.
  • The characters of Nebula are at least four or five billion years old at the time the comic takes place, what with being sentient planets; for a hint of how big a timescale they're working with, the age gap between them and Sun is around a hundred million years or so, and he's considered to be barely older than them.
  • In The Order of the Stick, the gods and the Snarl are extremely old, but it isn't until a major reveal in Book 6 that we find out that they are much, much older than anyone realized. A sealed-off astral graveyard contains gravestones marking all the worlds that the gods have created and were subsequently destroyed by the Snarl. Even the first worlds lasted several years, and the gods have only been improving their craft with each iteration. And the gravestones are still numerous enough to blot out the sky. Thor implies that the true number of worlds they have made is an amount so large as to be incomprehensible to mortals.
    Thor: "Well, it's like my Dad says: We gods may have a lot of bad qualities, but we sure ain't quitters."
  • In The Sanity Circus, both the Scarecrows and the Instrumen appear like young adults. Posey Morris, a Scarecrow, looks like a sweet young girl. Regardless, when she gets into a fight with Luther the cello, he cheerfully says 'Oh well! Let's not bring up centuries-old grudges.'
  • Schlock Mercenary:
    • The Bradicor tend to be... rather long lived.
      Fobottr Tenant: Are you claiming that your people have been on the surface for over ten million years?
      Rod: Oh, my people have been down there for much longer than that. No, I was just talking about me, personally.
    • One member of the race, while talking to a human, notes that he's having some trouble understanding their perspective on mortality (in particular, celebrating the death of an enemy) because he is personally so old that just the 1% margin of error when converting his age between the two calendars is older than humanity as a species.
    • It was said that Carbosilicate Amorphs, the species of the titular Schlock, are naturally evolved from the incredibly durable data storage mediums the Bradicor store their brains in. This means that Schlock and his kin are effectively immortal, and gives you an idea of just how long the Bradicor have been around.
    • Eina-Afa, or "Synthetic Wind", is the mind of a space station with enough open air inside to house planets. After spending a few million years alone, she renamed herself T'kkkuts-Afa ("Broken Wind") and created storms in her otherwise paradisiacal sky in order to create evolutionary pressure for intelligent life to develop. Yes, she's old (and lonely) enough that she was willing to wait for animals to achieve sentience just so she would have someone to talk to.
    • There's also the derilict ship from the same civilization that built Eina-Afa and was used to track down her location. Its age is described as, "Micrometeor pocking, interstellar medium accretion, and vacuum-welding suggest a drift period of indeterminate length between 'this can't be right' and 'we now doubt whether these techniques are accurate.'"
  • Sonic the Comic – Online! has Tikal The Echidna who was sealed with Chaos, Vichama the God of Death and the reason Knuckles The Echidna is immortal as well as a weapon by the Drakon Empire called Shadow The Hedgehog and the advanced Guardian Robot called the Gizoid.
  • No matter how far you go back in the Talse Uzer Stories, the Tower from Tower of God was always there. Allegedlynote , it has been stated that it was conquered and civilized 5000 years ago, though. Word of God here gives the number of several tens of thousands of years — and Jahad and several others who were with him are still alive since those times.
  • Unsounded: According to scripture, the Senet Beasts were created directly by the Gods in the legendary First World, whereas humans arose in the Second World through guided evolution. As such, they're literally older than Time, although The Fog of Ages has obscured almost all the details.
  • Jin of Wapsi Square seems to qualify. Not only does she predate most of Earth's known civilizations, but she has lived even longer than it seems due to a "Groundhog Day" Loop. The 1450 years before 2012 have repeated 56 times, and she is the only one that remembers. It is starting to get to her.
    • The Demons qualify and then some. They travel from mortal host to mortal host, moving to others when individuals die, civilizations die, species die, universes die, and new ones arise. They are literally trillions of years old. They're so static that the ability to change- even to gain a lifespan- is considered a holy grail for many of them.
  • In Girl Genius Queen Albia of England is apparently older than the English Channel. Since the main story takes place in the late 1800s and the channel is believed to have formed around 6500BC that would make her well over 8 millenia old.

    Web Original 
  • Beyond the Impossible: The Drylon. Since they've disappeared five billion years ago, everything they've built is at least older than Earth including the Nexus inside Noriko's head. The gods are also incredibly long-lived: Vesta is a million years old, Hekate is a hundred times older, and Gaea was around at the formation of Earth.
  • Bosun's Journal: By the time of the later entries, the Bosun AI has been alive, active and aware for well over a hundred and thirty million years, and has kept careful watch over the rise and fall of entire species and ecosystems. In the Distant Finale, he is nearly six billion years old, has witnessed the larger part of Terragen life's existence, and has lived to see the fusion of the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies; some of the custodians living on the ship with him are nearly as old.
  • Chuck Norris Facts: When God said "Let there be light", Chuck Norris said "Say please".
  • Dreamscape: In her "The Reason You Suck" Speech Keedran gives to Melissa in 'Confronting the Dark', she reveals she's dealt with the judgment of humanity for thousands of lifetimes.
    • Megalania has been alive for millions of years. Megalanias are a prehistoric species, after all.
  • DSBT InsaniT: Killer Monster is over 10,000 years old.
  • By the end of Fine Structure, Anne Poole has lived for over 20,000 years. Mitch technically gets that far as well, through tricks like Brain Uploading and Body Surfing, but Anne takes The Slow Path and experiences the entire time — including over a century spent buried alive.
  • Cro-Marmot from Happy Tree Friends is over 1,000,000 years old. Justified, since he is frozen in a block of ice.
  • After Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden, they sublet an apartment from Frank Lautenberg before finding a place of their own, according to his Jew Or Not Jew profile.
  • Red vs. Blue: The Shisno Paradox introduces the Cosmic Powers, who are (essentially) gods that have been in existence since the beginning of time. Their creator, the Titan Chrovos is even older than them thanks to a Stable Time Loop making them at least twice as old as the current universe.
    • Furthermore, after Red vs. Blue: Singularity, due to them being sucked into black holes and getting spat out at the beginning of the universe, both Lopez and Huggins are technically several eons old. It's downplayed with Huggins, though, since as an sentient light beam, she can travel near the speed of light so time doesn't effect her like it does other lifeforms.
  • On the online speculative evolution project A Scientific Fantasy, the dinosauroids (species normally don't count, but since the whole species is also a civilization, it counts) fired a laser to blow up the asteroid that caused the K-T extinction and had already been around for 10 million years.
  • Invoked by youtuber Spumwack with his Universe Death Clock, a device built entirely in Minecraft that is expected to run for the next Googolnote  years, long after the universe has ended. Not the game's universe, but our universe.
  • Whateley Universe
    • One of the Mystic Arts teachers at Whateley Academy is Circe, and it has been confirmed that she is the same Circe one who transformed Odysseus' crew into pigs. She is by no means alone, nor is she the oldest around: early in the Gen 1 stories, she recognizes the New Olympians as being the same Greco-Roman Gods whom she was raised to worship, stuffed into mortal frames after escaping from being imprisoned by a mysterious being known as The Foreigner.
    • Aunghadhail is a Sidhe queen so old she remembers the Earth before humans populated it. She and her family may have created the dinosaurs.
    • In the latest Tennyo story, we learn the Star Stalker is eight billion years old and was constructed by one of the first civilizations in the universe.
  • Stripetail, Mertavius, and Tarrax from Insane Café are anywhere from millenia to millions of years old.
  • The Onion's fictional editor-in-chief, T. Herman Zweibel, is somehow still alive at 140 years and counting, despite the innumerable ailments he suffers from. He's also an example of Evil Old Folks to rival even Mr. Burns, apparently having caused several major world events directly or indirectly and generally thinks of everyone else in the world as being beneath him.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time:
    • Strongly implied to be the case for The Lich. While already known to date back to the Mushroom War a thousand years ago, the events of "Evergreen" heavily imply he was the comet that wiped out the dinosaurs, which would make him at least 65 million years old. "Gold Stars" implies he's either older than the physical universe, or at least old enough to have learned what was there before the universe came to be.
      The Lich: Before there was time... before there was anything... there was nothing. And before there was nothing... there were monsters."
    • The same episode shows that Ice King's crown was created during the Late Cretaceous Period and the first person to ever wear it was an uplifted dinosaur. A later episode shows that the memories of anyone who wears the crown are stored and remain alive within it, making most of them millennia old (one of them appears to be Santa Claus, or specifically "the first Santa").
    • Later we meet Orgalorg, one of the monsters that the Lich spoke of, and who is better known to viewers as the penguin Gunther. He apparently managed to survive the creation of our Universe, then terrorized and destroyed entire planets before the King of Mars ordered Glob to defeat Orgalorg. Orgalorg was defeated and landed on Earth, where he has been living as an Amnesiac God since prehistoric times. (A series of flashbacks he has when he begins to remember his true nature includes a shot of him fending off what seems like a saber tooth tiger, then later participating in Egyptian, Ancient Greek, and Roman societies.)
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball, Miss Simian has apparently been teaching since the Stone Age, and is at least 2 million years old. Her father's skeleton is on display in a natural history museum.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • The Avatar Spirit. It's the spirit of the Earth, after all, so it existed even before it started manifesting itself as Avatars. The Legend Of Korra reveals that the Avatar Spirit is actually Raava, the spirit of light and cosmic order. Given she is Vaatu's (see below) counterpart, she's almost certainly just as old.
    • Vaatu, the spirit of darkness and chaos, claimed to have lived 10,000 lifetimes before humans appeared. Since each Harmonic Convergence counts as a lifetime and each one is 10,000 years apart, he was at least 100,000,000 years old when humans first showed up.
    • Tui and La, the Moon and Ocean spirits, crossed to the mortal realm "very near the beginning" according to Koh, who is himself an example, as he's the only spirit old enough to remember it. The sequel graphic novel The Search has the Gaang meet Koh's mother, the so-called Mother of Faces — the spirit who first gave humans the concept of identity.
    • The Lion Turtle. It's All There in the Manual that he and his species are as old as the earth itself, and therefore, as old as the Avatar Spirit. Unfortunately, he's the Last of His Kind.
  • Beetlejuice: In "Ship of Ghouls", the ghost pirate Jean LeFoot and his crew of the Flying Dutchman have been trapped inside the Bermuda Shorts Triangle for two eternities.
  • While Professor Paradox of Ben 10: Alien Force is a time traveler, he's also countless billionsnote  of years old, independent of time travel. When time travel is taken into account, Paradox has most likely existed forever, despite originally being an ordinary human.
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers: If Zarm's words from "Summit to Save Earth, Part 2" are to be believed, Gaia is about the Earth's age... or older.
    Linka: What have you done to Gaia?!
    Zarm: Gaia is simply starting to show her true age. (mockingly:) What is it, Gaia? Five, six billion years old?
    • Considering that a century-long sleep is "a little nap" for her, he might have told the truth, though.
  • The German short film Das Rad (The Wheel) focuses on the lives of two anthropomorphic stone heaps. They witness the (exponential) rise of mankind and its sudden fall. In ten minutes.
  • Played for laughs in Earthworm Jim. Evil the Cat claims he "existed before the dawn of time and will continue to exist past its end!" Jim and Peter escape from him as he tries to explain the logic.
  • Cosmo and Wanda from The Fairly OddParents! have been married for nearly 10,000 years and physically seem to be in their 30s. Cosmo's mother is still alive and well and doesn't appear to be past middle age.
  • Futurama:
    • The Nibblonians were already seventeen years old by the time of the Big Bang, while their nemeses, the Brainspawn, came to existence a few milliseconds after it.
      "In the time it would take to pronounce one letter of my true name, a trillion cosmoses would flare into existence and sink into eternal night."
    • Bender became this in "Bender's Big Score." The scammer aliens, after brainwashing him, got him to go back in time to steal them every valuable item in history. Keep in mind that the time travel he's using is one-way, Bender is searching for them one at a time, and is perfectly happy waiting it out with previous versions of himself. It's unclear how much time it took for him, but given the hundreds of Benders we see at the end, his minimum age would be a million years. And given the What If? Holiday special showed he could last half a billion years, Bender's life has just begun.
      • Bender already made a step toward becoming this in "Roswell That Ends Well". The Planet Express crew travels back to 1947, and as they return to the 31st century, Bender's head falls out the ship, being buried for a thousand years. When asked what it was like to be nothing but a head completely alone for more than 1000 years, Bender's response is simply beautiful:
      Bender: I was enjoying it until you guys showed up!
    • Yivo from "The Beast with a Billion Backs". For a trillion years, shkle was satisfied with shkler life as the lone being of another universe, but when shkle looked across immensity, shkle saw the Big Bang and said, "Whoa. Who's that?".
  • Bill Cipher from Gravity Falls claims in "Weirdmageddon" to have been trapped in the Nightmare Realm for one trillion years. At the very least, it would make him more than seventy times older than our universe, which is about 14 billion years old.
  • The ending of It's Such a Beautiful Day has the main character, Bill, outlive the Universe itself. This could all very well have been a delusion, but it's never made clear.
  • The Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness episode "A Stitch In Time" introduced The Shuyong Tree. A sentient tree that existed before time began and will continue to exist after it ends.
  • In Miraculous Ladybug, the Kwamis are known to be centuries old, having empowered similar heroes in past eras. Tikki casually mentions having been around longer than Marinette's ancient Egyptian predecessor, having been around "since the beginning." We don't really come to get what that means until two moments in season two: In "Sandboy," there's a day on which the other Kwamis can try to contact Nooroo: the Kwami version of a birthday. His 3500th cycle is coming, and a cycle is "several hundred" years. If we say that's 300 (as that's the lowest number a person would likely call "several" hundred) that it'd put him at 1,050,000 years old, at least. We learn that they very much are intended to be that old and more in "Style Queen" when the end of the dinosaurs is revealed to have been Plagg's fault. A tie-in comic explains that the Kwamis each came into being at the same time as the concept they are the Anthropomorphic Personification of, making them unimaginably ancient. Tikki, as the Kwami of creation, is the oldest of them, 'born' alongside the universe itself.
  • My Little Pony:
    • My Little Pony 'n Friends: Squirk is very, very old — exactly how old is a touch unclear, as Pluma changes estimates on how long ago he ruled a couple of times before settling on "a very long time", but he's been around for at least a couple thousand years and can afford to wait centuries for his plans to come to fruition as his enemies age into decrepitude because he has all the time he needs to see them through.
    • My Little Pony (G3): Spike claims that, being over a thousand years old, he's still "young" for a dragon, and that his pony friends should wait until he's at least a million years old before they start calling him "old". This was immediately after waking up from a thousand year nap.
    • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
      • Discord was sealed in stone more than a thousand years ago, and offhandedly mentions being around for several "eons". As the Anthropomorphic Personification of chaos and disharmony, he could be as old as the universe itself.
      • Princess Celestia and Princess Luna are both somewhere over one thousand one hundred years of age — exact dates aren't given, but in "Horse Play" it's stated that the first time Celestia raised the sun was one thousand, one hundred and eleven years ago exactly. While she herself is likely older than that, the fact that raising the sun is her special talent and that ponies discover these around puberty implies that she is not much older than that figure. With season premiere-class threats, Celestia is usually telling the protagonists about what was going on because it was so long ago that history books contain nothing on it. Every detail of history and magic that was ever written, Twilight knows. Every detail that was never written, totally unknown or thought of as only legend, the princesses alone can explain because they were there.
      • Dragons in general have extremely long life expectancies, enough so that century-long hibernations qualify as naps for them. Torch, the Dragon Lord at the start of the series, is older than even Celestia and Luna: in "Campfire Tales", which describes events that took place when Equestria was new and the Princesses were fillies, he's portrayed as already being a massive, fully grown adult dragon.
      • Grogar, the final season's Arc Villain, is so ancient that Tirek, himself implied to be thousands of years old, thought he was a myth.
  • Used for laughs in The Simpsons with Mr. Burns, who reveals his birthplace to be Pangaea.note  Of course, this is just another example of the show's Negative Continuity.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM): Beyond crystallizing its residents if they try to return to Mobius, this is the primary effect of the Void. Naugus has spent years inside of the Void and hasn't aged a day, whereas while we see adult characters like Robotnik and Snively naturally age, King Acorn maintains his early adulthood youth inside the Void.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Force-wielders/Ones have been living in isolation for so long that the newest Jedi distress code they knew had not been used for over two millennia, and there's little doubt they're way older than that. Star Wars Legends put their ages to well over a hundred thousand years.
  • In Steven Universe, the youngest of the (non-hybrid) Crystal Gems is at least six thousand years old, and the others are old enough to consider that young. They casually mention things that happened centuries ago, and one of the Gems mentioned that she could remember when humans were still hunter-gatherers.
  • General Immortus of Teen Titans was a highly skilled military general — who had been around for nearly every single battle in recorded history. At one point he quotes Sun Tzu, then mentions that he was an excellent pupil. He's described as knowing every tactic used in every battle in every war in history because he was there personally. (His comic counterpart is "merely" pushing a thousand.)
  • Most incarnations of The Transformers count, since Transformers tend to have lifespans that are millions of years long, but Kup from The Transformers cartoon is probably the best example. He's been fighting wars for somewhere around 9-12 million years and has Seen It All. Except for Unicron, he's never seen anything like that before.
  • Uncle Grandpa: A one-off joke in "Jorts" reveals that Mr. Gus is at least 1.993 billion years old. Uncle Grandpa later mentions being the oldest person in the RV so he's even older than Mr. Gus.
  • Qilby of Wakfu, being one of the original Eliatropes, has gone through an endless cycle of death and rebirth. But unlike the others, he and his dragon twin Shinonome also retain the memories of all their past lives, from their original birth from their Dofus to their first deaths and then the time they spent within their Dofus awaiting their next incarnation. The cycle has been going hundreds of thousands of years at minimum, and could very well stretch into the millions or even billions of years. His current incarnation alone is over 10,000 years old. So it any surprise he's so insane, uncaring, and flat-out sick of it?
  • In the first season finale of Young Justice, Vandal Savage begins his Motive Rant with a casual reference to having lived for over fifty thousand years — and in all that time, nothing disturbed him more than the foundation of the Justice League.

    Real Life 
  • Living things:
    • In a way, life itself is a time abyss. The cells we are made of were split off from our parents' cells, and their cells came from their parents, and so on and so forth, back to the formation of life, 3.8 billion years ago. Gene sequences exist in every one of our cells that have remained unchanged since the earliest common ancestor to all life. The purest example of this is the common amoeba, which splits itself to reproduce rather than dying of old age. It changes over time, and obviously is composed of different individual molecules, but in a very real sense that first amoeba is still alive and wriggling two billion-odd years later. A new branch of SETI, Biological SETI, is currently examining our DNA for traces of messages left for us by aliens, on the assumption that, with its ability to self-replicate and self-repair, DNA is the only substance on which a message could be transcribed that could be preserved for millions, even billions, of years.
    • The oldest known living thing on Earth is a single, giant patch of ''Posidonia Oceanic'' seagrass in the Mediterranean Sea. Studies show that it is most likely at least 100,000 years old.
    • Many species of plants and microorganisms have extremely long or unlimited lifespans; possibly the most famous example is the bristlecone pine tree, individual specimens of which are presently alive in spite of having sprouted nearly five millennia ago. One of them was found to be 4,844 years old when cut down in 1964. (John Muir once commented that a shorter-lived Sequoia tree was "already centuries old when Jesus walked the Earth.") There are also some trees that live in clonal colonies; the stems are continually renewed while the root system endures. One such colony of Quaking Aspens has roots that are at least 80,000 years old.note 
    • The immortal jellyfish is another example, using a kind of reverse aging. Hydras have a similar mechanism.
    • The oldest known non-clonal organism is a bristlecone pine which was dendrochronologically dated in 2013 to be 5,067 years old. To put that into perspective, this tree was already about 494 years old when construction of the pyramids of Giza began.
  • Our very Earth. It is around 4.54 billion years old, a number that seems meaningless until you realize that Homo sapiens appeared no earlier than 200,000 years ago, while history was first recorded 5,000 years ago. As mentioned in You Cannot Grasp the True Form, if you condense the age of the Earth into 24 hours, the entire human history can be summed up in 10 miliseconds.
  • The objective of the Clock of the Long Now, a clock that when finished is intended to last for 10,000 years keeping (nearly) perfect time.
  • Many of the stone circles in Britain fit this trope, being almost/over five thousand years old.
  • Ancient Egypt: Egyptian history from the earliest extensive records in the 31st century BC to the Macedonian Conquest in 332 BCE spans 2700 years. Consider this: To Jesus or Julius Caesar, the first Pharaohs were 1000 years more ancient than either of them is to us; to the builders of the Pantheon in Rome, the Great Pyramid was older than the Pantheon is to the designers of today's skyscrapers. Even the third of the Ancient Egyptian "golden ages" of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Dynasties was as far removed from them as the Early Middle Ages are to us—the world of Ramses II was as far back for Augustus as Charlemagne is to Barack Obama. And everyone's favorite Pharaoh, Cleopatra VII lived closer to the Moon Landing than the building of the Pyramids! Almost any trope recorded in Ancient Egypt is therefore by definition Older Than Dirt.
    • To clarify: the Pyramid of Giza was constructed in ~2560 BCE, while the Pantheon was constructed in 125 CE (2685 years later)note . Meanwhile, the earliest pharaoh with verified historical evidences was a guy called Iry-Hor, who lived in the 32nd century BCE. That's three millennia older than Julius Caesar, who was born in 100 BCE. And Iry-Hor was certainly ancient by the time Ramses II was born 1800 years later (the late 14th century BCE), who in turn was medieval by the time Augustus was born 1200 years later (27 BCE). Finally, Cleopatra VII was born in 69 BCE, meaning she was 2491 years younger than the Giza pyramid and 2038 years older than the Apollo 11 mission.
    • When the Pyramid of Giza was completed, mammoths still existed on Earth (specifically, in Wrangel Island, a remote Arctic island currently part of Russia). In fact, they wouldn't go extinct until around 2000 BCE, a whopping five centuries later.note 
    • To make things even more astounding, consider Kushim, thought to be the oldest example of a named person in writing (though there is some debate over whether this refers to an individual person, their title as an officeholder, or to an institution.) The name was recorded during the Uruk period, between 500-1000 years before the construction of the Great Pyramid. The kicker is, Kushim does not appear to be a king or ruler, but - assuming it refers to an individual - of all things, a barley trader.
  • If anything human-built counts, some sites (including a few cities surviving to the present day) in the Middle East are leading contenders.
    • Göbekli Tepe is a pre-Neolithic religious complex in Turkey that dates from roughly 9600 BCE and was built by people who had not yet developed metal tools, pottery, the wheel, or agriculture. It is believed that the location's use as a religious centre goes even further back; all the way to 11,000 BCE.
    • The city of Jericho is also a pre-Neolithic settlement first inhabited around 10,000 BCE, and inhabitednote  for all 12,000 years. To give an idea, the ice age ended around 10,000 years ago.
    • Damascus was first settled at least 8000 — possibly even 11,000 — years ago during early Neolithic times, and has been in continuous use ever since. It is older than any modern or ancient civilization. Mark Twain referred to it as "a form of immortality."
  • Speaking of remains made by human beings, the hand axes found in Olduvai, a region in Tanzania, date back 1.8 million years. That is incomprehensible. Not to mention possibly the oldest use of fire by human beings dates back to 1 million years, in a place in South Africa. Note however this isn't Homo sapiens, this is Homo erectus or Homo ergaster, an early human species.
  • Ötzi the Iceman could be considered to qualify as this trope, assuming that a dead person can qualify at all. The oldest mostly intact human body ever discovered, he lived and died over five thousand years ago, with the entirety of recorded history, plus a chunk of pre-history, having passed since then. When the first stone was laid for the first pyramid in Giza Ötzi had already been under the ice for about a millennium. When the first pharaoh unified Upper and Lower Egypt, he had already been dead for several centuries!
  • A show about the simple disappearance of all humans predicted that the last traces of human existence would be the man-made objects on the moon (lunar landers, US flag, etc.). Unless some outside force or object intervenes, they would remain on the moon forever. And the only human whose name will be left there (well, on the plaque on the Moon, anyway) is Richard Nixon. There's something ironic there.
    • Take comfort, this show was wrong: Nixon's name and other Artifacts on the moon and will be destroyed (barring intervention) when the sun enters its red giant phase in ~4 billion years. Meanwhile, interstellar artifacts like the Voyager, Pioneer, and New Horizons space probes will almost certainly still be out there cruising between the stars for many billions of years beyond that.
    • It was also predicted that if humans disappeared from Earth today, Mount Rushmore would still be intact millions of years later (though many features, especially noses, would've eroded away by then), waiting to be seen by the next intelligent species to evolve.
  • The non-fiction history book Human Accomplishment by Charles Murray starts with a chapter intended to evoke the Time Abyss, by tracing back human society in 400-year chunks.
  • While 32-bit Unix systems will run into serious trouble in the year 2038, users of 64-bit ones will not have to worry about that issue until the year 292,277,026,596.
  • Jupiter, the oldest of the planets, will likely stick with the Sun long into its future, as it exists in an orbit that will be well out of the Sun's way when it turns into a Red Giant, although it will become rather toasty for as long as the Sun stays in that phase. Even after the Sun turns into a white dwarf, assuming that a passing star doesn't come by and steal Jupiter from its orbit, the King of the Planets, and by extension, the other gas giants, will be here to stay for the many billions of years the Sun will spend in its quiet post-lifenote .
  • On the same subject, PSR B1620-26 b, aka Methuselah is an exoplanet roughly 2.5 times the size of Jupiter, which is believed to have outlived its original star. It's currently in orbit of a binary system consisting of a Neutron star and a white dwarf, the later believed to have once been a sun-like star and the planet's original host before both was captured by the Neutron star ages ago, said neutron star also preventing the other star from going supernova and destroying the planet when it died. While the actual age of the planet is impossible to tell, its location would imply it was formed around 12.7 billion years ago, making it the oldest exoplanet ever discovered.
  • HD 140283 "Methuselah" is a star initially calculated to be older than the universe, literally older than time. It was later recalculated to be 14.4 billion years old, ±0.8 billion years, which is only slightly better. Even if on the sprightly side of that range, it's very old.
    • Perhaps surpassed by SM0313 Note that age calculations for very old stars have a large percentage of uncertainty as they are based on theoretical models of stellar evolution, so it's far more likely they formed after the Big Bang and not before it.
  • Population III Stars, if any of them still exist, are definitely qualifiers for this trope. Hypothesized to have only minute amounts of metal elements, if any at all (thus being effectively made of nothing but hydrogen and helium and a tiny bit of lithium), these ancient stars would have been among the very first to bring light to the Universe, on the dawn of its Stelliferous era. To date, none have been definitively proven to exist today, but the possibility remains that at least one may be out there.
  • The very first moments of the Universe after the Big Bang fall into this trope (see The Other Wiki). While those times from our perspective look tiny and meaningless, not so much if one notes the proportions between those epochs and compares them to the future ages of the Universe and considers more things happened by then than in the billions of years to comenote 
  • Black Holes, once formed, won't actually exist forever, as they release energy through a process called Hawking radiation, in which quantum fluctuations happen near a black hole and take its mass, photon by photon — a process that's so slow, it has zero effect in the present day, as even the Cosmic Microwave Background is still more than enough to immediately feed the black hole anything it loses right back. While the actual time it would take for a Black Hole to fully evaporate though is believed to vary depending on its size, its estimated to be somewhere between 8,6 × 10^70 years (that's 70 zeroes!) for a stellar-mass black hole to 1,3 × 10^99 years for one that's one trillion solar masses. And it's estimated that they could potentially get even larger than that, which means their deaths would take exponentially longer. If proton decay happens, they will be the only objects in the universe for the vast majority of its life. To put into perspective just how significant of a proportion this is, to quote Time Lapse of the Future: "On the scale of a human lifetime, [after the death of the last atom,] the universe has only just emerged from the womb."
  • Protons. According to one theory, they are ultimately stable, that is, live absolutely forever. According to another, they have a half-life that makes Brahma seem like a mayfly. Based on current evidence, the former (protons do not decay) seems to be true, however, the latter is not ruled out, but it would take at least 10^34 years.
  • Radioactive material, while not lasting forever, can last an incredibly long time. The two commonly found forms of uranium, uranium-235 and 238, have a half-life of 703.8 million years and 4.468 billion years respectively. If you were able to travel back in time and place a kilogram of Uranium-238 in orbit around the Earth as it formed, then came back to the present and checked it, there would still be some of that original mass around today. And, there are isotopes with longer half-lives than that; bismuth-209 has a half-life of around 19,000,000,000,000,000,000 years (that's well over a billion times the commonly accepted value for the current age of the Universe) and is the current record holder for radioactive isotope with the longest known half-life. (If protons actually do decay, then all elements are "radioactive", but experiments have set a lower limit of at least 59,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years for the half-life of hydrogen-1). Of course, radioactive material by definition doesn't last anywhere near as long as it would were it not radioactive.
    • Even after all the material in the Universe has decayed to its final state, the subatomic particles of which matter was once composed last effectively forever. It's recommended to take a look at this Timeline of the far future in The Other Wiki. You Cannot Grasp the True Form does not even start to define it: "Although listed in years for convenience, the numbers beyond this point are so vast that their digits would remain unchanged regardless of which conventional units they were listed in, be they nanoseconds or star lifespans."
    • The final entry is at 10^10^10^56 years, for a new Big Bang to potentially form a new universe. This timescale is so inconceivably vast, even the number of all possible combinations of particles is a rounding error when multiplied with it. A Time Abyss so long, every single possible arrangements of every particle, allowing a new universe exactly identical to ours (along with all other possible universes there ever could be) to form again by pure random chance, is a negligible sum.
    • To try to gain even the most infinitesimal grasp of some of the numbers above, consider 10^10^3, in other words 10^1000 i.e. 1 followed by a thousand zeroes, a number practically inconceivably large compared to the current age of the universe ~10^10. Or 10^10^6, 1 followed by a million zeroes. There's still a very, very long way to go before reaching even 10^10^26, which is nothing compared to the numbers further down. At this point, it's probably worth stepping away and lying down.


Video Example(s):


Time In Perspective

Original video at -- this version has been heavily cut to fit with the wiki's limitations. With time represented as physical space, every second being one cubic millimeter, very soon we run out of things to compare it to, and even the numbers have trouble catching up. This isn't even the most extreme ends of the scale.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / TimeAbyss

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