Scientists Discover 500 Year old Animal, Promptly Kill it
- Frank Lucci
- Nov 18, 2013 06:16 PM EST
Scientists found possibly one of the oldest creatures on the earth, but then they accidently killed the animal due to some standard protocol the science team follows.
A science team from Bangor University discovered a ocean quahog, or deep sea clam, in 2006. Naming the clam Ming the mollusk, scientists discovered the clam off the coast of Iceland and collected the animal after it was discovered that Ming was thought to be 400 years old. However, they threw the calm in a freezer, which killed the still living Ming. Despite already being a Guinness Book of World Records holder for oldest living animal, it turns out Ming was over a century older than the science team previous thought, and the clam was determined to be 507 years old.
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The University released a statement about the accidental killing of Ming the mollusk, revealing that the science team could not have known that they had accidently killed the amazing animal before they found out what made it special:
"The longest-lived clam was collected along with many others and, as it is impossible to age the clams until their shells have been opened, there was no indication of its extreme age until after this had been done. The notion that scientists knew in advance that it was the longest-lived species and then deliberately destroyed it is plainly incorrect."
In addition to explaining how the clam could be killed without knowing it was over 500 years old, the press release explained how common the species of clam is:
"The same species of clam are caught commercially and eaten daily; anyone who has eaten clam chowder in New England has probably eaten flesh from this species, many of which are likely several hundred years old. Based on previous information and its size, this species was believed to live for around 100 years."
Finally, Bangor University concluded that it would make sense that the ancient clam would live near Iceland as it seems to be a ideal place for organisms to experience longer life spans:
"It is statistically inconceivable that longer lived individuals of the species do not exist in Icelandic waters as they seem to provide the ideal conditions for extreme longevity; clams with lifetimes in excess of 100 years have been found both in the Irish Sea and the North Sea."
Scientists are still trying to figure out exactly why Ming was able to live for so long before he met his death in a freezer.