A team of British researchers found a 405 year old clam, the longest living animal known. Unfortunately it died before they realized how old it was.
British scientific team discovered the 405-year-old clam, named after the Chinese dynasty and not the former Liberal Democrat leader, at the bottom of the ocean, and hope its longevity will reveal the secrets of ageing.I think it is doubtful that this clam will lead to anti-ageing breakthroughs for people as our life cycles are quite different, but you never know what little molecular clues it could unlock.
So significant is the find that Help The Aged have awarded a £40,000 grant to the team to investigate how the molusc, born when Queen Elizabeth I was on the throne and William Shakespeare was writing The Merry Wives of Windsor, has survived over the centuries.
The record-breaking shellfish, 31 years older than the previous oldest animal, another clam, was caught last year when scientists from the Bangor University School of Ocean Sciences were dredging the seabed north of Iceland.
The "Arctica islandica" was among a haul of 3,000 empty shells and 34 live molluscs taken to the laboratory.
Unfortunately, by the time its true age had been established Ming was already dead. But the scientists aged the 3.4in clam from its shell which like trees has a layer or ring of growth for every year that the animal has been alive.
Photo by Flickr user 604 Plonker used under a Creative Commons license.
ht reader Mike D.