In 2006 we found the oldest animal in the world. Then we load it

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In 2006, a team of researchers from Bangor University found a clam 80 meters below the icy waters off the north coast of Iceland. Ming, as she was called, was 507 years old, and that’s a long time. A lots of. Suffice it to say that the life expectancy of these clams is around 225 years; But not only did we have before us the longest-living mollusk in the world, we had the oldest living ‘non-colonial’ animal ever found. Then we load it up.


The secrets of the clams. It is curious because the Bangor researchers were not zoologists, but climatologists. They had been collecting clams for years to count their growth rings and thus learn about the planet’s climatic history. That is, they were looking for molluscs to use them in a similar way that other climatologists use trees.

Like I say, Icelandic clams are bugs. known for their longevity. In 1982, one was found in the US with more than 220 years Y, as explained in National Geographica German museum claimed to have a 374-year-old collected, precisely, in Icelandic waters.

The incredible life of Ming. Ming pulverized all those records: the clam’s probable date of birth was 1499, just a handful of years after Christopher Columbus crossed the Atlantic Ocean on his way to America. Unfortunately, the process of sclerochronology to which the Bangor researchers subjected the specimen to know its age ended with it. Modern science has achieved what climatic problems and predators have not.

Ming Clam Shell Wg061294r

What clams can teach us. We know that death is the price we pay for being who we are, but the fundamental question is still on the table: why not delay it a little longer. In this, we have been very insistent and humanity has sought the answer with great interest. This has led us to investigate turtles, mice and all kinds of animals, including clams.

Death is the price we pay for being who we are: the science of the quest for immortality

However, as I said, in this case the main interest in studying this type of molluscs is research on climate change. The original Bangor project wanted to know in detail the climate of the last thousand years. Something difficult, but we have more and more at hand: and, after all, the further back we can look, the more and better we can understand the future.

Image | adam jang

In 2006, a team of researchers from Bangor University found a clam 80 meters below the icy waters off the…

In 2006, a team of researchers from Bangor University found a clam 80 meters below the icy waters off the…

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