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October 29, 2007

Scientists Date Clam As Being Over 400 Years Old; Helen Thomas Said "Pleased" By The Confirmation

Would you eat it?

A clam that lived on the seabed in the frigid waters off Iceland's north coast has been hailed as the longest-lived animal ever discovered.

The mollusc, which is thought to have lurked beneath the waves until at least the age of 405, would have been a juvenile when Galileo picked up his first telescope, Hamlet was first staged and the gunpowder plot failed to blow up King James I.

The Arctica islandica clam was plucked from 80m-deep water by researchers at Bangor University in Wales, who were dredging the north Iceland shelf for the creatures. By studying their shells, the scientists hope to learn how the marine environment has changed in recent centuries.

The clam was alive when it was brought to the surface, but at that point, the researchers had no idea how old it was. Only after cutting through the shell and counting annual growth rings under a microscope did they date the mollusc to between 405 to 410 years old.

"Its death is an unfortunate aspect of this work, but we hope to derive lots of information from it," said Al Wanamaker, a postdoctoral scientist on the university's Arctica team. "For our work it's a bonus, but it wasn't good for this particular animal."

I'm sure that the Global Warming goofballs are right now wondering if there's any way to claim the widths of the clam's growth rings proves "the science is even more settled" now.

Guys, chill. It's a fucking clam.


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posted by Ace at 06:53 PM

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