Feeds

Boffins dredge up oldest living animal

405 years, unmolested by science

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Scientists have dredged up the oldest known living creature and have called it Ming.

According to reports, the 405-year-old clam (for it is that kind of mollusc) has not been named for the ex-leader of the Liberal Democrats, but for the Ming Dynasty which ruled China when it was young. The clam is so old that during its youth Queen Elizabeth I was on the throne and Shakespeare was penning his famous works.

The ocean quahog clam was dredged up off the coast of Iceland, and researchers calculated its age by counting the rings on its shell.

Professor Chris Richardson, from Bangor University's School of Ocean Sciences explained that the rings on the clam's shell provide researchers with information about growth conditions year-by-year, and so provide a record of the environmental changes during the animal's life.

He told the BBC: "They are like tiny tape recorders, in effect, sitting on the sea bed and integrating signals about water temperature and food over time."

According to the Telegraph, the find is considered so promising for what it might reveal about the aging process that charity Help the Aged has funded the team investigating the clam to the tune of £40,000.

Richard Faragher, a gerontologist at Brighton University working with the Bangor team, told the newspaper: "Most of what we know about the ocean quahog is what it tastes like. We need to find out how it retains muscle strength, remains cancer-free, and keeps its nervous system intact over such a long period of time."

Sadly, since being discovered by science, Ming has popped its clogs. We can conclude from this that to live a long and healthy life, it would be advisable for a person to avoid being sliced in two by someone intent on counting one's rings. ®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets
Just being in the Goldilocks zone doesn't mean there'll be anyone to eat the porridge
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.