Feeds

Boffins dredge up oldest living animal

405 years, unmolested by science

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
Human spacecraft dodge COMET CHUNKS pelting off Mars
Odyssey orbiter yet to report, though - comet's trailing trash poses new threat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.