Imagine an animal that has been alive since before your parents were born, since before your grandparents were born … since before even the United States existed.
A team of British scientists discovered just that when they pulled a 405-year old clam out of the ocean north of Iceland. That age puts the shellfish’s birthdate in the year 1,602. Named Ming, after the Chinese dynasty, those involved with the discovery hope the centuries-old clam can help reveal the secrets of aging.
The previous age record was 374 years, also held by a clam. Ming, found last year, was dead by the time the scientist determined its true age. Much like a tree, though, the scientific team concluded the clam’s age by counting rings of growth on its shell.