Fishermen haul up vast quantities of molluscs on a regular basis. Image Credit: Ken Hammond / USDA
A bivalve mollusc that goes by the name of Ming has turned out to be a staggering 507 years old.
Having survived for centuries through climate change, world wars and natural predators, the oldest living creature would seem to be able to endure almost anything, at least that was until researchers managed to kill while they were trying to determine how old it was.
The investigative blunder saw the record-breaking mollusc's life come to an abrupt end just as its significance had been realized. Ming was first discovered in Iceland in 2006 and was believed to be 405 years old until a more recent study revealed it to be almost a century older.
"After the story hit the media, we were contacted by people who were upset that the ocean quahog had been killed. But we had no idea it was that old before it was too late," said researcher Paul Butler.
The jury is still out on whether Ming really is the oldest living creature, with the distinct possibility that far older molluscs are still out there. By refining the definition of "creature" it is also possible to include the glass sponge, an organism that lives up to 23,000 years, as a potential candidate for the title.
Source: Yahoo! News | Comments (19)