The Reason Why The World's Oldest Creature Died For Science
Nov 18, 2013 13:38
This picture you're looking at is a close-up of an ocean quahog. In 2006, it was scooped from the bottom of the North Atlantic near Iceland. The researchers who discovered it decided that the best place to stash the specimen was inside a freezer. As expected, the creature did not survive.
Initially, the mollusc was believed to be about 400 years old. Researchers decided to nickname it "Ming the Mollusc" after a Chinese ruler who reigned during the same time the mollusc was born. But further testing later revealed that Ming might have actually been around 500 years old. To put that into better perspective, Ming was alive 1499, seven years after Columbus discovered America and right before Henry VIII married his first wife.
"We got it wrong the first time and maybe we were a bit hasty publishing our findings back then. But we are absolutely certain that we've got the right age now," Dr. Paul Butler, a scientist at Bangor University.
But Ming didn't die totally in vain. The researchers intend to study its layers to find out more about sea
temperatures and water masses from thousands of years ago.
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