The great-great-great­great-grand­daddy

World of Animals - - Super Seniors -

The long­est-lived non-colo­nial an­i­mal ever dis­cov­ered to date is a qua­hog clam (ex­am­ple pic­tured), which was dredged from the seabed off the coast of ice­land by re­searchers from Ban­gor Univer­sity in Wales in 2006.

Based on an­nual growth rings in the shell, the team ini­tially de­ter­mined the clam to be be­tween 405 and 410 years old, which is im­pres­sive enough. How­ever, a few years later, us­ing more so­phis­ti­cated age­ing tech­niques, they re­vised this fig­ure up to an ex­tra­or­di­nary age of 507! The clam was dubbed ‘Ming’ af­ter the Chi­nese dy­nasty that was in power at the time of its birth.

it’s worth high­light­ing that there are even older colo­nial an­i­mals (col­lec­tive life forms made up of lots of tiny in­di­vid­ual crea­tures). Cer­tain deep-sea corals, for ex­am­ple, have been ra­dio­car­bon-dated to more than 4,000 years old! now that’s a lot of birth­day can­dles…

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