Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Longest Living Animal? Clam -- 400 Years Old -- Found In Icelandic Waters

Date:
October 29, 2007
Source:
Bangor University
Summary:
A clam dredged from Icelandic waters had lived for 400 years. Is this the longest-lived animal known to science? Can you imagine living for four centuries? Scientists believe they have found an animal which did just that, a quahog clam, Arctica islandica, which was living and growing on the seabed in the cold waters off the north coast of Iceland for around 400 years.

A clam dredged from Icelandic waters had lived for 400 years, scientists believe.
Credit: Image courtesy of Bangor University

A clam dredged from Icelandic waters had lived for 400 years - is this the longest-lived animal known to science?

Related Articles


Can you imagine living for four centuries? A team of scientists from Bangor University's School of Ocean Sciences believe they have found an animal which did just that, a quahog clam, Arctica islandica, which was living and growing on the seabed in the cold waters off the north coast of Iceland for around 400 years.

When this animal was a juvenile, King James I replaced Queen Elizabeth I as English monarch, Shakespeare was writing his greatest plays Hamlet, Othello, King Lear and Macbeth and Giordano Bruno was burnt at the stake for espousing the view that the Sun rather than the Earth was the centre of the universe.

According to the Guinness Book of Records, the existing record for the longest-lived animal belongs to a 220 year old Arctica clam collected in 1982 from American waters. Unofficially, the record belongs to a 374 year old Icelandic clam which was found in a museum. Both these records appear to have been eclipsed by the latest specimen, whose age, between 405 and 410 years, has been assessed by counting the annual growth lines in the shell.

The Bangor scientists are sclerochronologists who study the growth and age of clams using annual growth lines in the shell in much the same way as dendrochronologists study the growth of trees using tree-rings. Clam shell growth is related to environmental conditions such as seawater temperature, salinity and food availability. The team analyse the shell growth histories with a view to understanding changes in the ocean linked to climate change.

The clam was dredged up by Team members Paul Butler and James Scourse during a data collection cruise in Icelandic coastal waters in 2006 which formed part of the EU MILLENNIUM project investigating climate changes over the last 1000 years. The exciting discovery was made by postdoctoral scientist Al Wanamaker, the newest member of the ‘Arctica’ team. “Al and Paul rushed up to my office to announce that they had found a record-breaker,” said team member Chris Richardson. A detailed assessment later confirmed that, at 400 years, the clam had beaten the previous record by a massive 30 years!!

It is very likely that longer lived individuals of the species remain to be found. Although Icelandic waters seem to provide the ideal conditions for extreme longevity, clams with lifetimes well in excess of 200 years have been found both in the Irish Sea and the North Sea.

So why do these clams live so long? The Bangor scientists are intrigued to find out and believe that the clams may have evolved exceptionally effective defences which hold back the destructive ageing processes that normally occur. "If, in Arctica islandica, evolution has created a model of successful resistance to the damage of ageing, it is possible that an investigation of the tissues of these real life Methuselahs might help us to understand the processes of ageing," explains Chris.

This ageing aspect is now going to be funded by a new grant to the team from Help the Aged.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Bangor University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Bangor University. "Longest Living Animal? Clam -- 400 Years Old -- Found In Icelandic Waters." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 October 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071028100032.htm>.
Bangor University. (2007, October 29). Longest Living Animal? Clam -- 400 Years Old -- Found In Icelandic Waters. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 4, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071028100032.htm
Bangor University. "Longest Living Animal? Clam -- 400 Years Old -- Found In Icelandic Waters." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071028100032.htm (accessed March 4, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Fossils & Ruins News

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Long-Lost Ship Found? Microsoft Co-Founder Uncovers Wreckage

Long-Lost Ship Found? Microsoft Co-Founder Uncovers Wreckage

Newsy (Mar. 4, 2015) Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen says he has discovered the wreckage of the battleship Musashi in the central Philippines. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Who Was The Wealthy Woman Buried Near King Richard III?

Who Was The Wealthy Woman Buried Near King Richard III?

Newsy (Mar. 3, 2015) A woman thought to have been an important person in Grey Friars monastery was found in a coffin near King Richard III. Her identity is unknown. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mass Grave Found Under Paris SuperMarket

Mass Grave Found Under Paris SuperMarket

Buzz60 (Mar. 3, 2015) Dozens of bodies were found under the Monoprix Supermarket in Paris. The company called in researchers to inspect the ground underneath where a hospital once existed from the 12th century to the 17th. Patrick Jones (@Patrick_E_Jones) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gerbils, Not Rats, Might Be To Blame For The Black Death

Gerbils, Not Rats, Might Be To Blame For The Black Death

Newsy (Feb. 24, 2015) The "black death" that killed tens of millions of people has been blamed on rats for years, but now researchers say they may have gotten a bad rap. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins