Ming The Clam Was The World's Oldest Animal

Ming The Clam Was The World's Oldest Animal

The world's oldest living individual animal ever discovered was born in the Ming Dynasty, and was thus named Ming. Scientists believe Ming the clam was born in 1499, and was killed at the age of 507. According to scientists, it is difficult to judge the age of a clam once it reaches a certain age; it could be 100 years old or 300 years old, and the size will not be much different. And although news reports suggest scientists killed the old clam simply for the goal of finding out its age, that may have not been the case. Ming was one of 200 clams collected in a sample near Iceland in 2006, and all of the clams died from freezing while aboard the boat coming back to be studied. The age of Ming was determined by researchers counting the number of bands in its shell. This type of clam (the ocean quahog) grows one new band annually.

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Key Facts In This Video

  • 1

    Ming the Mollusk was 507 years old. (0:13)

  • 2

    Mollusk age is usually determined by counting the rings on its shell. (0:34)

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