The world's oldest animal died today during research that was being done to confirm its age. Researchers at Bangor University were attempting to pry a bivalve mollusk apart to test its age when they accidentally killed it. Recent tests show that the mollusk was actually 507 years old, making it up until the time of its death, the world's oldest animal.
The mollusk was found in Iceland in 2006 and given the nickname Ming. When Ming was found, researchers didn't know much about it and wanted to open its shell to count its rings and determine the age of the mollusk. Upon opening and killing the animals, they realized it was very old.
At first, scientists believed the mollusk was 405 years old. Since there were so many rings on Ming's shell, it was hard to count them accurately and they recently decided to use carbon-14 testing to get a more accurate age. The carbon dating shows that Ming is actually 507 years old.
Many people were upset to hear about the death of the ancient mollusk, but researchers said they had no way of knowing the animals age until it was too late. The discovery means there could be many more ancient mollusks living in the oceans of the world and some of them may even be older than Ming.
"It’s worth keeping in mind that we caught a total of 200 ocean quahogs on our Iceland expedition. Thousands of ocean quahogs are caught commercially every year, so it is entirely likely that some fishermen may have caught quahogs that are as old as or even older than the one we caught," said researcher Paul Butler.
Image from YouTube.