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29 October 2007 at 4:02 pm #3467Martin WParticipant
New record for the world’s longest lived animal, reported in the Guardian:Quote:A clam that lived on the seabed in the frigid waters off Iceland’s north coast has been hailed as the longest-lived animal ever discovered.
The mollusc, which is thought to have lurked beneath the waves until at least the age of 405, would have been a juvenile when Galileo picked up his first telescope, Hamlet was first staged and the gunpowder plot failed to blow up King James I.
The Arctica islandica clam was plucked from 80m-deep water by researchers at Bangor University in Wales, who were dredging the north Iceland shelf for the creatures. By studying their shells, the scientists hope to learn how the marine environment has changed in recent centuries.
The clams are born as larvae which drift through the oceans until they settle on to the seabed and begin to grow shells. Unlike scallops, they cannot propel themselves, but burrow down into the sea bed where they filter and feed on a constant rain of nutrient-rich phytoplankton.
“It’s a mind-boggling amount of time to be sat there doing that,” said Dr Wanamaker.
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