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World's oldest animal inadvertently killed by scientists

Ming the MolluscScientists at Bangor University in North Wales have inadvertently killed Ming the Mollusc, which it turns out was the world's oldest living animal.

The ocean quahog -- a type of deep sea clam -- was found in Iceland in 2006 and found to be 405 years old. However while taking a closer look at it, researchers found that it may be a hundred years older, pegging it's age at 507 years old. But this process, opening its shell to put it under scrutiny, led to the death of the mollusc.

“We got it wrong the first time and maybe we were a bit hasty publishing our findings back then. But we are absolutely certain that we’ve got the right age now,” said Dr. Paul Butler, an ocean scientist at the university.

This means that the mollusc was born in 1499 -- a time when the Ming dynasty was flourishing, seven years after Columbus reached America and a decade before Henry VIII became King of England.


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