Scientists discovered a shellfish that was more than 500 years old but accidentally killed it in the process of finding that out.
As science advances and evolves more quickly than most of us can keep up with, it has left us wondering what's next. Things we previously thought were unattainable are now starting to feel inevitable. Concepts that were once reserved for science fiction movies such as time travel and eternal life.
When it comes to eternal life, or at the very least living longer, it really does feel as if we're getting close. Humans live much longer, on average, than they have done in the past and some scientists believe that the first person who is going to make it to 150 years old is already alive and walking around somewhere. However, some members of the animal kingdom have a leg up on the human race.
Not too long ago, scientists found the oldest animal ever discovered, a species of Icelandic clam known as an ocean quahog. It was an incredible 507-years-old. Notice the use of the word "was". That's because, as reported by The Independent, the scientists at Bangor University in the UK managed to kill the creature while trying to figure out its age. On top of that, they managed to get the age wrong, something that has recently been corrected.
Calculating the age of the clam is apparently very similar to how you would carry out such a process with a tree, count the rings. They form on the animal's shell and originally, scientists counted the marks on the inside. Some of those marks were so close together that it made counting them extremely difficult. On their second attempt, the rings on the outside of the shell were counted, and the age of the clam jumped from 405 to the correct 507, meaning it was around before Henry VIII was the king of England.
Even though the clam is the oldest animal to ever be discovered, it's highly unlikely that it's the oldest to have ever lived. Even though a great many clams were brought back from the expedition during which it was discovered, fisherman trawl those areas around Iceland all the time and have likely discarded clams that have been around even longer.