Clam confirmed as world's oldest creature at 507 is killed by scientists

The world's oldest animal, a clam, has been accidentally killed by scientists while they tried to find out how old the creature was.

Ming the Mollusc was born in 1499, making it 507 when it was found.

But experts from Bangor University, who were unaware of its age, placed it in a freezer before opening and killing it.

Initially they thought the clam was 400 years old after counting the number of rings on the inside of its shell.

Speaking to ScienceNordic, ocean scientist Paul Butler said: "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."

Marine biologist Rob Witbaard added: "The age has been confirmed with a variety of methods, including geochemical methods such as the carbon-14 method. So I am very confident that they have now determined the right age. If there is any error, it can only be one or two years."

The clam was found off the coast of Iceland in 2006.

Ming, named after the Chinese dynasty in power when it was born, was the "oldest mollusc, indeed the longest-lived non-colonial animal discovered," according to the Guinness World Records.

The University of Bangor told AOL Travel it is likely that longer-lived individuals of the species exist in Icelandic waters as they seem to provide the ideal conditions for extreme longevity. Clams with lifetimes in excess of 100 years have been found both in the Irish Sea and the North Sea.

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