World’s Oldest Animal? Ming, 507-year-old shellfish

A 507-year-old shellfish named Ming is being considered as the world’s oldest living animal until it died at the hands of Bangor University researchers.

world's oldest animal
Ming, world’s oldest animal
Credit: Bangor University

Scientists were trying to determine the real age of the bi-valve mollusk and accidentally killed it.

Ming’s age was determined by counting its rings. Born in 1499, Ming was only discovered during an Iceland expedition in 2006.

Researcher Paul Butler revealed that they “had no idea it was that old before it was too late.” Butler added that “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.”


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