Some years ago I had the privilege of having lunch while sitting next to the oldest living tree on Earth. It was as near to a religious experience as this old ecologist has had. Then one day to my horror I read about the killing of that 5000 year old tree by a so called scientist who want to make sure of the ancient age of the oldest living thing on earth. Only by cutting the tree down and taking it back to his chamber of horrors laboratory could that person count the rings in the tree and know just how long it had lived. Read my post on that lunch here.
Today I read once again with horror about another group of so called scientists announcing the killing of the oldest living animal on Earth. This time the victim has been an Icelandic Clam. This animal was not some ancient rogue elephant shot down in mid charge, it was no marauding toothless tiger who was so old it could only prey on thin skinned human prey. It was a living animal sitting as quietly as a clam, minding its own business. It had been and was a calmly clamly growing through the centuries.
It was born in 1499, during the reign of the first Queen Elizabeth and Ming dynasty of China. Indeed the scientists named it Ming. Before Ming came along, the unofficial record for the world’s oldest animal was held by a 374-year-old Icelandic clam whose shell now lies in a German museum.
The clam scientists have just issued a report for which they surely expect to garner recognition for their prowess in the world of science. They have noted the clam was 507 years old the day they killed it.
Here’s the story headline – “Ming the clam confirmed as oldest living animal on Earth”
This clamity brings to mind a skectch Monty Python once did
A customer enters a pet/science shop.
Mr. Praline: ‘Ello, I wish to register a complaint.
(The owner does not respond.)
Mr. Praline: ‘Ello, Miss?
Owner: What do you mean “miss”?
Mr. Praline: (pause)I’m sorry, I have a cold. I wish to make a complaint!
Owner: We’re closin’ for lunch.
Mr. Praline: Never mind that, my lad. I wish to complain about this clam what I purchased not half an hour ago from this very boutique.
Owner: Oh yes, the, uh, the Icelandic Blue…What’s,uh…What’s wrong with it?
Mr. Praline: I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it, my lad. ‘E’s dead, that’s what’s wrong with it!
Owner: No, no, ‘e’s uh,…he’s resting.
Mr. Praline: Look, matey, I know a dead clam when I see one, and I’m looking at one right now.
Owner: No no he’s not dead, he’s, he’s restin’! Remarkable bird, the Icelandic Blue, idn’it, ay? Beautiful shell!
Mr. Praline: The shell don’t enter into it. It’s stone dead.
Owner: Nononono, no, no! ‘E’s resting!