Marine scientist fights claims he killed oldest animal, clam Ming

MingClam
Credit: Metro World News

It’s been a rough week for marine scientist Paul Butler, who has been receiving hate mail after reports that he killed Ming — a 507-year-old Icelandic clam. The Bangor University professor told Metro the creature was already dead when his team examined it, and that the truth is far more significant.

Metro: Has the reaction shocked you?

Butler: Yes; the main problem is that English newspapers wrote articles based on an interview in Danish, and basically changed it to say we killed the clam. It was frozen when we collected it in Iceland: dead on arrival. Also, finding the age was not the main thing anyway.

So what have we learned from it?

The carbon dating suggests a slight weakening of the Gulf Stream during the Little Ice Age (1500-1850), and perhaps higher temperatures. In the context of global warming, we can work out the degree of change from the time of fossil fuel, and how much the ocean is absorbing. But if we put out a press release about that, it would have looked like we were trying to distract people from the clam.

Are there even older species than Ming?

No doubt. We took 2,000 shells and this was the oldest but there are millions in Iceland that would have lived longer. We took shells from a fishery area so anyone eating clam chowder might eat one the same age.

What’s their secret – can we copy them?

Hard to say; we think the resistance comes from protein. Also, because it’s so cold the clam metabolizes very slowly.

What’s the “big picture” project?

We are creating networks of chronologies going back 1,300 years, covering Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Northwestern Europe. The more detailed the picture, the more perspective we get on the environment as part of a global system.

Are you worried about more hate mail?

We will have to be clearer in our communication.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

NY judge throws out lawsuit by Empire State…

A New York state judge has thrown out a lawsuit in which longtime investors in the Empire State Building claimed they were shortchanged out of hundreds of millions of dollars…

Local

Mysterious white flags appear over Brooklyn Bridge

Two white flags mysteriously appeared over the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday in place of the American flags that are a traditional fixture.

National

Judge sets January start for murder trial of…

By Elizabeth BarberBOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin…

National

Donut capers stymie police in Oregon

For more than a month, mysterious vandals have been smearing pastries on cars, depositing donuts in lawns and leaving cakes strewn about the streets.

Arts

Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.

Television

Zac Posen talks 'Project Runway' and what it…

We talked to Zac Posen, judge and designer extraordinaire, about the new season of "Project Runway" and what keeps him coming back after three seasons.

Television

'Face Off' contestant David 'DOC' O'Connell sounds off…

David "DOC" O'Connell tells us about getting cast on Season 7 of Syfy's "Face Off," premiering tonight at 9.

Arts

PHOTO: Wildlife photographer Marc Mol captures amazing aerial…

This aerial image was taken by photographer Marc Mol who spotted the animals during an air safari in Zambia.

NFL

David Tyree hiring has gay rights advocates angry

Former Giants Super Bowl hero David Tyree will re-join the franchise as its new director of player development.

NFL

Ben McAdoo's new offense has Giants excited to…

Even Tom Coughlin feels he has a lot to learn about offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new offense, which makes the veteran coach very excited.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.