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
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.