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
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Television

'Orphan Black' recap: Episode 1, ‘Nature Under Constraint…

Welcome to “Orphan Black” Season 2! Hopefully Tatiana Maslany can help Tatiana Maslany get through this, with the help of Tatiana Maslany, while avoiding the…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

Parenting

How to parent without gender stereotypes in a…

Christia Spears Brown, Phd. author of "Parenting beyond Pink & Blue" gives advice on raising kids free of gender stereotypes.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.