Scientists didn't actually kill the world's oldest animal, a clam, just to find out how old it was.
For National Geographic Daily News
Consternation over the death of the world's oldest-recorded animal, a 507-year-old clam nicknamed Ming, has earned marine researchers unhappy headlines worldwide.
But a closer look at the story—"Clam-gate," as the BBC called it—finds the tempest over Ming a bit overblown. (Also see "Clams: Not Just for Chowder.")
News of the clam's death, first noted in 2007, took on a life of its own this week after researchers led by James Scourse, from the United Kingdom's Bangor University, reanalyzed its age and announced the 507-year estimate.
Contrary to news reports, the researchers say they did not kill the elderly clam for the ironic-seeming purpose of finding out its age.