Thursday, November 1, 2007

Scientists Kill Oldest Living Creature On Earth! - Our Tax Dollars At Work



Scientists Find Oldest Living Animal, Then Kill It

British marine biologists have found what may be the oldest living animal — that is, until they killed it.

The team from Bangor University in Wales was dredging the waters north of Iceland as part of routine research when the unfortunate specimen, belonging to the clam species Arctica islandica, commonly known as the ocean quahog, was hauled up from waters 250 feet deep.

Only after researchers cut through its shell, which made it more of an ex-clam, and counted its growth rings did they realize how old it had been — between 405 and 410 years old.

Another clam of the same species had been verified at 220 years old, and a third may have lived 374 years. But this most recent clam was the oldest yet.

"Its death is an unfortunate aspect of this work, but we hope to derive lots of information from it," postdoctoral scientist Al Wanamaker told London's Guardian newspaper. "For our work, it's a bonus, but it wasn't good for this particular animal."

What won't they kill to "derive lots of information "? Seems like a shame since it was unique. I'm not an animal rights guy by any means, but it seems like a real waste of taxes to pay people to do meaningless research like this. What sort of "bonus" could they get here? I'm not a scientist but I'll bet the knowledge gained won't be worth the act of killing the oldest known creature on the planet!

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