Longest lived animal found, according to reports in BBC News and Bangor University News, 28 October 2007.

Scientists from the School of Ocean Sciences at Bangor University have dredged up a clam named Arctica islandica from the ocean floor near Iceland. They estimate that it had lived between 405 and 410 years, making it the oldest known living animal (although it is now dead). The previous record was around 374 years, and clams with lifespans of over 200 years have also been found in the North Sea and Irish Sea. The age estimates are made on the basis of growth rings in the clams’ shells.

The record breaking clam has been named Ming, because the Ming dynasty was ruling China at the time it was born. The clam was found as part of a project to study changes in the sea temperature and conditions over the last millennium. The growth rings in the clam shells vary according to temperature and food supply, so they act as a record of climate changes over the clam’s lifetime.

The clams may also help scientists understand how some animals live to be very old. Chris Richardson of Bangor University told the BBC: “What’s intriguing the Bangor group is how these animals have actually managed, in effect, to escape senescence (growing old). One of the reasons we think is that the animals have got some difference in cell turnover rates that we would associate with much shorter-lived animals.”

The scientists also suggest the clams “may have evolved exceptionally effective defences which hold back the destructive ageing processes that normally occur.” Chris Richardson added: “If, in Arctica islandica, evolution has created a model of successful resistance to the damage of ageing, it is possible that an investigation of the tissues of these real life Methuselahs might help us to understand the processes of ageing.”

Editorial Comment: Sceptics often scoff at the long human lifespans recorded in the early chapters of Genesis, but then turn around and seek to find out how to live longer, and how to stop us from dying whenever possible. The real conclusion to be reached here is that something tells us that getting old and dying are not what we humans are meant to do. At 410 years old, this clam has not yet made Methuselah status, whom the Biblical record of Genesis lists as living for 969 years.

This research was in part funded by Help the Aged, a British Charity which obviously wants people to live longer/better or both. If you take Genesis seriously your research will be a lot further ahead. Genesis tells us that the world started out “very good”. Therefore, people and animals would have had perfectly functioning bodies with no disease causing mutations, and they lived in a perfect environment. Then Biological Death came into the world, not because of age or disease, but as the punishment for human sin and rebellion against the Creator. Death and aging were not and are not a natural part of life. That’s why we fight it and even scientists are trying to stop it.

Sadly though, if they do ever offer you eternal life on this planet or anywhere else in this Universe that has been afflicted by the curse of man’s sin, living with people who can’t die and won’t forsake sin and rebellion against God and man – it will be a real let down.

The Creator Christ’s offer is much better, eternal life on a new earth with a new heavens and a final removal of the curse brought on by man’s sin. (Read more in Genesis 1-3 and John 1-3 and Revelation 20-22) Further research in Genesis reveals that after death came, human bodies, which had started out perfect, took a long time to die and the first 10 generations till Noah’s flood averaged almost 1000 yrs. It wasn’t until after Noah’s flood, when the environment degenerated significantly, that lifespans of land based humans began to rapidly decrease.

It may be that by living at the bottom of the ocean, protected from increased radiation by a water barrier and far from the cell damaging pollution of early post flood human civilisation, enabled the clam to live a long life. We will be interested to hear what the Bangor scientists discover about the climate from studying clam shells from the past 2,000 years. We predict they will find periods where the climate has been colder and hotter than it is now, because God told Noah that from the time after the flood to the end of the world, there would be periods of cold and heat, and that God, not climate politicians, would determine when the end would come.

Evidence News 28 November 2007

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