Because what's the goal of science if not to kill everything, in 2006 researchers dredged up an extremely old quahog clam. Unaware of its age, they immediately froze the poor bastard, only later to calculate it was 400 years old and even LATER to discover i wasn't 400, but 507. I don't even know any witches older than that (unless they're lying about their age).
A quahog's shell grows by a layer every year, in the summer when the water is warmer and food is plentiful. It means that when its shell is cut in half, scientists can count the lines in a similar way trees can be dated by rings in their trunks.
The growth rings can be seen in two places; on the outside of the shell and at the hinge where the two halves meet. The hinge is generally considered by scientists as the best place to count the rings, as it is protected from outside elements.
When researchers originally dated Ming, they counted the rings at the hinge.
However because it was so old, many had become compressed. When they looked again at the outside of the shell, they found more rings.
It means the mollusc was born in 1499 - just seven years after Columbus discovered America and before Henry VIII had even married his first wife, Catherine of Aragon in 1509.
Wow, could you imagine being born in 1499? You would look like absolute shit by now. Probably even worse than David Lo Pan from 'Big Trouble In Little China' and that guy was f***ing GNARLY (in case you forgot). Hey -- I like girls with green eyes too, Dave. Or any colored eyes really, just as long as they're not glowing red laser beams.
Thanks to PYY and Kristof, who agrees this story would have been way less tragic if somebody had at least eaten the clam.