Aber-clam Lincoln: 214-year-old clam found in Florida
ALLIGATOR POINT, Fla. - Turns out, Aber-clam Lincoln may not have been so honest – albeit unintentionally.
In a new Facebook post, the Gulf Specimen Marine Lab said that it had "received some comments notifying us that Abra-clam Lincoln was misidentified in our previous post." They reached out to experts who confirmed that the mollusk was a southern quahog, and not an ocean quahog. The lab said it also learned that it had misinterpreted a scientific paper regarding how to properly figure out a mollusk's age.
According to the lab, to properly age a mollusk, you have to count the striations within the shell and not the ones on the outside, which would require killing the clam. They reportedly released the clam last week, so we may never know its true age.
"This has been a learning experience for all of us here at Gulf Specimen, and we cherish it as such. The main goal of our establishment has always been education, and our staff and AmeriCorps members are here to learn along with our visitors. It has been deeply inspiring to see the public so engaged with a sea creature as uncharismatic as a clam. This widespread interest in marine life has reinvigorated us in our mission to protect the world’s precious waters through education," the lab wrote in its post.
It sounds like the start of a bad dad joke: What do President Abraham Lincoln and a clam have in common? Both may have been born in the same year, more than 200 years ago.
The Gulf Specimen Marine Lab, a marine lab and aquarium in Panacea, Florida, recently posted on its Facebook page that one of its AmeriCorps members found a large Southern Quahog – an edible ocean clam – at Alligator Point on St. John's Island, which is west of Tallahassee near Florida's Panhandle.
According to the post, that AmeriCorps member – identified as Blaine – counted 214 layers on the clam's shell, suggesting it was 214 years old. They nicknamed the clam "Aber-clam Lincoln" to coincide with the former president's birth year – 1809, which is, you guessed it, 214 years ago.
The clam was also measured at 6 inches long and weight 2.6 pounds. These mollusks typically range between 2.8 and 4.3 inches, according to NOAA's website.
FOX Weather reported that the clam was released back into the ocean last week.
According to NOAA, Ocean Quahogs can be found from Newfoundland to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. They are among the longest-living marine organisms in the world, some living for at least 200 years. They grow slowly and usually reproduce around 6 and are not large enough to be commercially fished until about 20 years old.
They are considered to be "filter feeders," burying themselves in the ocean floor and pumping oxygen-rich water and food particles through their siphons, NOAA's website reads.