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Man finds clam on beach and nearly turned it into food before finding out it's over 200 years old

Tom Wood

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| Last updated 

Man finds clam on beach and nearly turned it into food before finding out it's over 200 years old

Featured Image Credit: Gulf Specimen Marine Lab

A man who discovered a gigantic clam was about to use it to make a delicious clam chowder before he realised that it was actually a 200-year-old specimen, so he reported it to the authorities.

Blaine Parker said he discovered the huge clam over President’s Day weekend and couldn’t believe his luck.

He thought that he was about to get a couple of helpings of chowder out of it, but eventually decided that it was too interesting to just cook up and eat.

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Speaking to the Tallahassee Democrat, Parker said: “We were just going to eat it, but we thought about it a while and figured it was probably pretty special. So, we didn't want to kill it.”

It turned out that their decision was a good one. After all, there are loads of clams out there, but not many like this one.

Blaine Parker holding his prized find. Credit: Gulf Marine Specimen Lab
Blaine Parker holding his prized find. Credit: Gulf Marine Specimen Lab

Parker, who is a member of the volunteering group AmeriCorps, brought the clam to the Gulf Specimen Lab in nearby Panacea, where he is also a specimen collector.

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Handy how these things turn out, isn’t it?

In the end, the lab determined that the clam – which is six inches in length, as well as weighing in at 2.6 pounds – could be more than 214 years old.

In honour of this, Parker named the clam ‘Aber-clam Lincoln’.

Explaining how they came to this momentous decision, the laboratory wrote on Facebook: “Age can be calculated by the number of layers on the shell, with each layer representing a year; with this, Blaine counted 214 layers on Aber-clam Lincoln's shell, meaning this clam was born in 1809, the same year as Abraham Lincoln, hence its name!"

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There you have it, more than just a clever name.

Most Quahog – not the Family Guy town, but what it’s named for – clams weigh in at around half a pound, making this specimen five times above average in weight.

I mean, look at this thing. Credit: Gulf Marine Specimen Lab
I mean, look at this thing. Credit: Gulf Marine Specimen Lab

There are specimens that have been recorded that are still older than this one, though.

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Back in 2006, scientists found a Quahog clam that they reckon was 507 years old, meaning that it would have been alive in 1499.

They named that particular bivalve ‘Ming’ because it was alive during the Ming dynasty in China.

In the end, there was a happy ending for everyone involved, as Aber-clam was released back into the sea around a week after it was found at Alligator Point in Florida, hopefully to live for another few hundred years.

As for Parker’s chowder, he probably didn’t struggle to find some that didn’t feature any historic creatures.

Topics: News, Animals, Food and Drink, US News

Tom Wood
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