Man Nearly Cooks Giant Clam Found In Florida, Releases Shellfish After Discovering It’s 214 Years Old

Man Finds Giant Clam On 18 Feb While Trying To Make Clam Chowder

On 18 Feb, Blaine Parker was walking along Alligator Point in Florida with his family, looking for shellfish to make clam chowder.

That’s when they chanced upon a giant quahog clam weighing 1.18kg (2.6 pounds).

With shells large enough to use as serving bowls and flesh hefty enough to make two servings of chowder, Parker said they were initially going to eat it.

But thinking it might be a “special” clam, they brought it to the Gulf Specimen Marine Lab aquarium, where they discovered the clam was 214 years old, reported Tallahassee Democrat.

Names giant clam ‘Aber-clam Lincoln’ as tribute to former US President

According to Gulf Specimen Marine Lab, Parker dug up the massive mollusc on 18 Feb when looking for clams to make chowder.

A recent graduate with a degree in environmental studies and marine science, Parker knew it was a rare find.

“We were just going to eat it, but we thought about it a while and figured it was probably pretty special,” he said.

Tallahassee Democrat reported that Parker said a clam, much like a tree, has annual growth bands.

Scientists use these alternating bands of light on its shell to estimate a clam’s age.

Lo and behold, there were reportedly 214 layers on the shell of the clam Parker found.

Source: Gulf Specimen Marine Lab on Facebook

This would mean it was likely born in 1809, the same year as former US President Abraham Lincoln.

Because it was also found on Presidents’ Day weekend, Parker then hilariously named the shellfish ‘Aber-clam Lincoln’.

Attracted over 100 visitors a day

Not wanting to kill it, he took the quahog clam to the aquarium at the Gulf Specimen Marine Lab, where he works as a specimen collector.

The clam was found to be 15.24cm (6 inches) and 1.18kg (2.6 pounds). For context, most ocean quahogs measure between 7.11cm (2.8 inches) and 10.92cm (4.3 inches).

Since then, Aber-clam Lincoln has proven, just like the iconic figure he was named after, that it also has some charisma.

The clam reportedly draws up to 100 visitors to the aquarium daily.

Giant clam released back to sea

Quahog clams are usually found in the Atlantic Ocean and are known to live for 200 or more years, apparently thanks to their incredibly low metabolic rates.

The oldest recorded clam was 507 years old. Named Ming, it was found in the Icelandic seabed and broke the Guinness World Record for the oldest animal discovered.

Parker’s chance discovery of Aber-clam Lincoln is definitely one for the books. Lincoln is believed to be the fourth oldest clam on record, reported Tallahassee Democrat.

On Friday (24 Feb), its caretakers released it into the Gulf of Mexico

“We just figured he won’t live very well in captivity. And I think he’s earned the right to stay out there,” said Parker.

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Featured image adapted from Tallahassee Democrat.

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