The Ocean quahog. Click to enlarge.

The oldest animal alive was found in Icelandic waters in 2007. The research ship Bjarni Sæmundsson pulled up a 507 year old Ocean quahog, on the depth of 83 meters just outside of the island Grímsey.
It was 11cm in diameter and was the oldest animal on earth. It was killed in order to conduct research.

Renowned Icelandic scientist Haraldur Sigurðsson covers the topics in his website.

Arctica islandica is quite common around Iceland and is known for reaching high age. It buries itself in sand or clay on the ocean floor and moves very little during its life course.

The second picture shows how the breathing Ocean quahog, breathing sea in the bigger opening, and out the smaller one.

It grows immensely, for its size, over the summertime but very little over the winter. That leaves age markings on its shell, just like on trees.

Ocean quahog is widespread around the world; it is common for aquaculture and is fished in USA for example, around 20 thousand tons per year. The annual catch around the world is thought to be around 150 thousand tons.

Ocean quahog breathing, on the left. (Photo: Arnoddur Erlendsson)

The finding gained recognition at the time, amongst scientist around the world, especially from Britain and Germany.


Haraldur Sigurðsson

Ocean quahog on Vistey