While strolling on a Gulf of Mexico beach in Alligator Point, Florida with his family, a man stumbled upon an unusually large clam. Upon examination, it was discovered to be not only hefty but also incredibly ancient, dating back to 1809.
The Gulf Specimen Marine Lab, an aquarium and research facility, reported that Blaine Parker discovered the quahog clam during his beach walk. Typically, these clams range in size from 2.8 to 4.3 inches, but Parker’s discovery was a six-inch, 2.6-pound specimen.
NOAA states that quahogs display concentric growth rings on their shells, similar to the growth rings in trees, which can be used to determine their age.
Upon counting the rings on the clam’s shell, Parker determined that it had 214 rings, indicating that it dates back to 1809 – the same year that President Abraham Lincoln was born. As a result, the clam was fittingly dubbed “Abrer-clam Lincoln”.
These clams are often harvested to eat and that is exactly what Parker was looking to do with it, thinking he’d get at least two servings of chowder out of the giant mollusk. “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,” he told the Tallahassee Democrat.
According to the report, rather than keeping it, he brought the clam to the laboratory where he is employed. Aber-clam Lincoln was drawing approximately 100 visitors per day, but caretakers at the facility returned it to the Gulf of Mexico last week.