While hunting for shellfish to make chowder, a Florida man came across an abnormally large quahog clam, a mollusk now believed to be 214 years old – the same age as Abraham Lincoln.
During their walk along Alligator Point in the Florida Panhandle on February 18, Blaine Parker and his family stumbled upon a giant quahog, the massive mollusk weighing a staggering 2.6 pounds. The clam was so large, in fact, that Parker could barely hold the creature with one hand.
Parker’s first thought was to eat the sea critter. After all, this one was large enough to feed two people and had a shell large enough to double as two bowls. On second thought, however, he decided that if a chowder aficionado such as himself had never seen a clam this large, it was probably a pretty remarkable find.
“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,” Parker told the Tallahassee Democrat.
Instead of adding it to his next batch of chowder, Parker took the mollusk to Florida’s Gulf Specimen Marine Lab, where he works as a specimen collector. There, they took exact measurements of the colossal clam.
Monstrous Florida Mollusk Five Times Heavier Than the Average Clam
Most quahogs range from 2.8 to 4.3 inches in length, tipping the scales at just half a pound at most. Meanwhile, the Florida man’s find measured 6 inches in length and 2.6 pounds, five times heavier than a typical large clam.
Counting the rings on its shell, similar to a tree’s rings, scientists discovered it was approximately 214 years old. According to the Florida research center, however, a typical ocean quahog can live upwards of 200 years, so Aber-clam isn’t quite as unusual as it seems. Its size is the only true shock factor.
As with any animal rescue or rare discovery, the mollusk needed a name. But what do you name a clam? Well, if experts’ calculations are correct, the clam would have been born in 1809, the same year as Abraham Lincoln. As such, they gave it the whimsical name, Aber-clam Lincoln.
Thanks to its truly unbelievable size, Aber-clam Lincoln has been drawing up to 100 visitors a day.
As it turns out, Blaine Parker was probably right to opt not to eat the giant find. Wildlife experts say that clams are commercially eaten at the age of 20, when they’re young and tender. The 200-year-old Florida clam likely would have tasted its age.
After a few days in the research center, scientists released the “majestic” mollusk back into the waters of Florida. The clam is now back in its “natural habitat where he was found, so that he may live a full life without much human disruption.”