He discovered a clam most likely born in 1809; named it ‘Abra-clam Lincoln’


Blaine Parker was once gathering clams along with his circle of relatives on a Florida seashore with the goal of turning his catches into chowder. Then he stumbled upon one thing that surprised him: a reputedly centuries-old quahog clam.

Parker, an AmeriCorps member on the Gulf Specimen Marine Lab in Panacea, Fla., close to Tallahassee, spends his days learning shellfish. This one he encountered on Feb. 18 left him speechless.

He was once struck through its measurement, which indicated its age, he mentioned. Normally, the bigger the clam, the older it’s. Maximum quahog clams present in U.S. waters are between 2.8 and four.3 inches lengthy, even supposing they may be able to develop better.

“I’ve observed that species of clam, however by no means one that gigantic and even with reference to that gigantic,” mentioned Parker, 23, explaining that the common quahog weighs about part a pound and that his discovery was once 2.6 kilos and 6 inches lengthy.

As timber do, clam shells shape every year expansion rings. Parker counted the exterior rings with a fingernail and reached 214 — which means the clam would were born in 1809, similar to Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth U.S. president.

Parker made up our minds to call his discovery “Abra-clam Lincoln.” Folks on social media liked it.

Even supposing some quahogs are living for centuries, “the vast majority of them are deceased between 30 and 40 years,” Parker mentioned, including that recognizing this actual species at Alligator Level, which is at the Gulf of Mexico, additionally was once strange.

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He decided that Abra-clam was once a part of the mercenaria campechiensis species, often referred to as the southern quahog.

“Our house of Florida has the slowest expansion charge of the entire gulf inhabitants, which is lovely cool,” Parker mentioned, explaining that southern quahog clams are typically discovered between the Chesapeake Bay and the West Indies.

He regarded as consuming the clam. It could make a perfect addition to the ceremonial dinner he was once cooking that weekend, he concept, and the shells can be big enough to make use of as bowls.

“On the time, we have been making plans to make a chowder out of it, however we thought of the truth that it most certainly was once particular,” mentioned Parker, who saved the shellfish in a bucket of water. “We made up our minds to not consume it, and I introduced it to paintings on Monday.”

His colleagues, he mentioned, have been overjoyed through his discovery.

“They have been all simply as excited as I used to be, as a result of we’re all marine science nerds,” he mentioned. “It was once a gorgeous cool day.”

Jack Rudloe, who co-founded the Gulf Specimen Marine Lab in 1963, was once inspired.

“It’s reasonably uncommon to seek out them,” he mentioned.

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Rudloe gave kudos to Parker for bobbing up with a catchy title for the clam, which Parker mentioned surely led to other folks to have in mind of a mollusk to which they differently wouldn’t give a 2nd concept.

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“It’s in reality stunning. I didn’t suppose it might be this standard,” mentioned Parker, who spent a number of days doing analysis at the clam. “I by no means anticipated this to explode up to it did.”

“What’s in reality attention-grabbing about this species is that they’re simply extraordinarily difficult. They are able to live to tell the tale a very long time out of water,” he mentioned. “They were given their title ‘mercenaria’ as a result of Local American citizens would if truth be told use them as forex.”

In his analysis, Parker additionally discovered that he could have miscalculated Abra-clam’s age. Quite than counting the outdoor bands, he discovered that he had to rely the inside of bands to decide its true lifetime — which will require killing the animal. Additional research led Parker to are expecting that the clam is between 107 and 214 years previous, however one clam professional he later consulted suspected that Abra-clam Lincoln could be even more youthful.

“We could have been off to start with, however general, there’s no actual telling the precise age of that clam with out killing it,” mentioned Cypress Rudloe, the manager director of Gulf Specimen Marine Lab and Jack Rudloe’s son.

“On the finish of the day,” Cypress Rudloe persisted, “I’m extremely pleased with Blaine. Simply so that you could get the eye to marine lifestyles on a countrywide degree like that is outright superb.”

Irrespective of how previous the marine animal is, Parker made up our minds its title must stay Abra-clam Lincoln, as a result of it’s what made the shellfish a star of varieties.

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“It’s inspiring to look this many of us fascinated by marine science on this capability,” he mentioned. “It feels just right.”

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Parker additionally made up our minds that Abra-clam Lincoln must be set loose. On Feb. 24, lower than every week after he discovered the shellfish, he launched it into the sea.

“I decided that it was once too particular to let it die in captivity or be made into soup,” Parker mentioned. “I felt significantly better turning it unfastened.”

Supply By way of https://www.washingtonpost.com/way of life/2023/03/11/clam-quahog-abraclam-lincoln-florida/