A clam that lived on the seabed in the frigid waters off Iceland's north coast has been hailed as the longest-lived animal ever discovered.

The mollusc, which is thought to have lurked beneath the waves until at least the age of 405, would have been a juvenile when Galileo picked up his first telescope, Hamlet was first staged and the gunpowder plot failed to blow up King James I...

The clam was alive when it was brought to the surface, but at that point, the researchers had no idea how old it was. Only after cutting through the shell and counting annual growth rings under a microscope did they date the mollusc to between 405 to 410 years old... Dr Wanamaker said he believed the clam had survived so long because fisheries and predators were so few in the region. In some parts, clam populations have been wiped out through overfishing, while marine predators, including cod, seals and wolf fish also take a hefty toll.

I guess the toll taken from researchers shouldn't be underestimated either, huh?