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Viral Video Shows Clam 'Eating' Salt Off Kitchen Table With Giant 'Tongue' -- Here's What It's Really Doing


"...trying to dig itself back home."

Over the weekend, a YouTube video was posted showing what is believed to be proof that clams "like" salt. The experiment shows a clam sitting on a wooden kitchen table sprinkled with regular table salt. Soon, what many took to be the clam's tongue emerges to take up the seasoning. Fascinating, right?

The hypothesis that if you put a clam on a table with salt and an organ resembling a tongue comes out to suck on the salt, then clams must like salt, seems to be supported if you take the video at face value. But not so fast. Many experts have since weighed in on the footage to set the record straight -- or simply remind you what you may have learned years ago in high school biology.

Before we get into what is really going on here, watch it for yourself:

Business Insider, smelling something fishy with the assumption that the clam was lapping up the salt, asked marine biologist Hans Ulrick Riisgård from the Marine Biological Research Centre in Denmark about what was really happening.

"The poor clam on the kitchen table sticks out its muscular foot in a vain attempt to dig itself into the sediment where it normally lives," Riisgård told Business Insider. "The salt on the table just sticks to the wet foot but is not eaten by the clam which is a suspension-feeder."

Another marine researcher from the University of Sydney, Brian Bayne, is reported as saying the clam is really just trying to survive.

"This clam, stranded on someone's floor, is trying to dig itself back home."

The New Statesman (via Yahoo! News) has more fun facts on the clam gleaned from its own research:

Based on extensive wikipedia research years of clamology, I believe this to be a clam of the species Arctica islandica, commonly known as the Ocean Quahog, which can be found all along the east cost of the US. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, specimens have been known to live for 225 years.

Wondering how clams really feed? According to the University of California-Berkeley, clams, which are bivalve mollusks, are filter feeders. Clams open their shells and filter algae and other particles through "gills" as they pass through with the water's current.

Image of clam dissection via BlacksPVbiology.

(H/T: Boing Boing)

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