Clam That Was ‘Extinct’ Has Been Found Alive

Two clams, known as Cymatioa cookae, were recently found alive.

Scientists recently discovered clams that they thought were extinct. The clam, known as Cymatioa cookae, is a small mollusk. Mollusks are soft organisms that do not have backbones. Some mollusks are protected by hard shells. Clams have a shell with two halves connected by a hinge. Two muscles, one on each shell, keep the shell closed. Clams have a strong, muscular ‘foot’ that pushes out of the shell. They use it to move and bury themselves in sand and mud.

Cymatioa cookae was found hiding in a rocky area off the coast of southern California. The area is a popular shell-collecting spot. Researchers often search the shore for marine life to study. Some animals are hard to find because they are so small. In April, a scientist discovered shells in the water. He observed an extended, white-striped foot coming from the clam. More research is being done to learn why the clams left southern California. They are also researching how they returned.

What Do You Think? The coast of California is a great place to find shells. Research other interesting finds and discuss with a partner.

Photo Credit: Jeffrey H. R. Goddard