World's Oldest European Eel Dies at 155
Ale the Eel was a European eel, like this one.Visuals Unlimited/Corbis
There was mournful news out of Sweden with the announcement that the world's oldest known European eel had passed away recently at the age of 155, after living through two world wars, the Cold War, disco, punk, grunge, and the advent of the Internet.
'Ale' the Eel was thrown into the well of a cottage in the town of Brantevik in 1859, by a young boy who was merely following the common practice at the time of putting eels in wells so they would eat any insects that might contaminate the water source.
Ale had outsized eyes, the better to live in constant darkness, and it was a longtime celebrity of sorts in Sweden.
"It was uncanny when we took off the lid and saw it in pieces. It had apparently been there for a while and had basically boiled," Thomas Kjellman, current owner of the cottage, told Sweden's The Local.
European eels, currently considered critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, typically max out at just a few feet long, and they usually live for around 10 to 20 years. The Local reports that Ale's remains will undergo expert analysis, in hopes more can be learned about its spectacular longevity.