NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Federal scientists say they have found 2,000-year-old coral about 20 miles from the busted BP well that leaked millions of gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

The U.S. Geological Survey said Wednesday that it was the first time that the age of the black coral had been validated.

The ancient slow-growing corals were found about 21 miles northeast of the BP well about 1,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf.

USGS scientist Nancy Prouty says the corals extremely old and slow-growing. She says scientists are looking at whether the ancient coral had been damaged by the BP spill.