Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Planimal? Newly described Antarctic confusers...

From Discovery News, check these out:

   (Tauroprimnoa austasensis (A) and Digitogorgia kuekenthali (B).
Credit: Zapata-Guardiola and López-González)

They are gorgonians (a.k.a. sea whips or sea fans), colonial animals made up of little polyps connected to one another, forming some pretty intricate structures, including the above. Six new species were recently described in the journals Polar Biology and Scientia Marina.

Really stretches the brain re: what is an animal.

The one on the left particularly freaks me out--SO plant-like. Trippy.

I still remember a biology teacher talking about how sponges are an animal that is so simple, you can push one through a sieve, and it'll reassemble into a sponge. I swear he almost rolled his eyes. As in, "This is an animal? Really?"

And I remember they (most of them) function like a living siphon. Their "to do" list every day is: suck water in, shoot it out; repeat. Very basic creature.

Anyhow, back to the gorgonians, newly described members of the planet Earth: welcome to the world of the named!


P.S. Thanks to my SIL on the east coast for the heads up!

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Cool people write inside rectangles....