Surfing The Wierd

Friday, April 10, 2009

Big Blobs-Giant Protozoans

Big Blobs Change View of Evolution


By Sarah Hoffman, Natural History Magazine

posted: 28 March 2009 10:26 am ET

On a submersible dive off the Bahamas, Mikhail V. Matz of the University of Texas at Austin and several colleagues were seeking big-eyed, glowing animals adapted to darkness.

Yet as they cruised above the seafloor, the team was distracted by hundreds of bizarre, sediment-coated balls the size of grapes. Each sat at the end of a sinuous track in the seafloor ooze. Indeed, the balls appeared to have made the tracks; some even seemed to have rolled upslope.

The team collected specimens and identified the creatures as giant protozoans, Gromia sphaerica, each one a single large cell with an organic shell, or "test." When cleaned of sediment, the test feels like grape skin, but squishier, Matz says.

Surprisingly, the tracks on the Bahamian seafloor resemble grooves found in sedimentary rocks formed as long as 1.8 billion years ago. The ancient grooves, bisected by a low ridge, had constituted the only evidence that multicellular, bilaterally symmetrical animals, such as worms, might have evolved so early in Earth's history.

Matz's discovery [of modern tracks apparently left by G. sphaerica] suggests that protozoans could have made those fossil traces rather than more advanced animals, which probably appeared much later. The next earliest evidence of multicellularity and bilateralism in animals occurs in fossils 580 million and 542 million years old, respectively.

G. sphaerica are rhizopods, an ancient protozoan group. Matz is planning further studies of the species, about which little is known.

The findings were detailed in the journal Current Biology in November.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Russian Creatures Resembling Horse Shoe Crabs. Photos: Russian Creature found in abandoned pit. All photos Horse Shoe Crabs below (photos from internet): Compare to Russian Creatures above wierd creature These weird creatures (top photos)were found in an abandoned foundation pit in the Russian city of Chelyabinsk. They bear a remarkable resemblance to the familiar horse shoe crab (lower set of photos). The tails of the creatures appear thicker and longer than that of horse shoe crabs, and there seems to be a difference in the shell formation. However, there are several different species of horse shoe crabs and I cannot find photos of each specie. Is this a horse shoe crab variant? Horse shoe crabs apparently come out of the sea only to procreate and bury their eggs in sand. Is there saline intertidal sand flats near the foundation pit so that the creatures bent on mating could have fallen into it? OR -- are these some sort of mutated horse shoe crab resulting from radiation poisoning from Chernobyl or other sources? (A serious nuclear accident occurred in 1957 at the Mayak nuclear fuel reprocessing plant, 150 km north-west of the city, caused deaths in Chelyabinsk Oblast but not in the city. The province was closed to all foreigners until 1992. - wikipedia)


Mystery Sea Creature Washed Ashore

Hellish hairy sea monster cast ashore

A strange ugly sea monster was cast ashore in Guinea. I have been unable to locate any real news about this creature. Various sites have described it as a decomposed juvenile whale, somewhat shredded by sea creatures scavaging it and causing it to look "hairy". It would seem that on site observers and scientists who alleged to have seen similar creatures would be able to distinguish shredded flesh from hair.