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Author Topic: What's Old Is New: 12 Living Fossils  (Read 1094 times)

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Offline The OverlordTopic starter

What's Old Is New: 12 Living Fossils
« on: December 06, 2008, 05:03:18 PM »

Absolutely incredible, some of these I did not know about. Every time I see an article like this, my attention is veered to the ideas of our robotic landers finding microbes, past or present, in the Martian soil, or drilling through the ice of Jupiter's moon Europa to find dark and alien things swimming down there.

Based on what we have just here, clearly sci-fi has left us unprepared for the real alien life, when we finally find it. To quote Carl Sagan, we will know what else is possible.

http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/12/whats-old-is-ne.html?npu=1&mbid=yhp


Offline Oniya

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Re: What's Old Is New: 12 Living Fossils
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2008, 05:19:35 PM »
I was a little disappointed that they didn't mention the coolest thing about horseshoe crabs:  They don't have an iron-based blood - it's copper-based, and therefore green.

Offline The OverlordTopic starter

Re: What's Old Is New: 12 Living Fossils
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2008, 05:39:42 PM »

Yeah good point. I think in the cultural consciousness this is something best associated with sci-fi. Star Trek established very early on that Vulcans, or Vulcanians as they were first called, had green copper-based blood.

The reality is even more interesting, as this is anything but fiction.  :)

Offline Oniya

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Re: What's Old Is New: 12 Living Fossils
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2008, 05:53:25 PM »
There is actually one Star Trek novel (it might have been 'Enterprise, the First Venture') where Spock is visiting Earth and contemplating a horseshoe crab.

Offline Kelvered

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Re: What's Old Is New: 12 Living Fossils
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2008, 02:21:05 AM »
I think I have found my newest favorite animal in the mantis shrimp. Beautiful, highly skilled, and deadly, a very enticing combination.

And I was not aware that other creatures besides therian mammals were capable of vivipary... or even the word itself before I started to do some digging. Thank you for this.

Offline The OverlordTopic starter

Re: What's Old Is New: 12 Living Fossils
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2008, 03:51:02 AM »

Actually, having seen the picture of that mantis shrimp, picking it up is the last thing on my mind. Some things you just have to admire from afar and that's the end of it. I'm not so sure I'd go and call it beautiful...compellingly terrifying might be more accurate. Nonetheless it's an amazing creature.

Safe to say vivipary is a fairly obscure term in most circles; I've never once heard it used to describe our own method of procreation. But a creature of this class wouldn't seem capable of it.

...but then, something this ancient and exotic, just what class does it belong to? These things were old when the first dinosaurs stood up, and that's mind boggling.  :-\

Offline Oniya

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Re: What's Old Is New: 12 Living Fossils
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2008, 10:16:38 AM »
Actually, having seen the picture of that mantis shrimp, picking it up is the last thing on my mind. Some things you just have to admire from afar and that's the end of it. I'm not so sure I'd go and call it beautiful...compellingly terrifying might be more accurate. Nonetheless it's an amazing creature.

William Blake might disagree, but 'Mantis shrimp, Mantis shrimp / Burning bright' just doesn't scan.

Quote
Safe to say vivipary is a fairly obscure term in most circles; I've never once heard it used to describe our own method of procreation.

Not outside of Huxley's Brave New World, and I had to look it up that time, too.  Technically, there are some plants that are viviparous - the seeds sprout while still attached to the parent plant, then drop off.  Mangroves are a good example.

Offline Kelvered

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Re: What's Old Is New: 12 Living Fossils
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2008, 04:00:05 PM »
Actually, having seen the picture of that mantis shrimp, picking it up is the last thing on my mind. Some things you just have to admire from afar and that's the end of it. I'm not so sure I'd go and call it beautiful...compellingly terrifying might be more accurate. Nonetheless it's an amazing creature.

Do not misunderstand, I would not dare pick it up. If I am to trust Wikipedia, it strikes with a force of fifteen hundred joules. You might as well stick your hand in front of a rifle bullet.

Quote
Safe to say vivipary is a fairly obscure term in most circles; I've never once heard it used to describe our own method of procreation. But a creature of this class wouldn't seem capable of it.

...but then, something this ancient and exotic, just what class does it belong to? These things were old when the first dinosaurs stood up, and that's mind boggling.  :-\

I found the word interesting and rare enough to share.

Offline Zakharra

Re: What's Old Is New: 12 Living Fossils
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2008, 12:47:51 AM »
 OOohh..  that is interesting.