NEW FEATURE: VOTE & EARN NEATOPOINTS!
Submit your own Neatorama post and vote for others' posts to earn NeatoPoints that you can redeem for T-shirts, hoodies and more over at the NeatoShop!


Missing Link in Worm Evolution Found


Illustration: Marianne Collins

What does the image above remind you of? I know! Acorns, right? That's how researchers found the evolutionary missing link of the modern-day acorn worm, a wee invertebrate that live on the seabed.

Because they lack hard bones, soft-bodied marine animals aren't typically well preserved in fossils, but a specimen was found in the early 1900s in the fossil-rich area of Burgess Shale, Canada. While past researchers in the Smithsonian staff missed the connection, evolutionary biologist Jean-Bernard Caron didn't dick around when it comes to realizing that this was the missing evolutionary link:

... [Caron] “stumbled on drawers full of these worms” at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. “I said, ‘Oh my gosh.’ I noticed a lot of these worms in bizarre-shaped rings, like mini Michelin tires in the rock,” said Caron, a co-author of the study.

After Caron and colleagues looked more closely at the fossils, they realized the newfound worm “really connects a lot of dots” in the evolution of hemichordates.

Get loads more info over at this piece by Christine Dell'Amore over at Neational Geographic's Weird & Wild blog: Link


Colonel: What is it, son?
Johnson: I don't know, sir, but it looks like a giant--
[cut to the sky in two jets]
Jet Pilot: Dick!
Dick: Yeah?
Pilot: Take a look outta starboard.
Dick: Oh, my God! It looks like a huge--
[cut to a forest with 2 birdwatchers]
Bird-Watching Woman: Pecker!
Bird-Watching Man: [raises his binoculars] Oh, where?
Bird-Watching Woman: Wait! that's not a woodpecker. It looks like someone's--
[cut to a boot camp]
Army Sergeant: PRIVATES! We have reports of an unidentified flying object! It is a long, smooth shaft, complete with--
[cut to a baseball game]
Umpire: 2 balls! [looks up from game] What is that? That looks just like an enormous--
[cut to a Chinese school]
Teacher: Wang! Pay attention!
Wang: I was distracted by that enormous flying--
[cut to a concert with Willie Nelson and another guitarist]
Musician: Willie.
Willie: Yeah?
Musician: What's that?
Willie: [looks up] Well, it looks like a giant--
[cut back to headquarters]
Colonel: Johnson!
Johnson: Yes, sir!
Colonel: Get on the horn to British Intelligence and let them know about this!
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
  2 replies
Login to comment.
Click here to access all of this post's 7 comments
Email This Post to a Friend
"Missing Link in Worm Evolution Found"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.

 

Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
 
Learn More