April 13th, 2008

House - Sweet sassy

Whale lice

I went and watched Dolphins and Whales in 3D yesterday. Reminded me of a creepy that I almost forgot about...

The Whale louse is a parasitic crustacean of the family Cyamidae, the only family in the infraorder Cyamida. It is related to the better-known skeleton shrimp, most species of which are found in shallower waters.

Whale lice are external parasites, found in skin lesions, genital folds, nostrils, and eyes of marine mammals of the order Cetacea. These include not only whales but dolphins and porpoises as well.

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chris chan

dumping subway cars in the ocean is a good thing i guess

Future home for fishies

The setup certainly doesn't make it sound positive: The Redbird Reef off the coast of Slaughter Beach, Delaware is a dump site for retired New York City subway cars, and there are already nearly 700 of them on the ocean floor. Before you cry foul, consider the words of Jeff Tinsman, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control's artificial reef program manager, who told the New York Times: "They’re basically luxury condominiums for fish."

Who would have thought that subway cars on the ocean floor would encourage fish to congregate? Rather than abandon the structures, fish are moving in at such a rate that the program is trying to provide more cars. What's more, the program is also facing competition from other states after its impressive success, as the city of New York offers the cars for free.

pretty little sauce

Ok, sooooo what do you guys think of this? Do you think this 'artificial reef' is a good thing or a bad thing?

stromatolites, the common ancestor of all life on earth

Say hi to your great great great great great great great (okay it goes on for a while but I'm going to stop here, just imagine a lot of greats) grandparents. Well actually, say hi to their fossils:

This is an ancient stromatolite, one that dates back to the pre-cambrian from Glacier National Park. A stromatolite is a fossil formation made up of striations where ancient cyanobacteria left secretions that allowed sediments to collect in the mucus, and eventually form fossils there. Modern stromatolites form in much the same way. These cyanobacteria of the pre-cambrian are awesome in two respects:

1. They are the common ancestor of ALL life on earth. Everything, EVERYTHING started from these little guys just sitting there all the live long day munching on water, carbon dioxide and light and living the good life in the primordial soup billions of years ago.

2. They are responsible for the oxygenation of our entire planet. All of that photosynthesizing is what provided all of the oxygen in our atmosphere, which resulted in the cambrian explosion that would get the earth moving towards complex organisms. Thanks cyanobacteria!

Unfortunately because more complex creatures will tend to eat the mats of bacteria, these sort of organisms are more rare now. We don't have concrete biological evidence that the stromatolites from that period were also biologically produced by the cyanobacteria that created our oxygen rich atmosphere 3.5 billion years ago, but do have the biological evidence of the creation of ones from 2.8 billion years ago. The structure and appearance of the stromatolites from those two eras are just about identical, and so Occam's razor says that those from the earlier period can confirm these theories about conditions on early Earth. Feel free to read more, as it's always so interesting to see how unusual and "boring" fossils have told us so much about how our planet and all life on earth was formed!

Heh, I've always said I want to eventually buy a piece of ancient stromatolite and mount it in a frame with a little placard that says "Our Ancestors" on it or something, and put it up with the rest of the family photos just for perspective. :3