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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: Tulip-Shaped Creature Found in Canadian Rockies
24 January 2012 10:52 am
If you could tiptoe through the Middle Cambrian Burgess Shale in the Canadian Rockies 500 million years ago, you'd come across a tulip-shaped sea creature that defies classification. The 20-centimeter-long animal, given the name Siphusauctum gregarium (Latin for "cup-shaped, gregarious herd member"), was first discovered in 1983. A detailed description was not attempted until now, however, until a Canadian graduate student took interest in it. Siphusauctum's unusual shape and structure has no direct counterparts with any other organisms (fossil, left; artist's impression, right). It sported a long stem and bulbous cup-like structure, or calyx, near its top, which enclosed a unique filter feeding system and gut, according to an analysis of more than 1000 fossils reported this month in PLoS ONE. A small disc at the base of the stem anchored the animal to the sea floor, as the animal ate algae or pieces of detritus in the water. Siphusauctum lived in large clusters, so researchers nicknamed the region of the shale in which it was found Tulip Beds. It is not the only peculiar organism in phylogenetic limbo found in the Burgess Shale, however. Twenty other so-called "problematica" have eluded classification.
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