Unicellular Dudes Upset Evolutionary Apple Cart

Posted: April 3rd, 2009 in marine life, nature, science
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The giant deep sea protist, Gromia sphaerica, approaches three large cup corals growing on a half-buried sea urchin. Credit: Mikhail Matz, the University of Texas at Austin“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. […]”

So begins this brief but fascinating article on the discovery of what just may be the world’s largest unicellular organism… the Gromia sphaerica.

So, why are these little blobs extra cool? As if their size wasn’t enough? Well, these little dudes are going to rewrite evolution’s timeline, you see, and that’s exactly the sort of thing I like, as it reminds us all that we really don’t know a whole hell of a lot about what went down in the past… scientific dogmas and egos notwithstanding.

It would appear that “time,” evolution-wise, is going to get shifted back in a big way… back 1.8 billion years, in fact. Ha! I love that.

It’s been said many times that we know more about the Moon than we do about what’s lurking in the oceans deep… and since we don’t know all that much about the Moon… well… there you go. Nearly every single time folks go down into the depths new lifeforms like these strange creatures are revealed and most assuredly that will continue ’till the end of time. 

I think it’s wonderful… and I’d like to see every submersible go down every single day… because you can just never learn enough new stuff.

  1. Anthony O'Neal says:

    The finding means that certain trails 1.8 billion years old could have been made by single-celled organisms. It doesn’t “shift” time 1.8 billion years back. That’s absurd.

    • iggymak says:

      Thanks, Anthony. Yes, but now they have to recalculate what they claim the timeline is for the evolution of all sorts of creatures, if these fellows were around that long ago. I probably should have worded the post a bit differently… not enough coffee or nutrients of late, so, sorry about that. I’m in agreement with you. That is actually how it was intended to be interpreted. Sigh.

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