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Dec 8 - Bizarre Creature Found in 200-Million-Year-Old Cocoon

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 Dec 8 - Bizarre Creature Found in 200-Million-Year-Old Cocoon
Unread 3 years agoclass of '06 - away - #1
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By Jeanna Bryner
About 200 million years ago, a leech released a slimy
mucous cocoon that unwittingly encased and trapped a bizarre animal with a springy tail, preserving it until researchers discovered the teardrop-shaped creature in Antarctica recently.

The cocoon looks like those produced by living leeches, such as the medicinal leech Hirudo medicinalis. Encased inside was a bell animal that looked similar to species in the genus Vorticella; its body extends 25 microns (about the width of some human hairs) with a tightly coiled stalk about twice that long. And like all eurkaryotes, the organism was equipped with a nucleus -- in this case, a large horseshoe-shaped nucleus inside the main body. (A micron is one-millionth of a meter.)

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This bell animal lived during the Late Triassic Period, when the Earth was much warmer, with dense rain forests flourishing along what is today the Transantarctic Mountain Range where it was found. At the time, Antarctica was part of the supercontinent Gondwana, though it was still located at high latitudes.
Past research has suggested this coiled stalk, which is used to attach to substrates, may be one of the fastest cellular engines known, changing from a telephone wire-like structure to a tight coil at a speed of about 8 centimeters (3.1 inches) per second -- the equivalent of a human being walking the across more than three football fields in one second. [See Photos of the Bizarre Vorticella Creature]

Preserving soft tissue

Possibly even more amazing is the fact that this soft-bodied, microscopic creature survived the vagaries of time. Preserving a soft-bodied organism like this one for so long is tricky and requires some outside intervention to keep the tissues from degrading. In this case, rather than tree resin (called amber when hardened) that preserved dino DNA in the bellies of amber-trapped mosquitoes in "Jurassic Park," a mucous cocoon did the trick.

"This preservation is quite bizarre, but soft-bodied organisms cannot usually become fossilized unless they are rapidly entombed in a medium that prevents further decay," study researcher and paleobotanist Benjamin Bomfleur, of the Biodiversity Institute at the University of Kansas, told LiveScience.

Here's how the researchers think the hasty preservation took place: "A leech secreted a mucous cocoon that was deposited under water or in wet leaf litter, somewhere in a river system which lay in present-day Antarctica," Bomfleur said. This bell animal must have used its long, rapidly contracting stalk to attach itself to the cocoon soon after, becoming trapped and completely encased by the still-slimy cocoon, which hardened over hours to days.

"The cocoon with the such-enclosed bell animal then was deposited in mud that over time turned into the sedimentary layer where we found it some 200 million years later," Bomfleur explained.

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The only other example of this type of preservation comes from a 125-million-year-old cocoon encasing a nematode worm and discovered in Svalbard.

Identifying the bizarre creature

When Bomfleur first noticed the tiny animal in samples he'd collected from Antarctica, he didn't know what he was looking at and didn't have time to consult with an expert in such microfossils, as he was working on his doctoral degree.

"Later this year, however, I finally found the time to look for someone with an expertise on freshwater microorganisms in order to get an expert opinion on the thing," Bomfleur said, adding he contacted Ojvind Moestrup of the University of Copenhagen.

Bomfleur recalled Moestrup looking at the fossil and saying, "It is often very hard or impossible to identify microfossils, but this one was easy. It is the ciliate Vorticella and the helical structure is the stalk."

Bomfleur and his colleagues detailed their research this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Bizarre Creature Found in 200-Million-Year-Old Cocoon : Discovery News
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4 peeps gave props to MentallyDisturb btl04 (12-10-2012) , Delbert Mengel (12-09-2012) , EnricoChiesa (12-10-2012) , hot topic  (12-09-2012)

49 comments for "Dec 8 - Bizarre Creature Found in 200-Million-Year-Old Cocoon"

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Unread 3 years agoclass of '05 - away - #2
Freemind 41 heat pts41 space
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This bell animal lived during the Late Triassic Period, when the Earth was much warmer, with dense rain forests flourishing along what is today the Transantarctic Mountain Range where it was found. At the time, Antarctica was part of the supercontinent Gondwana, though it was still located at high latitudes.
I thought the super continent was always called Pangia
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Unread 3 years agoclass of '07 - away - #3
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Freemind said:
I thought the super continent was always called Pangia
it kinda changed shape more than once if i remember correctly pangea was the last one before it broke up into pieces and continents
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Unread 3 years agoclass of '11 - away - #4
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200 million years?? seriously?

I dont believe that for a second. That ish could be a thousand years old or a hundred years old, these white people dont really know!
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Unread 3 years agoclass of '11 - away - #5
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HtownMike98 said:
200 million years?? seriously?

I dont believe that for a second. That ish could be a thousand years old or a hundred years old, these white people dont really know!
they know more than black people
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Unread 3 years agoclass of '10 - away - #6
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HtownMike98 said:
200 million years?? seriously?

I dont believe that for a second. That ish could be a thousand years old or a hundred years old, these edit: people dont really know!

Last edited by hungry01; 12-09-2012 at 10:49 AM..
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Unread 3 years agoclass of '06 - away - #7
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HtownMike98 said:
200 million years?? seriously?

I dont believe that for a second. That ish could be a thousand years old or a hundred years old, these white people dont really know!
hungry01 said:
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Unread 3 years agoclass of '08 - on now - #8
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HtownMike98 said:
200 million years?? seriously?

I dont believe that for a second. That ish could be a thousand years old or a hundred years old, these white people dont really know!
Carbon dating bud
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Unread 3 years agoclass of '06 - on now - #9
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cuddyduce said:
Carbon dating bud
was watching something the other day about carbon dating and how it may not be accurate because the c-14 they use to measure could have been way different back then and giving an inaccurate result


look it up i'm sure you'll find something on it. It was a legit scientist speaking on it that wasn't trying to discredit it or anything...was just explaining how they do it and how it may not be accurate after a certain amount of time
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Unread 3 years agoclass of '12 - away - #10
nivrigawin  space
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200 million years?? funny how a microscopic creature can make you feel small...
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Unread 3 years agoclass of '04 - away - #11
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WillieMaysHayes said:
they know more than black people


STFU&GTFOH These crackaz still don't know how WE yes WE built the Pyramids!

And don't bother with the Egyptians weren't black BS. That ain't no Middle East, that b*tch is AFRICA and back then, WAY BEFORE INTEGRATION, dem nigg*z was JET BLACK! Hence why when they finished making 'em, they built a big a.ss negro Sphinx at the entrance!

[pic - click to view]

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Unread 3 years agoclass of '05 - on now - #12
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WillieMaysHayes said:
they know more than black people
lets save the racist talk for the another day

this always turns into a rabbit hole of self hate
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Unread 3 years agoclass of '05 - on now - #13
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cormega74 said:


STFU&GTFOH These crackaz still don't know how WE yes WE built the Pyramids!

And don't bother with the Egyptians weren't black BS. That ain't no Middle East, that b*tch is AFRICA and back then, WAY BEFORE INTEGRATION, dem nigg*z was JET BLACK! Hence why when they finished making 'em, they built a big a.ss negro Sphinx at the entrance!

[pic - click to view]

we all came from the same place brother go back as far as you want.. its already known blacks are gods chosen people, the true israelites
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Unread 3 years agoclass of '04 - away - #14
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HtownMike98 said:
200 million years?? seriously?

I dont believe that for a second. That ish could be a thousand years old or a hundred years old, these white people dont really know!
Why does it always have to turn into a color or race thing with Your people???

Back to the topic at hand. sh*t is crazy it was preserved this long.
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Unread 3 years agoclass of '05 - away - #15
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cormega74 said:


STFU&GTFOH These crackaz still don't know how WE yes WE built the Pyramids!

And don't bother with the Egyptians weren't black BS. That ain't no Middle East, that b*tch is AFRICA and back then, WAY BEFORE INTEGRATION, dem nigg*z was JET BLACK! Hence why when they finished making 'em, they built a big a.ss negro Sphinx at the entrance!

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blah blah blah aliens built the pyramids darkie.
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Unread 3 years agoclass of '11 - away - #16
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cormega74 said:


STFU&GTFOH These crackaz still don't know how WE yes WE built the Pyramids!

And don't bother with the Egyptians weren't black BS. That ain't no Middle East, that b*tch is AFRICA and back then, WAY BEFORE INTEGRATION, dem nigg*z was JET BLACK! Hence why when they finished making 'em, they built a big a.ss negro Sphinx at the entrance!

[pic - click to view]



The Nubian Pharaohs


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Unread 3 years agoclass of '09 - away - #17
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WillieMaysHayes said:
they know more than black people

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Unread 3 years agoclass of '07 - away - #18
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i hate when there's some supposedly cool sh*t but the photo of it is totally underwhelming
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Unread 3 years agoclass of '12 - away - #19
Game Of Knicks 464 heat pts464 space
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the way i see it..... life is out there.... and at some point there was life on other planets....
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Unread 3 years agoclass of '05 - away - #20
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donmeca2020 said:
Why does it always have to turn into a color or race thing with Your people???
.............what do you mean......YOUR people.....?
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