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Friday, January 03, 2014

Something to file … um … away

Today’s amazing scientific fact comes from a Scientific American blog:

The entire group of organisms known as Rhombozoa—or Dicyemida—compose a full phylum of animals (as Chordata is the phylum for all vertebrates) unto themselves. Nevertheless they have only been found in the kidneys of cephalopods. Chew on that for a second; if we were to lose a little class of (albeit it really cool) animals, the cephalopods, along with it might also vanish an entire phylum of dependent critters.

This, of course, leads to many questions I don’t know the answer to, such as:

1. How many more phyla are out there that we haven’t noticed yet?

2. How did these evolve? Were they once more widespread and ended up in this locational dead end, or …?

3. How many similar phyla might there have been, which disappeared when their host went extinct?

Anatomy

Courtesy of Wikipedia, I have this information, and a picture:

Adult dicyemids range in length from 0.5 to 7 millimetres (0.020 to 0.28 in), and they can be easily viewed through a light microscope.[6] They display eutely, a condition in which each adult individual of a given species has the same number of cells, making cell number a useful identifying character.

The organism's structure is simple: a single axial cell is surrounded by a jacket of twenty to thirty ciliated cells. The anterior region of the organism is termed a calotte and functions to attach the parasite to folds on the surface of its host's renal appendages