What was it?

February 22, 2012 • 3:46 am

As several savvy readers guessed, the photo in the previous post was of a polychaete annelid (worm) taken from the area around deep-sea hydrothermal vents.  Here are a few other species (I don’t have the Latin binomials), and you can see more pictures here.

They’re visions from a nightmare, but they also inspired in me the sentiment expressed by Richard in the previous thread: “Isn’t evolution wonderful!”

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

35 thoughts on “What was it?

  1. This certainly cheered me up after wasting valuable seconds reading John Gray’s nonsensical review of de Botton’s book in New Statesman.

  2. Wow cool, I had a few photos of Nereis and they looked fierce, these are even better to show to children. Jawed worms are the stuff of nightmares. Have these been described?

    They don’t just look fierce, there’s this sort of real urban legend in the saltwater aquarium hobby of eunicids entering by accident mixed with rocks, and then slicing and killing all the fish.

      1. Wow! I thought they’d only be small, like garden worms. But I see [Wp] some can be up to 3m/10ft long… (shudder). Take a couple of orders of magnitude off my earlier comment…


        1. They get even bigger! Some pictures of a 4m worm sent to me for identification, I wish I had seen it in person. It appears to be a Eunice sp. or “bobbit worm”. They found it when cleaning a culture tank for aquaria “live rock”. A bit surprised they attacked it with a shovel, you can see the bits on the ground.




      2. One thing I’ve wanted to know since I first saw that article: how do they know that the bristles cause permanent numbness?

        There’s one method that immediately comes to mind, and it’s not pleasant.

        1. Which provokes the question, would homosexuals have analogous (in one case similar) ‘urban’ nightmares?

      1. It must be all that time I spent in the STD clinic that has done this to my brain.

        Working. Time working there.

        Job. It was my job to work there. In the STD clinic.

      2. It’s actually a pretty cool dream. Think about it; less surprise sex in the world & a woman could eat a sandwich while she has a spare mouth for fellatio. Get to it evolution!

        1. Generally our bodies are dual (or more) users of body openings.

          I mean, what intelligent designer would route breathing through the same tract as eating and speaking? Now I have to settle for doing one thing at a time.

          So yes, evolution could elaborate on many things.

  3. This really illustrates how much better nature is at visuals than we are.

    In sound, human music far outstrips anything that nature can do. Nothing in nature can even begin to compare to Bach or Pink Floyd.

    However, in visuals, human art is similarly way behind nature. Bizarre surrealist paintings? Polychaete Annelids beat them hands down. Grand sculptures and architecture? Mountains kick sand in their faces and laugh at them.

  4. I posted that first pic on Pinterest last night and it’s already had 9 repins, many more than other pics I’ve posted!

    It’s kind of reminiscent of the critters in Dune and Tremors … give or take several orders of magnitude.


  5. Yup – evolution is fantastic!
    (but – can we change the subject now? I like ponies and butterflies – and corvids and owls and beautiful snakes for instance. Anyone?)

    1. Yup – the link 404’s – but I clicked the banner-picture above and found the Scientific Americaan-blog Artful Amoebae. Fun stuff (And snails only almost qualify as a new subject 😉 , but thanks for the try)

  6. Ok, I had them, they look better in color.

    I knew I recognized that face. The «beautiful» one is Nereis sandersi.

    The first one is the proboscis of Lepidonotopodium piscesae.

    The third one is the proboscis of Lepidonotopodium williansae.

  7. To be fair, these were taken before they got their makeup on. I’m not too judgmental. My driver’s license picture looks at least this bad, and I’m sure my new passport mug shot will earn me the attention of every security person from here to Tumbulgum. You’d have trouble discerning my species even with Google.

  8. Great pictures, and from the Daily Mail no less. They probably ran them right next to Dawkins picture in their recent character assassination attempt.

  9. expressed by Richard in the previous thread: “Isn’t evolution wonderful!”

    Rather grotesque if some of the christian gods got together and designed it but, yes, very wonderful and impressive as a product of the evolutionary processes.

    I would also like to thank Richard for adding the details about how he arrived at his guess, it helps to understand why.

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