A New Branch On The Tree Of Life

Scientists have discovered a new life form that defies the current organization of life on earth.  Fitting into none of the established animal kingdoms, the multi-cellular “sea mushroom” has researchers and taxonomists scratching their heads.  The organism measures a few millimeters in size and originally were found on a research expedition in 1986.  The creatures were retrieved from waters between Australia and Tasmania at a depth 400 to 1000 meters below the ocean surface. Researchers from the University of Copenhagen made the discovery while sorting through the specimens collected on the 1986 journey.  For the time being, scientists have named the two different specimens Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides.

Mushroom

(Image Credit: BBC)

Mushroom

(Image Credit: BBC)

The biologists saw some similarity between the Dendrogramma samples and sea sponges and comb jellies but they did not fit their descriptions entirely.

Read more about the discover at the BBC.

 

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