Daily Illuminator

May 6, 2017: Illuminated Site of the Week: Arenít Unicorns More . . . Fluffy?

Illuminated Site of the Week:

Called the unicorn of mollusks, the long-sought, living-giant shipworm has been corralled. The three-foot black critter in a shell, once found only as dead specimens in musty labs, may offer insight into how these bivalves evolved from eating the decaying wood of shipwrecks to surviving on a resulting hydrogen-sulfide chemical bath, much like their biological kin who live near thermal vents on the floor of the sea. You can read the paper "published ahead of print" from the University of Hawaii at Manoa (in Honolulu) at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Buried in the sand, they've been said to resemble elephant tusks growing from the bed. That's a little like a unicorn horn, yes? Anyway, the resemblance ends there. The Washington Post has the story.

-- Suggested by Steve Jackson


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