Science and Tech
Can You Guess What These Strange Science Images Are?

Marshall Lemon | 10 Oct 2014 16:30
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At first glance, you probably thought you were looking at some kind of bizarre sea creature swimming about the ocean floor. Close, but you're way off: You're looking at thousands of bizarre sea creatures swimming about the ocean floor.

What you're seeing is a Siphonophorae, a class of marine life that seem to resemble some kind of jellyfish. But when you come in for a closer look, it's actually an entire colony of organisms called zooids. Each zooid is technically its own independent organism, but they are usually so specialized that they cannot survive outside of the larger colony. It's kind of like how cells in your body complete specific tasks, if each of your cells was literally its own multicellular organism.

For that reason, Siphonophorae are pretty significant because they might provide clues to how multicellular life evolved. This particular example is also incredibly rare for its purple coloring.

You probably shouldn't go looking for them though; many are known to carry venom, and Siphonophorae like the Praya dubia can grow up to 130 feet long.

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