Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so that each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry.

I don’t know anything, but I do know that everything is interesting if you go into it deeply enough.

Richard Feynman, from Omni interview, “The Smartest Man in the World”(chapter 9), The Pleasure of Finding Things Out (1999)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Feynman
http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Richard_Feynman

Terrifying (but tiny!) bryozoans

Images 1 and 2: Beania mirabilis (source) cc-by-nc-sa

Image 3: Electra monostachys (source) cc-by-nc-sa

Image 1: “Scanning electron microscope image of a bryozoan colony” (Source)

Image 2: “This skeleton of a living bryozoan, collected at Bahia de los Angeles, Baja California, clearly shows this typical colonial organiation.

Each individual, or zooid, is enclosed in a sheath of tissue, the zooecium, that in many species secretes a rigid skeleton of calcium carbonate. Each zooid in this electron micrograph is less than a millimeter long and has a single opening, the orifice. Through this opening, the lophophore, a ring of ciliated tentacles centered on the mouth, protrudes to capture small food particles. The lophophore can be retracted very rapidly by specialized retractor muscles, and the opening closed by a doorlike operculum, visible on some of the zooids in the picture at the left.”

Source

Image 3: Membraniporella nitida (source) cc-by-nc-sa

More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bryozoa

Pygites brachiopods… or bizarre fossil scrotal phylogeny?

Images 1 and 2: Source. In German. 

Image 3: Source

Caption: “Pygites is unusual for a Terebratulid brachiopod. It shares many of the same features that other brachiopods in it’s order except that it has a hole in the middle of it. The hole is created as the shell grows and splits into lobes that then eventually meet back together and enclose a hollow area. This is odd behavior for a brachiopodand I’ve only seen a handful of genera that have even exaggerated lobes, such as Dicoelosia from the Haragan formation, let alone those that surround a hole. Below are three specimens from the Cretaceous (Hauterivian stage) of Spain that show you the variation in the genera.”

Image 4: ”Pygites diphyoides (d’Orbigny, 1849) from the Hauterivian (Lower Cretaceous) of Cehegin, Murcia, Spain. This terebratulid is characterized by a central perforation through its valves.” Source: Wikipedia; cc-by-sa

Image 5: Pygites diphyoides (source)

More brachiopods! The spiral lophophores are a filtering apparatus. 

Image 1: “Fig. 8. Hypothetical representation of efficiency of the filtering system of some extinct spire-bearing brachiopods showing flow patterns and extension of area for trapping food resources. Inhalant and exhalant currents according toVogel (1975) and diagram modified from Ager and Riggs (1964).”

Image 2: “Fig. 9. Hypothetical representation of efficiency of the filtering system present in extinct productid brachiopods showing flow patterns and extension of area for trapping food resources. Inhalant and exhalant currents as in a similar model proposed for Falafer Grant (1972) and diagram modified from Brunton et al. (2000) without including his interpretations.”

Source: 

Pérez-Huerta and Sheldon. 2006. “Pennsylvanian sea level cycles, nutrient availability and brachiopod paleoecology.” Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. Volume 230, Issues 3–4, 30 January 2006, Pages 264–279. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2005.07.020

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031018205004451

More brachiopods! The spiral lophophores are a filtering apparatus. 

Image 1: Brachiopod, (image source)

Image 2: Magellania, an articulate brachiopod (source)

Image 3: Group of brachiopods. (Source). The coolest one is “E”:

Notosaria nigricans E. Brachial interior with spirolophous lophophore 


SPIROLOPHOUS LOPHOPHORE”!!!

Sounds like we have a word (or phrase) of the day!

More brachiopods! The spiral lophophores are a filtering apparatus. 

Image 1: Liospiriferina rostrata (jr synonym Spiriferina rostrata) (Brachiopod). Brachiopods filtered plankton, using a specialized organ: the lophophore. It is exceptional to be able to find silicified skeleton of this organ, visible in this specimen.” via Wikipedia (image source) cc-by-sa

Image 2: Spiriferina brachiopod fossil. Science Photo Library