|Box Jellyfish photo and related article posted at SciNewsBlog|
A diverse group of thousands of species of gooey, saclike invertebrates found throughout the world, the jellyfish are preposterously ancient, dating back 600 million to 700 million years or longer. That’s roughly twice as old as the earliest bony fish and insects, three times the age of the first dinosaurs.
“Jellyfish are the most ancient multiorgan animal on earth,” said David J. Albert, a jellyfish expert at the Roscoe Bay Marine Biological Laboratory in Vancouver, British Columbia.
The New York Times article goes on to cite several recent studies of jellyfish that disprove old assumptions. Contrary to earlier belief, jellyfish are not brainless, thoughtless lumps of protoplasm. Box jellyfish, for example, have eyes very much like human eyes, mounted on gyroscopic stalks that allow them to stare upward and out of the water for active shoreline navigation. Another study of jellyfish concludes that, although their neurons are distributed diffusely and not concentrated into a brain, jellyfish do nevertheless perform complex behaviors well beyond simple reflex. Please take a look at the nine-picture slideshow that accompanies the New York Times article by clicking on this NYT link, The Complexity of Jellyfish. Believe me, it's worth the look!
|Turritopsis nutricula, the immortal jellyfish|
|Simple Explanation's diagram of memes and karma encycling an individual's UC.|