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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 11/22/2008 :  06:09:14  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
A single-celled organism the size of a hickory nut!

Oh, this is a tremendous discovery. Dig it:

"Nov. 20, 2008 -- Slowly rolling across the ocean floor, a humble single-celled creature is poised to revolutionize our understanding of how complex life evolved on Earth.

A distant relative of microscopic amoebas, the grape-sized Gromia sphaerica was discovered once before, lying motionless at the bottom of the Arabian Sea. But when Mikhail Matz of the University of Texas at Austin and a group of researchers stumbled across a group of G. sphaerica off the coast of the Bahamas, the creatures were leaving trails behind them up to 50 centimeters (20 inches) long in the mud.

The trouble is, single-celled critters aren't supposed to be able to leave trails. The oldest fossils of animal trails, called 'trace fossils', date to around 580 million years ago, and paleontologists always figured they must have been made by multicellular animals with complex, symmetrical bodies.

But G. sphaerica's traces are the spitting image of the old, Precambrian fossils; two small ridges line the outside of the trail, and one thin bump runs down the middle.

At up to three centimeters (1.2 inches) in diameter, they're also enormous compared to most of their microscopic cousins."




As we know, with small exception, trace fossils are about the best we get from the Pre-Cambrian; largely from the Burgess Shales. This is another tiny scrap of knowledge about that busy time that will introduce new thought to the study of it and indeed, single-celled animals in general.




"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9672 Posts

Posted - 11/22/2008 :  08:37:10   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Wow... 3cm for a single-celled organism. That's not just huge, that's enormous!

Awsome find!


Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
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"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 11/22/2008 :  09:27:03   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yeah, but what does it do?


Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Hawks
SFN Regular

Canada
1383 Posts

Posted - 11/22/2008 :  09:39:34   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Hawks's Homepage Send Hawks a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Wow

METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL
It's a small, off-duty czechoslovakian traffic warden!
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26001 Posts

Posted - 11/22/2008 :  09:42:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Mike the Mad Biologist wonders if we should call this a "macrobe."

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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astropin
SFN Regular

USA
970 Posts

Posted - 11/22/2008 :  10:00:26   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send astropin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Kind of rocks your world on the scale of things. If a single celled organism can be that large then how large can a multi-celled organism get?

I would rather face a cold reality than delude myself with comforting fantasies.

You are free to believe what you want to believe and I am free to ridicule you for it.

Atheism:
The result of an unbiased and rational search for the truth.

Infinitus est numerus stultorum
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 11/22/2008 :  11:33:07   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by astropin

Kind of rocks your world on the scale of things. If a single celled organism can be that large then how large can a multi-celled organism get?
Given the environment to sustain it, even larger than this.






"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 11/22/2008 :  12:02:01   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by filthy

Originally posted by astropin

Kind of rocks your world on the scale of things. If a single celled organism can be that large then how large can a multi-celled organism get?
Given the environment to sustain it, even larger than this.


Largest organism.

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
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Simon
SFN Regular

USA
1992 Posts

Posted - 11/22/2008 :  13:13:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Simon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
There is this super-fungus that spawns almost 9 km˛.
That some bad case of athlete foot if you ask me.

Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
Carl Sagan - 1996
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 11/22/2008 :  14:08:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Simon

There is this super-fungus that spawns almost 9 km˛.
That some bad case of athlete foot if you ask me.
Or a really spectacular crop of 'shrooms....



But I wonder just how this organism gets about. Amoebas pretty much slime their way along and paramecium flutter cilia, but this one evidently is spherical. Does it roll and would that leave a trace in the mud? Or does it change shape for transportation -- same question.

I dunno.




"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 11/22/2008 :  14:32:17   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by filthy
But I wonder just how this organism gets about. Amoebas pretty much slime their way along and paramecium flutter cilia, but this one evidently is spherical. Does it roll and would that leave a trace in the mud?
I don't know either, but that's the impression I got, that it sort of blows about in the currents like a tumbleweed. And it is sort of hard to imagine how a single-celled organism can be that huge. Then again, an ostrich egg is only a single cell as well (although not a complete organism).


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
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Simon
SFN Regular

USA
1992 Posts

Posted - 11/22/2008 :  18:04:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Simon a Private Message  Reply with Quote

But I wonder just how this organism gets about. Amoebas pretty much slime their way along and paramecium flutter cilia, but this one evidently is spherical. Does it roll and would that leave a trace in the mud? Or does it change shape for transportation -- same question.


They mention it leaving a track in the mud...
Amoeba change their shape through their cytoskeleton. I don't know how efficiently a cytoskeleton can act on such a scale.
Muscle fibers can, but they work differently.

We will know in a few months though. Amoeba are not all that complex and there must be quite a lot of people are going to want to look into it.

Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
Carl Sagan - 1996
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Chippewa
SFN Regular

USA
1496 Posts

Posted - 11/22/2008 :  18:35:06   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Chippewa's Homepage Send Chippewa a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by astropin

Kind of rocks your world on the scale of things. If a single celled organism can be that large then how large can a multi-celled organism get?


Well, there was that giant space-going amoeba in an old Star Trek episode.

But I vaguely recall an article (in Scientific American?) nearly 20 years ago exploring that idea. It explained why some sea creatures have grown to enormous size and why scaling up familiar land based life forms would be more difficult after a point due to gravity on giant bones and muscle, unless they also had lower and lower mass despite size, which is possible. I'm not sure low-mass animals have lived and evolved very much by nature, otherwise we'd have evidence of 100 foot high Godzillas, etc. But nature can be crafty, (there is some evidence of prehistoric gigantic flying reptiles,) so who knows.
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 11/22/2008 :  19:00:09   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, I suppose in theory you could have a single multi-cellular animal that covers an entire planet, like a uniform biofilm. In that sense, an organism's potential size is only limited by size of its environment. Or limitless, if like Star Trek amoeba that Chippewa referenced, its medium is space itself.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
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Hawks
SFN Regular

Canada
1383 Posts

Posted - 11/22/2008 :  19:57:57   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Hawks's Homepage Send Hawks a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by astropin

Kind of rocks your world on the scale of things. If a single celled organism can be that large then how large can a multi-celled organism get?

Well, there was this absolutely ginormous blob in the semi-documentary "Evolution" starring David Duchovny. Gotta be true. It ate heat.

METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL
It's a small, off-duty czechoslovakian traffic warden!
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Simon
SFN Regular

USA
1992 Posts

Posted - 11/23/2008 :  02:14:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Simon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Chippewa

Originally posted by astropin

Kind of rocks your world on the scale of things. If a single celled organism can be that large then how large can a multi-celled organism get?


Well, there was that giant space-going amoeba in an old Star Trek episode.

But I vaguely recall an article (in Scientific American?) nearly 20 years ago exploring that idea. It explained why some sea creatures have grown to enormous size and why scaling up familiar land based life forms would be more difficult after a point due to gravity on giant bones and muscle, unless they also had lower and lower mass despite size, which is possible. I'm not sure low-mass animals have lived and evolved very much by nature, otherwise we'd have evidence of 100 foot high Godzillas, etc. But nature can be crafty, (there is some evidence of prehistoric gigantic flying reptiles,) so who knows.



Well, a cell in an aquatic environment is essentially weightless; as its density is just about the same than the surrounding environment...

Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
Carl Sagan - 1996
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