Tag Archives: monsters

Bizarre Creatures Found in the Mariana Trench

Bizarre Creatures Found in the Mariana Trench.

Footballfish

Footballfish are deep-sea anglers that live in the Mariana Trench. They look like a football, thus the name. The lure on the top of their heads is what attracts their prey, which they then quickly snap up with their fierce jaws.

Hatchetfish

Hatchetfish are deep-sea fish that are not exclusive to the Mariana Trench, but are still odd-looking. The hatchetfish are special creatures because they are capable of producing their own light, which helps them escape from predators. At those depths, a built-in flashlight is handy to have!

Frilled Shark

Frilled sharks are one of the oldest species around and they lurk in the depths of the Mariana Trench. They’re hard to spot, which makes them terrifying to prey when they use their snake-like bodies to sneak around.

Dragonfish

If for some reason you find yourself at the depths of the Mariana Trench, you’ll spot the dragonfish thanks to its own bio-luminescence. Their distinctive flashing chin barbell helps lure both prey and potential mates, so beware.

 Blobfish

Ew! You’ll be surprised to know that when the blobfish is in water, it looks nothing like this gelatinous blob. It’s a deep-sea fish that lives in the deep waters and has been spotted in the Mariana Trench.

Barreleye

Barreleyes get their name from their barrel-shaped eyes that are directed upwards to detect their prey. They’re been found at depths of 2,000 feet and have highly sensitive eyes.

Goblin Shark

This shark is down-right terrifying, if you couldn’t tell from the .gif. They measure up to 13 feet long and can weigh up to 463 pounds. These scary sharks can pretty much swallow anything whole. Yikes.

Ping-Pong Tree Sponge

This sponge may look harmless, but it’s actually a carnivorous sponge. Its entire body is covered in tiny hairs that can hook any small creature that passes by. Once caught, the cells in the sponge move towards the prey and digest it. Creepy.

– See more at: http://gags.cix36.com/2014/04/8-bizarre-creatures-found-in-mariana.html?sthash.55xEmsO6.tupo#sthash.55xEmsO6.tmQtiu2D.dpuf

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Ancient 4-eyed, mega-clawed creature had spider brain

Ancient 4-eyed, mega-clawed creature had spider brain

By Denise Chow

Published October 17, 2013

LiveScience
  • mega-claw creature.jpg

    A close-up of the head region of the Alalcomenaeus fossil specimen with the superimposed colors of a microscopy technique revealing the distribution of chemical elements in the fossil. Copper shows up as blue, iron as magenta and the CT scans as green. The coincidence of iron and CT denote nervous system. The creature boasted two pairs of eyes (ball-shaped structures at the top). (N. STRAUSFELD/UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA)

  • fossil-nervous-system

    This illustration shows the nervous systems of the Alalcomenaeus fossil (left), a larval horseshoe crab (middle) and a scorpion (right). Diagnostic features that reveal the evolutionary relationships among these animals include the forward posi (N. STRAUSFELD/UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA)

The discovery of a fossilized brain in the preserved remains of an extinct “mega-clawed” creature has revealed an ancient nervous system that is remarkably similar to that of modern-day spiders and scorpions, according to a new study.

The fossilized Alalcomenaeus is a type of arthropod known as a megacheiran (Greek for “large claws”) that lived approximately 520 million years ago, during a period known as the Lower Cambrian. The creature was unearthed in the fossil-rich Chengjiang formation in southwest China.

Researchers studied the fossilized brain, the earliest known complete nervous system, and found similarities between the extinct creature’s nervous system and the nervous systems of several modern arthropods, which suggest they may be ancestrally related. [Photos of Clawed Arthropod & Other Strange Cambrian Creatures]

The arthropod family
Living arthropods are commonly separated into two major groups: chelicerates, which include spiders, horseshoe crabs and scorpions, and a group that includes insects, crustaceans and millipedes. The new findings shed light on the evolutionary processes that may have given rise to modern arthropods, and also provide clues about where these extinct mega-clawed creatures fit in the tree of life.

“We now know that the megacheirans had central nervous systems very similar to today’s horseshoe crabs and scorpions,” senior author Nicholas Strausfeld, a professor in the department of neuroscience at the University of Arizona in Tucson, said in a statement. “This means the ancestors of spiders and their kin lived side by side with the ancestors of crustaceans in the Lower Cambrian.”

The newly identified creature measures a little over an inch long (3 centimeters), and has a segmented body with about a dozen pairs of attached limbs that enabled it to swim or crawl.

“Up front, it has a long pair of appendages that have scissorlike components basically an elbow with scissors on the end,” Strausfeld told LiveScience. “These are really weird appendages, and there has been a long debate about what they are and what they correspond to in modern animals.”

Previously, researchers suggested megacheirans were related to chelicerates, since the extinct creature’s scissorlike claws and the fangs of spiders and scorpions have similar structures, said Greg Edgecombe, a researcher at the Natural History Museum in London, England.

“They both have an ‘elbow joint’ in the same place, and they both have a similar arrangement of a fixed and movable finger at the tip,” Edgecombe told LiveScience. “Because of these similarities, one of the main theories for what ‘great appendage arthropods’ are is that they were related to chelicerates. Thus, our findings from the nervous system gave an injection of new data to support an existing theory.”

Fossilized brain images
The researchers used CT scans to make 3D reconstructions of features of the fossilized nervous system. The scientists also used laser-scanning technology to map the distribution of chemical elements, such as iron and copper, in the specimen in order to outline different neural structures.

Though finding a well-preserved ancient nervous system is rare, the new study highlights the potential for similar discoveries, the researchers said.

“Finding ancient preservation of neural tissue allows us to analyzeextinct animals using the same tools we use for living animals,” Edgecombe said. “It suggests there should be more examples out there.”

About a year ago, Edgecombe and his colleagues found a different fossilized brain that revealed unexpected similarity to the brains of modern crustaceans.

“Our new find is exciting because it shows that mandibulates (to which crustaceans belong) and chelicerates were already present as two distinct evolutionary trajectories 520 million years ago, which means their common ancestor must have existed much deeper in time,” Strausfeld said in a statement. “We expect to find fossils of animals that have persisted from more ancient times, and I’m hopeful we will one day find the ancestral type of both the mandibulate and chelicerate nervous system ground patterns. They had to come from somewhere. Now the search is on.”

The detailed findings of the study were published online Wednesday in the journal Nature.

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More Real Monsters

This is an ongoing post that has proven popular.  You can type in “real monsters” in the Search box on the home page to find earlier posts.  I know monster is a relative term…

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