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Brittlestar Galactica
May 19, 2008 5:58 AM   Subscribe

Tens of millions of brittlestars have been discovered inhabiting the peak of a sea mount in the Macquarie Ridge south of New Zealand. Strong currents are believed to be responsible for sweeping their predators away, more or less recreating their home 300 million years gone....
posted by Kronos_to_Earth (21 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Well, good for them!

And they're such cute little fellas!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:06 AM on May 19, 2008


Cutel little fellas? Or surging advance force for the Chtorrian ecosystem?
posted by Sparx at 6:35 AM on May 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


My god it's full of...
posted by furtive at 6:38 AM on May 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


Their prophecy came true!
posted by TwelveTwo at 7:04 AM on May 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you want more favorites, mention the lasers in the BBC video, which is many ways awesome.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 7:09 AM on May 19, 2008


If you're curious where this is, the Macquarie Ridge is a long fault ridge that runs south from New Zealand. It surfaces at Macquarie Island, highlighted on this map. Presumably the brittlestars are somewhere north or south along the ridge from the island.
posted by Nelson at 7:44 AM on May 19, 2008


Funny, I'm about to start a lecture including a section on asterozoa in just a few hours. And I'm going to pretend that this development is going to thrill the pants off of my students and that they'll all go look up the articles when I tell them to.

Tra-la-la-la-laaaaa! *skips off into dream-world*
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 8:09 AM on May 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


The post title made me laugh. Which brittlestar is the final cylon???
posted by Falconetti at 8:16 AM on May 19, 2008


I totally called this.
posted by jimmythefish at 8:24 AM on May 19, 2008


Strong currents? Maybe the resurrection ship got repaired. Frack...
posted by fusinski at 8:53 AM on May 19, 2008


The bit about predators getting swept away is purely speculative, and likely very wrong. The current is only 4 km/hour. It doesn't take much to overcome that... Normal ocean currents can be that fast, and predators do just fine in the ocean.
posted by Patapsco Mike at 9:11 AM on May 19, 2008


Which brittlestar is the final cylon???

Brittlestarbuck. Duh.

We had a brittlestar in a reef tank we got from a friend. When we had to move it from his house to ours we suddenly realized that it was much bigger than we thought.

It's kind of creepy to only ever see a couple of inches of a creature, only to discover that when uncovered its several feet across.

It's name was Cthulhu.
posted by quin at 9:25 AM on May 19, 2008


I'm going to pretend that this development is going to thrill the pants off of my students

Don't worry six or six thirty. That's what we're here for.
posted by nax at 10:06 AM on May 19, 2008


Very colorful and very cute. Sea creatures apparently rule in the blue today! Thanks for these gorgeous pictures.
posted by nax at 10:09 AM on May 19, 2008


Hang on, these things have 5 way symmetry, five arms, five jaws... FIVE. And they build cities around antarctica... It's not Cthulhu you should be thinking of.

(Actually what they remind me of the most is the rather creepy beasties in Peter Watts' Blindsight)
posted by Artw at 10:57 AM on May 19, 2008


Don't worry six or six thirty. That's what we're here for.

Thrilling the pants off of my students, in all honesty, might be a little bit of a job-ender. :/ I don't really recommend either you or I do it.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 11:28 AM on May 19, 2008


Its cramped starfish-like inhabitants, tens of millions living arm tip to arm tip, owe their success to the seamount's shape and to the swirling circumpolar current flowing over and around it at roughly four kilometers per hour. It allows Brittlestar City's underwater denizens to capture passing food simply by raising their arms, and it sweeps away fish and other hovering would-be predators.

If only this happened with koalas.
posted by JimmyJames at 2:31 PM on May 19, 2008


If only this happened for me.
posted by nowonmai at 3:38 PM on May 19, 2008


Cutel little fellas? Or surging advance force for the Chtorrian ecosystem?

Damn you. He never finished that damn thing. The next book has been imminent every damn time I've checked in the last damn,-more-than-I-expected years.

damn
posted by flaterik at 5:53 PM on May 19, 2008


Cute, until Artw reminded me of the aliens from Blindsight, and now I'm kinda freaked out.
posted by robotot at 8:40 PM on May 19, 2008


Those fuckers still creep me out.
posted by Artw at 9:12 PM on May 19, 2008


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