Making Tracks
November 22, 2008 10:35 AM   Subscribe

"We were looking for pretty animals that have eyes, are coloured, or glow in the dark; instead, the most interesting find was the organism that was blind, brainless, and completely covered in mud." Some of the oldest fossil records may need to be reconsidered: Dr. Mikhail Matz of the University of Texas has discovered Gromia Sphaerica, a species of protist, making tracks....

'Finding Giant Deep Sea Protists', a video interview with Dr. Matz.
posted by Kronos_to_Earth (21 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
That's one big protist! I always thought unicellar organisms were limited in size by their low surface-to-volume ratio. Makes me wonder how Gromia gets around it.
posted by greatgefilte at 10:50 AM on November 22, 2008


Astounding. I love seeing new discoveries about our world; sometimes it can seem so small, and yet there are many things we don't know.
posted by sonic meat machine at 10:56 AM on November 22, 2008


Cool post!

These would be awesome to keep as pets.
posted by greenie2600 at 10:59 AM on November 22, 2008


...we even thought that it might be some high tech poop...

Now there's a B movie.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:03 AM on November 22, 2008


This is one of the most....what's the word? Adorable! things I've ever read about.

*goes back to beaming at little unicellular protist making it's tracks*

Go G. Sphaerica! Beat State!
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 11:12 AM on November 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


That's one big protist! I always thought unicellar organisms were limited in size by their low surface-to-volume ratio. Makes me wonder how Gromia gets around it.

It has a shell.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:33 AM on November 22, 2008


The size of a grape, they say. But how does it taste?
posted by reynaert at 11:35 AM on November 22, 2008


So cool! I like how one of the discarded theories was that the lil guys were "high tech poop" until they found out what they actually were. (Video at about 1:20.)
posted by footnote at 11:40 AM on November 22, 2008


But how does it taste

I see your single malt whiskey and raise you a single celled wine.
posted by Dumsnill at 12:23 PM on November 22, 2008


Huh. Turns out gelatinous cubes are real, but they were spheres all along. Who knew.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 12:25 PM on November 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


It was nice to find an adorable amoeba; some of them aren't so. Not a B movie: Brain Eating Amoebas. They have been (and I don't think they've been eradicated....) a problem in the (recreational) lake used to cool the Clinton nuclear power plant, in my corner of the world.
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 12:27 PM on November 22, 2008


At 2:15 or so, he says there are other giant protists in the deep sea that don't move. He makes it seem like they are even bigger. Anyone know what they are/can Google up some pictures of these other ones?
posted by Nonce at 12:27 PM on November 22, 2008


Anyone know what they are/can Google up some pictures of these other ones?
Xenophyophores
posted by robtf3 at 12:46 PM on November 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: blind, brainless, and completely covered in mud.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 1:09 PM on November 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Found some video of Gromia Sphaerica in action.

Grape-sized single-celled organisms? Even with a shell, this is fascinating stuff.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:08 PM on November 22, 2008


Metafilter: Some kind of high-tech poops.
posted by paisley henosis at 2:10 PM on November 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow this is really amazing. My advisor works on early trace fossils, and this certainly has the potential to be a huge paradigm shift in the study of early metazoan life. I'm gonna have to go read that paper.
posted by DanielDManiel at 2:18 PM on November 22, 2008


i don't think 'how do they taste' is a dumb question at all. Are they edible?
posted by empath at 4:21 PM on November 22, 2008


Sea tribbles!
posted by damo at 7:30 PM on November 22, 2008


Tastes like chicken.
posted by swell at 8:45 PM on November 22, 2008


put 22 of those critters on a football field and they, too, can beat the lions
posted by pyramid termite at 8:51 PM on November 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


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