Friday, September 7, 2007

Remedial Gigerology


Okay, I need to tell no one here how very cool it is that moray eels have a second set of accessory jaws that leap out of their throat to handle difficult prey. You all know the obvious movie reference.

What I don't know is, there are a couple of hundred species of moray eels out there. We've known about them for centuries. So why the hell are we only discovering such an obvious anatomical feature now? Hasn't anyone dissected one of these things before?

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7 Comments:

Blogger Glen said...

Yeah, sounds like a job for--oh, I dunno, some type of MARINE BIOLOGIST.

:D

September 7, 2007 at 10:33 PM  
Anonymous robf said...

We are too busy trying to figure out how to make our penises and breasts bigger. Some science is just more important than others.

September 8, 2007 at 2:14 AM  
Blogger Peter Watts said...

Glen said...

Yeah, sounds like a job for--oh, I dunno, some type of MARINE BIOLOGIST.

Tell me about it. I leave the profession for a few years and the whole damn field falls apart.

September 8, 2007 at 2:47 PM  
Blogger Fraxas said...

Parasitic wasps exist that use pseudoviruses to damp the immune systems of caterpillars in which they lay their eggs - particles that blur the lines between 'toxin' and 'virus' because they are produced from the wasp's DNA in the ovipositor - and you want people to spend time fiddling with scalpels and fish?

Next thing you'll be telling me that you want to investigate Architeuthis' gross morphology!

September 8, 2007 at 11:38 PM  
Blogger Fraxas said...

Don't I feel like a chump. I was reading backwards and just got to Wolbachia; please ignore the previous comment (though I'll leave it there for all to see my hastiness).

September 8, 2007 at 11:44 PM  
Anonymous Kyle Ritchie said...

i read that they thought the second set was for chewing down on crunchy prey, like when you just can't swallow that coffee crisp.... and that they only found out when they captured it at high speed

September 9, 2007 at 2:44 AM  
Blogger TheBrummell said...

Lots of fish have pharyngeal jaws, but that's no excuse.

So why the hell are we only discovering such an obvious anatomical feature now?

Yeah, that was my question too after I got over the five-minute-long "wow cool!" moment.

September 9, 2007 at 6:20 PM  

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