Feeds

Ancient tulip-like stomach-onna-stick creatures found in Rockies

Waving anus-tipped filter flowers covered Cambrian sea bottom

The next step in data security

Fossil-boffins probing into the remains of a soft-bodied tulip animal that lived in the Rockies 500 million years ago have just published a paper revealing the secrets of the weird creature.

Essentially stomachs on stalks, the tulip-shaped creatures known as Siphusauctum gregarium lived in great herds and are the most commonly found fossils in a fossil bed dating from the middle Cambrian period, when the Rockies were submerged under the oceans.

According to painstaking fossil-analysis by a team from the University of Toronto, the bulb-shaped stomachs grew up to 22cm, and connected to the seabed with little tentacles attached to the end of its stem. Its prominent bulb-shaped organ would have waved in the sea currents and expanded to draw water inside it, contracting to expel it out the top through a small anus.

The Siphusauctum gregarium was a filter-feeder, with its internal structure consisting almost entirely of intestine:

"Internal structures include a central and prominent sac-like gut enclosed by a tube representing the margins of the body cavity" explains the paper authored by Lorna J O'Brien and Jean-Bernard Cohen. "The gut differentiated into three main zones, an ovoid lower tract near the base of the calyx, grading into a bulbous mid-gut, then tapering into a straight and thin upper intestine projecting upwards to a central terminal anus."

It's likely the tulip creatures were buried under a mud slide along with a slice of other sea bed life about 500 million years ago to create the famous Middle Cambrian Burgess Shale fossil bed. The stalked stomach is another weird life form from the biological expansion known as the 'Cambrian explosion' a time when life on earth burgeoned wildly in diversity of form. ®

The paper A New Stalked Filter-Feeder from the Middle Cambrian Burgess Shale, British Columbia, Canada by Lorna J. O'Brien and Jean-Bernard Caron is published by PLoS One in pdf.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
India's MOM Mars mission makes final course correction
Mangalyaan probe will feel the burn of orbital insertion on September 24th
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.