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Young Boy Incubates a Marine Gastropod. IN HIS KNEE.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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I just returned from an epic adventure in Australia. I visited many marine research stations, and of course did some diving on the Great Barrier Reef. Unfortunately, one of the young scientists I was travelling with had a bit of a nasty encounter with some shallow hard coral and ended up with a rather large gash on his hand. The staff at the research station where we were staying were very meticulous about the cleaning of the wound, keeping fresh iodine on it every hour or so for the next 24 hours. I couldn’t help but think to myself…isn’t this a little excessive?

“Tropical waters are FULL of marine phytoplankton, bacteria and viruses” they said, “best to be safe than sorry.”

I guess they were right. A story reported today on CBS news details how a young boy became a living incubator for a marine snail. Likely a veliger larva or a newly settled juvenile when the boy cut himself in shallow water, it seemed to fare just fine in the moist, salty human environment.

Carin Bondar About the Author: Carin Bondar is a biologist, writer and film-maker with a PhD in population ecology from the University of British Columbia. Find Dr. Bondar online at www.carinbondar.com, on twitter @drbondar or on her facebook page: Dr. Carin Bondar – Biologist With a Twist. Follow on Twitter @drbondar.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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  1. 1. Kathy K. 10:07 pm 08/19/2013

    WOW, that is amazing that all they did to heal the wound did not kill the larva.
    Hopefully, when the boy grows a little bigger he’ll be able to look back and laugh.

    Link to this

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