Your floor-model animal mitochondrion. Public domain. Click for link. Two billion years ago, around the time atmospheric oxygen levels were rising, one cell engulfed another, and instead of becoming lunch, the ingestee became an Earth-changer and, eventually, a vital part of you: mitochondria.These microscopic cell inhabitants/engines allowed their host cell to suddenly begin to burn oxygen when digesting their food, an energy source that vastly expanded the amount of energy they could harvest from a given morsel of food.
In the Nature podcast interview that went along with my Kawasaki Disease story at Nature (look for the interview halfway down the page at the story here), I talked about the tantalizing work of Dr.
Aneurysms in the coronary arteries of a Kawasaki victim. Public domain; click for source. That's the question I examine in my first feature story for Nature , published today online and in the print magazine April 5.
Marburg Virus. Note distinctive "Shepherd's crooks". CDC/ Dr. Erskine Palmer, Russell Regnery, Ph.D., CDC Public Health Image Library #275; Public Domain.
To ease on in to the weekend, let's celebrate by watching some short films on a topic that I mentioned earlier this week in my planthopper post: plant bug poo, aka honeydew.
A planthopper, Siphanta acuta, but not a planthopper of Iran. Photos of them have proven elusive. Creative Commons Brocken Inaglory; click image for license and source.
Blogger's Note: As I'm on vacation this week, today I present a post from the archive at theartfulamoeba.com. This post originally appeared on my blog on Feb.
A lush, rhizomatous seagrass meadow in the Mediterranean. Creative Commons Arnaud-Haond et al. 2012, PLoS One. Click image for link. In the world of gigantic plant and fungus clones, there is no lack of contenders for the title Oldest, Heaviest, and Most Ginormous.
Light, sweet, orange goo crude. Last fall the small Alaskan coastal village of Kivalina was inundated by a mysterious orange "goo"(click for photo). Locals and others suspected a toxic algal bloom (see here for image), or perhaps some sort of chemical release, or millions of microscopic "crustacean eggs".Yet just a month later the mystery substance was identified as none other than a plant-parasitic fungus called a rust -- completely harmless to humans and aquatic life, and probably not bad plankton food.
On land, snails and slugs -- the Gastropods -- are confined to terrestrial prison, but in the ocean, they are free to shed their shells and fly. These are the sea angels, the sea butterflies, and the sea elephants -- and probably quite a few more I'm not aware of.For instance, this slinky and mysterious creature is a heteropod ("different foot"), or sea elephant: It's called a sea elephant because of that sausage-esque proboscis it holds aloft.
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