Friday, October 06, 2006

Opabinia Regalis: Mascot of Darwinian Skeptics

Opabinia Regalis rocks. This amazing Cambrian animal had five eyes, four of which were perched above its body on trunk-like extensions-- sort of like periscopes on a submarine. It also had a long snaking proboscis (a.k.a. snout, schnoz, sneezer, nose) with grasping spines on the end. When was the last time you were grabbed by a nose? Its body plan is so unlike any other animal currently in existence, or at any other time during the history of the earth, that it deserves its own phylum. It is so bizarre that when a reconstructed image of it was first presented at a scientific meeting in 1972, the audience of scientists burst out laughing. Have a good look here or here or here. For more information, and how you pronounce its name, go here.

I will have more to say about this little guy, and his threatiness to the scientific community. The Washington Post has declared him, in effect, unconstitutional.

Oh yes, and I dub him Cambrian Animal of the Week. A previous Cambrian Animal of the Week is here.


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