Sneezing sponges suggest existence of sensory organ: Discovery challenges assumptions about ‘primitive’ organism
“For a sponge to have a sensory organ is totally new. This does not appear in a textbook; this doesn’t appear in someone’s concept of what sponges are permitted to have,” said Leys.
Leys said the discovery raises new questions about how sensory systems may have evolved in the sponge and other animals, including ones with nervous systems. It’s possible this sensory system is unique to the sponge, she said, evolving over the last 600 million years. Or it may be evidence of a common mechanism shared among all animals, and retained over evolutionary history, as demonstration of its essential function.
Despite all the hours filming and observing sneezes, Ludeman says she’s still not sick of sponges.
Note to sponges everywhere: Be cautious around that girl. At this rate, she’ll discover the hidden mikes, the blackmail letters, and the bank accounts.
Note: In a post about a bat family 36 million years older than thought, it was asked, why are they called “primitive?” Apparently, the correct use of the term would designate a trait that all members of the family share. For example, having four limbs is a “primitive” trait in mammals. However, the term clearly is not used that way here.
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