Animal, Vegetable or Mineral?

A newly discovered species may ironically turn out to be a living fossil. Discovered in 1986 off the coast of Tasmania, the mushroom shaped Dendrogramma has recently undergone scrutiny to determine it’s taxonomical classification. So far it has been narrowed down to belonging to the animal Kingdom. After that narrowing things down is proving to be problematic. Jean Just of the Natural History Museum of Denmark says “We’ve basically discovered an animal which we cannot place in the current animal system that science operates with.”

The tiny organism is 1.5 cm in height and little over one centimetre in width. the organism consists of little more than a stalk with a mouth on one end and seems to have no system for movement.Genetic analysis cannot be performed on the organisms as they were preserved in a formaldehyde/alcohol solution, a method that does not preserve genetic material.

dendrogramma

Further Reading:

Mushroom-shaped deep-sea animal Dendrogramma baffles scientists – CBC News

Deep sea ‘mushroom’ may be new branch of life – BBC News

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