Great-Grand-Dad In The News

A comment yesterday points to this story, of the discovery of fossilized squid ink, which they say is essentially identical in composition to the ink of modern cuttlefish.

“The whole machinery apparently has been locked in time and passed down through succeeding generations of cuttlefish. It’s a very optimized system for this animal and has been optimized for a long time.”

This may or may not be the same story I wrote about before–if it isn’t, it’s close enough. The hook last time, though, was that they actually reconstituted some of the ink, and used it to draw an illustration of the squid itself.

I have a small bottle of sepia ink
Which I use for particular writing.
The feel of a quill-pen is special, I think,
And I find the whole process exciting.

I read in the news, of an interesting find,
Of a well-preserved cephalo-fossil
(The paleontologists gladly remind,
What we learn may be truly colossal!

See, soft-tissue fossils are rare, as a rule,
So an ink-sac was quite unexpected—
This cephalofind was the coolest of cool,
As a rock that can still be dissected!)

The scientists ground up the fossilized sac
To make ink for its own illustration—
Some see this as fitting, while others attack
It as cruel (in unique presentation!*)

Myself, as his great-great-great-great-great-great-great
Great-great-grandson, I want his return.
His repatriation to Cuttle-Estate,
To his burial inkwell—er, urn.

*Anyone who does not follow this link and read the whole thing is a complete gooberhead. Just sayin’.

Cuttlecap tip to Karen–Thanks!

A Cephalopodmas Tale

Blame PZ–he posted this. WHich reminded me of a cephalopodmas tale from long ago…

It was Cephalopodmas, and all through the blogs
Not a writer was stirring—all sleeping like logs.
Each blogosphere-dweller, from Orac to PZ
Was all bundled up and just taking it easy.
Their prone, sleeping forms, that might well have been granite
Slept through the most wonderful tale on the planet!
For all ‘cross the globe, from the oceans and seas,
All the cephalopods, just as nice as you please,
Took a break from their lurking in kelps and in corals
To visit the houses of people with morals.
(Ironic, you think? If they hadn’t been sleeping,
The bloggers would be so much happier peeping,
And witnessing all of this marvelous night.
Well, now that I write of it… next year, they might.)

(much more, after the jump:) [Read more…]

Bad Pun Of The Day

I don’t mind eels
Except as meals
And the way they feels

–Ogden Nash

This video shows the favored result of an encounter between an octopus and a moray eel. There are other videos out there that show a different result; you can find those yourself. We are cephalopod people here.

Looks mighty tasty to me.
Eel heaven, eel heaven, eel heaven…

Am I Making Myself Clear?

With a predator beneath you, looking up to see your shadow,
It is good to be transparent, so the light just passes through
But a nearby light’s reflection makes you sparkle like a diamond,
So a darker pigmentation is the better thing to do.
Those are two competing strategies, and mutually exclusive
Each has fatal flaws, so choosing “clear or solid?” is a bitch;
But now Japatella heathi and Onychoteuthis banksii
Have evolved the best of both worlds—in an instant, they can switch!

Story, after the jump: [Read more…]

Ok, Now It’s Personal

The intimidatingly brilliant Scicurious has challenged (or been challenged? It’s all so hazy) the Cuttlefish readership, in the Donors Choose competition.

Pity her, but don’t act on that pity. Crush her, or let her readers help her. I know we can win–I know my readers. Remember (as per this post), number of donors is crucial, so even small donations are very welcome (and yes, huge donations will also be tolerated).

The stakes couldn’t be higher: bragging rights, and drinks. And Sci has fired the first shot. “May the best vertebrate win” indeed. Them’s fightin’ words.

A vain and a thoughtless Scicurious
Wrote verse, in attempting to worrious
Her rhyme and her meter
Are working to beat her
And teachers of English are furious

More Trouble For Giant Cuttlefish

As if things were not bad enough
Point Lowly now has seals
Who may decide that cuttlefish
Make very tasty meals.
For now, they dine on snappers, but
They still are a concern
With fur seals by the dozen…
Will the cuttlefish return?

Via email from John Morales, minutes ago, more bad news for the Giant Cuttlefish at Point Lowly:

Fur seals have been spotted in upper Spencer Gulf at the breeding ground of the giant cuttlefish.

Whyalla fisherman Alan Hall says dozens of seals have been feeding on snapper at Point Lowly.

So they are eating snapper now, but giant cuttlefish are basically a protein popsicle. Just the cuttlebone, no nasty needle-shaped bones, no nasty scales. Seals aren’t dumb; I am worried.

While I’m talking about Point Lowly, let me remind any of you who have not signed the petition to do so ASAP. In my opinion, international signers are every bit as important; this is a huge tourist destination as well as a local treasure.