1. Repertoire says

    Should I be reading this blog for the science, or because these images are great for my Call of Cthulhu game? I can’t decide…

  2. Lago says

    So, I was in school studying biology, at the top of my class, and my older brother comes in from fishing. He was a mate out of New Bedford MA. on a scallop boat. He reaches into his bag of goodies to show me some of the odd-ball stuff that the drags pulled up from the bottom of the sea. In the pile was a piece of what appeared to be a man made glass, that was glossy, and wavy. It was from a larger piece and had been broken off in such a way that we could not tell what the original form was.

    My brother told me that he thought it was a shell of sorts to some creature. I laughed and said that I doubted it. It looked to polished. It look like it had a glazed coating of sorts. This was obviously man made.

    One day while cleaning up, I found the piece. I picked it up and tried to figure out what to do with it. I asked, “Why keep this silly piece of broken glass?” I then threw the piece out with the rest of the trash. When my brother later came back again from fishing, he asked if I had seen the piece, and I got nervous, and said “no”.

    Fishing got bad in New Bedford for a long while, and many fishermen lost their jobs. My brother was no exception, and he went about a year with no work at all. The man that came in with $8000 in his pocket was down to mowing my grass to try and make $40.

    I was at school and my family called to tell me that my brother had gotten a job on a boat, and everyone was happy for him. I felt good, as he was nothing if not a man of the sea. They then went out and had a successful trip, and the first time in a long time my brother had money again. The crew went home and they celebrated all night long on shore. My brother never woke from that celebration, as he was found dead on the floor the next morning.

    A couple of months later, while still numb from this particular arrow, I sat and watched the TV with my eyes a bit glazed over. Suddenly, on the TV came a film of what looked like a living ammonite. I knew it was not a Nautilus that I was looking at, and was rather confused. It seemed it was a type of octopus actually that developed a very thin glossy shell. The animal was regularly called “A Paper Nautilus” and was totally unknown to me before that moment. There was simply no doubt in my mind that I was looking at the shell that my brother had handed me month before, which I had thrown out as simply glass. The shell was thin, white, with what looked like spray painted black-grey markings.

    We all learn that we should be humble. My brother, though gone now for many years, reminds me, every day.

  3. Doug says

    Carl Zimmer ‘Loom’ has a thread on ‘Old Hands and New Fins’ in the Category: Evolution.

    Consider this cuttlefish [cephalopod] comment [from transcript and viewable in the video] from PBS NOVA [WGBH Boston] ‘Kings of Camouflage’:

    “But the strangest of them all is a creature called the flamboyant cuttlefish. For a start, it’s walking, not swimming.”

    Could the cuttlebone be related to the notochord?

  4. Rheinhard says

    OK, can someone please explain why this thing appears to have suckers around its EYEBALL? This would seem to make no sense, and if some artist had drawn this I would have been tempted to point out that the general point of suckers is to stick to things you want to move around to your mouthal area. Unless this species of cephalopod has its eyeball on an appendage that can move around to its mouth, this would seem to be an argument for un-intelligent design. ;)

  5. says

    Rheinhard, I think one of its tentacles is curled up in front of its eye. I hope so anyway, it’s just to painful to contemplate otherwise!

  6. says

    re Cuttlebone/notochord

    um, no, Doug. Nice *idea* but the cuttlebone doesn’t have any nerve cord running along it for a start.

    But yes, flamboyant cuttles o ‘walk’ (or rather stalk on tentacle-tip, cautiously, along the black sandy bottoms in that part of the world) are the epitome of cool. and so tiny!

  7. David Marjanović says

    Could the cuttlebone be related to the notochord?

    Nope. It’s the good old mollusc conchiferan shell, internalized.

  8. David Marjanović says

    Could the cuttlebone be related to the notochord?

    Nope. It’s the good old mollusc conchiferan shell, internalized.

  9. David Marjanović says

    Aha, the <strike> tag is not allowed. It was around “mollusc”.

  10. David Marjanović says

    Aha, the <strike> tag is not allowed. It was around “mollusc”.