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K-Media - Puma®

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

What's this?

So what's this pic?

The skeleton of a radiolarian, one of a group of single-celled sea creatures with skeletons made of silica, a glassy material. Radiolarians have evolved into a dizzying variety of shapes in their 600 million-year history. This photograph, whose original source we have been unable to determine, was processed by Dr. Sinan Canan of Baskent University, Turkey, who added color. (All scanning electron microscope images, as this one is, are in black-and-white). Despite their geometric structures, radiolarians are related to the blob-like amoebas often studied in high school biology classes. Most radiolarian skeletons comprise an intricate network of holes and spines that regulate pseudopods, limb-like outgrowths used to capture prey. The skeletons contribute to the so-called radiolarian ooze, a deep-sea deposit found in the Indian and Pacific oceans.

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