First living example of giant ancient mollusc found in the wild

0

By Lef Apostolakis

The first known living sample of a giant, ancient mollusc that previously was known almost exclusively by its shells has been recovered from the Philippines.

A team of researchers have finally come across a live colony of giant shipworms, or Kuphus polythalamia. Washed-up, empty, elephant tusk-like shells first hinted at the existence of this metre-long animal in the 18th century, and there are a few specimens preserved in ethanol in collections around the world. But no one knew exactly what lay within – until now.

Daniel Distel at the Ocean Genome Legacy Center at Northeastern University in Boston and his colleagues were made aware of the animal’s potential location in 2010, when a collaborator pointed out a news story from Philippine TV featuring a local trying to eat one for its supposed medicinal properties. “[It was] amazing! I’ve been looking for them for 20 years,” Distel says. “My friend and mentor Ruth Turner looked for her whole career.”

Continue reading by clicking the name of the source below.

NO COMMENTS

Leave a Reply