Nature sez - 250-year-old worms

Daniel Martin dani at
Fri Feb 11 04:55:19 EST 2000

Dear folks,

I have also read both the Discovery new and the Nature's brief comment 
on the vestimentiferan worms. And there is one thing that immediately 
arise from the comparison of both texts, independent of the fact that you 
may trust on the scientific methods or not. This is, how a partial 
intrepretation of scientific studies by newsman (always looking for high 
impact news) produce silly ideas (I am sure that most of us will 
immediately think on many examples of this).  

For instance, the comment about corals as non-colonial organisms. 
Although there are some solitary corals, these organisms are probably 
the best known example of colonial animals. Also the comment on 
palatability. Most organisms living in vent communities are adapted to the 
presence of chemicals in the water, so the accumulation of these 
materials in the potential preys might not discourage an adapted predator 
to feed on it. This may only be valid for transient predators. The final 
comment on extinction is also typical example of what newsman are 
looking forward to hear from scientist.  

On the other hand, I do not know if the title of the paper is an authors' 
choice or not (maybe the original one was modified by the editors) but it 
seems to me that the use of the word "record" is non-pertinent. 
According to my colleagues working on sponges, there are -among 
others- some slow-growing, long-living, deep water hexactinellid sponges 
that may live for 100s of years, even 5 centuries. And sponges, although 
"primitive" organisms, are non-colonial too. However, I am not certain if 
there are some study published on this (if anybody knows, the 
information will be welcome). Maybe some of our list members also 
knows about longliving organisms which may be considered records but 
has not been published in Nature.   



Dr. Daniel Martin
Cientifico Titular

Centre d'Estudis Avancats de Blanes (CSIC)
Cami de Sta. Barbara s/n
17300 Blanes, Girona
FAX:  34 972 337806
Phone: 34 972 336101
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