Saturday, April 3, 2010

autotrophic animal

PZ Myers commented on the negative reaction of others to an article by Freeman Dyson about bio-engineering and the potential of a techno-utopia.  It was this article that came to mind when I read about Elysia chlorotica, a photosynthesizing mollusc.  It is so extravagent that it seems to be the product of bio-engineering rather than nature!  I used to think it would be great if I could photosynthesize.  Certainly this would be a welcome ability for Jain monks and nuns, or any vegan, liberating them from consuming other organisms to an extent they have hitherto only dreamed of.  What a fascinating animal!  (A similarly life altering symbiosis exists for the bacteria-symbiotic gutless oligochaetes, such as Olavius algarvensis. But Olavius is still a heterotroph.)

While on the subject of animals, the sort of images revealed by microscopy- the structure of crystals and small biological structures- are amazing!  When I look at a scolex or a placoid scale, I see art.  (The scolex looks like it is dessicated somewhat.)  And the movement of amphisbaenians (mimizutokage = worm lizard) is hypnotic, what other vertebrates move in such an invertebrate fashion?

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