Just imagine: one fine day, a fish revealed to you …
With proto-limbs, a monstrous face, all tinged with silver-blue!
Huge and strange and other-worldly, long thought to be lost,
In the flesh (starting to smell!) so many epochs crossed.
The coelacanth! Good Old Four Legs, to some, the “Living Fossil,”
The animal itself is big, its history colossal!
Ms. Latimer, she recognized its weirdness and allure;
Decades later, of its story some things were not sure.
But now we have its genome clear and plain for all to see,
Shedding light on autopods, immune systems, and pee!
More closely tied to humans than to tuna or to trout,
Holding secrets of the beasts who from the sea, climbed out.
Living fossil genome unlocked, Nature News
African coelacanth genome provides insights into tetrapod evolution, Amemiya et al., Nature 2013
First posted 4/19/13 at Katherine Allen’s website.
Behold! New treasures from the Burgess Shale,
In black and silent strata long held firm.
From features soft, a bold ancestral tale …
Be proud, descendants of the noble worm!
Oh, glorious the hemichordate line,
Spartobranchus tenuis among them,
On slime and mud they heartily do dine;
History has surely under-sung them.
From which deep root, vertebral creatures grew?
A scarcity of fossils long obscured;
Into this question we can dive anew,
With gorgeous, detailed imprints that endured.
A wondrous time, the Cambrian Explosion …
Move over, Eve; my roots are in the ocean!
- Tubular worms from the Burgess Shale, Nature / News & Views by Henry Gee:
- Tubicolous enteropneusts from the Cambrian period, Caron et al., Nature 2013
First posted on 3/29/13 at Katherine Allen’s website.