Tag Archive: fish

Weirdest Animals of the Ocean Depths

wizard-of-amphioxus (1)

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Many creatures of the deep are not well known, and we feel that all of them deserve a bit more publicity (even if some of them have faces more suitable for radio than the internet). So, we present our top favourite weird sea creatures that you may not have heard of before.  7. Amphioxus Considering we filmed a video about Scottish wildlife, it’s only fair that the first animal on this list can be found in Scottish waters. Although, it looks like a fish, it is actually a distant relative. Amphioxus doesn’t have a backbone. I don’t mean it’s a cowardly animal, rather, it’s spinal chord is surrounded by  a rod of cells called a notochord. Scientists believe that this arrangement was also found in our earliest vertebrate ancestors. Again, no disrepect to the Amphioxus  but they are very simple creatures. They have no respiratory organs like gills (instead they breathe through their skin). They have no heart and no blood …

Shark Teeth Weapons

Helmet from the Gilbert Islands made of porcupine fish skin. PRM 1884.32.31  Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford.

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Natural History Museum collections have been used for a novel study: the past biodiversity of a remote collection of Pacific coral islands. Joshua Drew from Columbia University and colleagues have just published a paper (see below) reporting on their identification of shark teeth used in weapons made by Kiribati people from the Gilbert Islands over a hundred years ago and now in the collection of Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History. Having no metal, but a tradition of hunting the plentiful sharks, the I-Kiribati people used shark teeth to edge coconut wood weapons, both swords and fierce-looking tridents. While the team found plenty of teeth from species of sharks that still roam the local coral reefs, like tiger sharks, two species were represented that no longer exist around the Gilbert Islands, dusky and spottail sharks. The team were excited that museum collections could be used to shed light on past ecosystems, and to highlight changes in those ecosystems over time. …

Quiz 2 – Oceans

sciencequiz

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It’s time for another of Unpopular Science’s famous science quizzes. This is week 2 of our quiz schedule. After 5 weeks, whoever has the highest cumulative score will win a copy of  Tiger Wars by Steve Backshall*.  If you want your score to be tracked, add your name and email. If you just want a bit of fun, don’t worry. You can start the quiz by simply clicking Next. To see the leaders of the first week’s quiz, see our leaderboard. You can still join in, by doing our first quiz here. * In the event of a tie, names will be drawn at random and the Editor’s decision is always final. One entry per person. Prize will be announced soon. Also, good luck!

Book Review: River Monsters by Jeremy Wade

rivermonsters

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River Monsters Author: Jeremy Wade Published: 18 October 2012 Publisher: Orion Summary: A fascinating, engrossing read whether you’ve ever cast a line or not. We’ve all heard a fisherman’s tale before. Those far-fetched stories concerning ‘the ones that got away’ shared in the corner of dimly lit pubs by liquor-soaked men with missing teeth. Well, oddly enough, it turns out some of them were true. Of course, zoologist and extreme angler Jeremy Wade has known this for a long time and, for the past twenty-five years, he’s been travelling the world collecting the stories of ferocious freshwater attacks previously written off as folklore by the masses. From tales of sharks attacking horses at river crossings (yes, sharks in rivers!), to spiked fish lodging themselves inside gentlemen’s nether regions, it really is incredible how many of the myths Wade investigates in River Monsters turn out to be fact. From the opening sentence, it’s clear Wade can write (he’s previously been employed as …

The fish with the head of a fish and the body of – a different fish?

frankenfish

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With the end of the year fast approaching, I thought it might be a good time to reflect upon my favourite science story of 2012 and, in true Unpopular Science style, it’s one that may well have passed you by. On a cloudy day in May, just north of Cambridge, an outlandish beast was dragged from the depths of Magpie Lake by fishing tackle expert, Mark Sawyer. Gazing upon his catch Sawyer, tackle editor of Angling Times, immediately found himself in awe of the curious creature before him. The fish was not one of the roach, bream or goldfish known to inhabit the lake, but instead seemed to be a bizarre chimaera of the three; with the head of a roach, the anal fin of a bream and the body and tail of a fan-tailed goldfish. The ‘Frankenfish’ as it was quickly dubbed did grab some media attention, with many experts commenting it was quite possibly the result of hybridisation (goldfish, …

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