Friday, May 23, 2008

You Know What They Say About Glass Houses...

At over half a billion years old, sponges are the oldest multi-cellular animals on the planet. Scientists have identified thousands of species, and believe there are many more yet to be found. Indeed, the NOAA Ocean Explorer recently discovered a new marine sponge, dubbed “Bill Clinton,” as it apparently resembles the former US president’s hair-do.

Sponges have a very simple anatomy, and don’t form tissues or organs. But Hexactinellid, or glass sponges also boast some of the most complex skeletons known to science, far stronger than any feats of human architecture. These creatures use intricate arrangements of tiny needle-like shards of silica (known as spicules), layered with glue, to create their reinforced cage-like skeletons.

These unique skyscrapers of the sea provide excellent homes and make great nurseries for a wide range of fish, crustaceans, and other organisms. As a very slow growing species, glass sponges are particularly vulnerable to destruction by bottom trawling. These crocheted specimens are happily safe from harm in the window of The Loop, in downtown Halifax, where they serve as habitat for a growing swath of crafted critters.


mariona said...

tis is retarded its just rapped up in yarn, i'm not stupid

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