NOAA discovers a new, beautifully weird sea creature

Exceptionally high-quality videos allow scientists to formally introduce a remarkable new comb jelly.

  • Gorgeous simplicity characterizes the comb jelly recently discovered by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries.
  • The small denizen of the deep was spotted three times beneath the waters off Puerto Rico.
  • Though it's unusual to formally identify an animal strictly based on video observations, the quality of NOAA's video made it possible in a case where there's no better alternative.
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Earth’s first lifeforms breathed arsenic, not oxygen

The microbes that eventually produced the planet's oxygen had to breathe something, after all.

Credit: BRONWYN GUDGEON/Shutterstock
  • We owe the Earth's oxygen to ancient microbes that photosynthesized and released it into the world's oceans.
  • A long-standing question has been: Before oxygen, what did they breathe?
  • The discovery of microbes living in a hostile early-Earth-like environment may provide the answer.
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Sharks flee in terror when killer whales show up

Sharks fear killer whales. How does this impact the ecosystems they share?

Credit: Tory Kallman/Shutterstock
  • A new study finds that sharks will flee areas they met orcas in for up to a year.
  • Killer whales are known to eat sharks, but it is unknown if the sharks are fleeing because they know that too.
  • The discovery will change our understanding of how marine ecosystems evolve.
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For starlet sea anemones, more food means more arms

A new study finds that starlet sea anemones have the unique ability to grow more tentacles when they've got more to eat.

Credit: Smithsonian Environmental Research Center/Wikimedia
  • These anemones belong to the Cnidaria phylum that continues developing through its lifespan.
  • The starlet sea anemone may grow as many as 24 tentacles, providing there's enough food.
  • When deprived of the chance to reproduce, they also grow more tentacles.
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Megalodon’s actual size, recalculated

A new study bases its calculations on more than the great white shark.

  • Previous estimates of the megalodon's size were based solely on its teeth compared to the star of "Jaws."
  • The prehistoric monster is as closely related to other sharks.
  • Imagine just a dorsal fin as tall as you are.
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