It turns out that the coral reef fish genus known as the wrasse is even more interesting than I realized when I wrote this post about their amazing ability to change sexes when the male leader of a harem dies. I read in this article, that a paper was published this week in the journal Coral Reefs by Giacomo Bernardi, UCSC professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, which included this video of tool use by a wrasse to crush clam shells.
Well, either that or he's just enjoying a solitary game of clam racquetball.
The animal kingdom never ceases to amaze and delight.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Friday, July 22, 2011
So I went to see if I could find more information about this and I found an article that says this ability is actually the norm among coral reef fish species.
This kind of stuff always amazes me; the way life will expand to fill every crevice and niche and develop the most incredible specialized adaptions. There's a Radiolab episode about a graduate student who led a scientific expedition to the arctic to explore the sea bottom for new forms of life. Apparently everyone wanted to discover a three-eyed tubeworm, but what they found was field upon subaquatic field of "yellow fluff" a strange new form of microbial life just kickin' it down beneath the arctic ice. Granted it's no three-eyed tubeworm, but it is Life.
Life's incredible adaptations seem to have no bounds. It was just last year that scientists discovered a form of microbial life that was not dependant on the same five elements basic to all known life. It used Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen and Nitrogen, but apparently didn't need Phosphorous like every other living thing (Although, there has been some controversy over the study that reached this conclusion).
Given the amazing stubbornness and perseverance of life, and the incredible length of time since our universe exploded into existence, it seems to me that life might be a lot more inevitable and common than we tend to believe.