One of the world’s strangest creatures has found its long-lost kin. Oxford University scientists have discovered that an extremely rare gutless worm is related to sea anemones and jellyfish, rather than similar-looking animals, reports the journal Science. The finding could cause an evolutionary rethink.
The rare worm Buddenbrockia only merits a footnote in most biology textbooks. Now genetic research has shown it is a relative of anemones and jellyfish. (Credit: Image courtesy of University Of Oxford)
The worm, Buddenbrockia, has been seen only a handful of times since its discovery in 1851 and exactly where it fits in the animal kingdom has long puzzled scientists. ‘It has no mouth, no gut, no brain and no nerve cord,’ said Professor Peter Holland of Oxford University’s Department of Zoology who led the study.
‘No mouth, no gut, no brain and no nerve cord’ … that sounds like being related to George W. Bush … oh no, he does have a mouth. Sorry, Buddenbrockia, for the insult.