Sulphur-powered giant shipworm unearthed in Philippines

19 April, 2017, 11:09 | Author: Delbert Rhodes
  • Science fiction horror wriggles into reality with discovery of giant sulfur-powered shipworm

In a research paper published to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences a team of United States and Filipino researchers were finally able to confirm that a species known to the local populace for centuries was indeed the first ever analysed by science.

Although the scientists knew of the giant shipworm for centuries, the creature had been elusive until a local documentary featured natives cooking and eating it.

The Kuphus polythamia is actually a bivalve, the same species as clams and mussels, despite having the name shipworm. It is covered in a hard calcium carbonate shell and it spends most of its time in the mud of the seabed. It is submerged head-down in mud, which it feeds on.

Video from the study shows scientists carefully slicing the end of the giant shipworm's shell off.

As for the giant shipworm's diet, the team suspected it didn't share its cousins' diet of rotting wood and mud since it was completely encased in its shell.

Daniel Distel, a researcher from Northeastern University and some of his colleagues managed to get their hands on a handful of giant shipworm during a trip they took to the Philippines on April 17 of a year ago.

Researchers who analysed the creature found that although it had its own digestive system, this was shrunken and appeared to be largely redundant.

The research team from the US, France and the Philippines then found a colony of the giant shipworms "planted like carrots" in a shallow lagoon.

What's next in the Vijay Mallya extradition process?
His profile rose further when he acquired a stake in the Force India F1 team and ownership of the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Mallya left for London in March 2016 after the lenders moved the Supreme Court to recover loans from him.

Doctor prescribed meds for Prince in another name
Authorities also searched Johnson's cellphone records, to see who he was communicating with in the month before Prince died. Kornfeld can not clear his schedule to fly to Minnesota immediately, so he sends his son, Andrew, on an overnight flight.

India to appeal against Kulbhushan Jadhav's death sentence, says envoy
Aziz yesterday shared the state's chargesheet against alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav and a timeline of his trial. Aziz said Jadhav can appeal against the verdict of the military tribunal within 40 days to a military Appellate Court.

Though its existence has been known for years, no living specimen had been studied until now.

Similarly, the researchers believe that the giant shipworm evolved from wood-eating ancestors that used wood as a "stepping stone" between habitats.

Most shipworms are smaller and feed on rotten wood. The discovery, they said, is akin to finding the "unicorn" of mollusks.

The giant shipworm's feeding method is stranger.

While this in itself is not unusual - normal shipworms also have bacteria living in their gill that help them digest the wood they eat - what the researchers found when studying the giant shipworm was that its bacterial genome contains features, such as sulfur globules, similar to those in other sulfur-oxidizing bacteria.

Taking this as their lead, the researchers launched an expedition which resulted in the incredible find of a live specimen of the Kuphus polythalamia.

Scientists have discovered a weird species of shipworm - a giant, black worm-like animal that plants itself into mud like carrots and gets energy from noxious fumes of sulphur.


  • North Korea parades military weapons, but no nuke test

    There had been concern North Korea might decide to mark the occasion with a nuclear or missile test, but it never materialized. Analysts say commercial satellite images from recent weeks indicate increased activity around North Korea's nuclear test site.
    US declines to brand China a currency manipulator

    US declines to brand China a currency manipulator

    "Whether they're currency manipulators or not, we should expect them to act to prevent what could be a cataclysmic event". All six countries had been named by Obama's Treasury Department as well.

    AR Supreme Court Upholds Bruce Ward Stay of Execution

    The judge says he's morally opposed to the death penalty, but that his beliefs shouldn't prevent him from taking up certain cases. The controversial drug has been used in a number of botched executions in recent years, with people's deaths lasting hours.
  • Thumbs-up for electronic sports at the 2022 Asian Games

    Thumbs-up for electronic sports at the 2022 Asian Games

    The Olympic Council of Asia says it will introduce esports to the official program of the Asian Games at Hangzhou, China. Sales are predicted to rise to £553million in 2017, with 15 per cent of revenue coming from China alone.
    Christians mark Easter at site of Jesus's resurrection site in Jerusalem

    Christians mark Easter at site of Jesus's resurrection site in Jerusalem

    Processions marking the resurrection were also held in churches. "At our baptism we accepted the New Life of Christ". D' Souza SJ, in his homily, said obedience to God is a blessing and disobedience to God will lead to disaster.

    Verstappen fastest in 3rd and final practice at Bahrain GP

    Overall I was just a little bit down, but a great battle. "It will definitely be a close battle". Fernando Alonso was unable to run in Q2 with a power unit problem and finished 15th.
  • United Utilities Group PLC (UUGRY) Valuation According To Analysts

    Berenberg Bank reiterated their buy rating on shares of Kier Group plc (LON:KIE) in a research note issued to investors on Friday. Investors sentiment increased to 1.1 in Q4 2016. 40 funds opened positions while 55 raised stakes. 8,761 were reported by Kcg.
    Will free college offer catch fire? NY details raise doubts

    Will free college offer catch fire? NY details raise doubts

    Bowen noted that "Dreamers", undocumented students who were brought to the children, are ineligible for the scholarship. That component is vital, as it would provide an effective safety net for students whose families lack the necessary resources.
    Google settles Russian antitrust case over default Android apps

    Google settles Russian antitrust case over default Android apps

    Google is battling against similar anti-trust cases in the European Union , where BT recently took the search giant's side.
  • New Zealand toughens requirements for skilled immigrants

    New Zealand toughens requirements for skilled immigrants

    The proposals would also line up temporary work visas in seasonal jobs to the season rather than for 12 months as is now the case.

    Russia blocks UN Security Council condemnation of Syria attack

    Tillerson will fly back to the USA tomorrow but says both are committed to talking about their significant differences. Tillerson is considering the request, he said, "and we expect that Washington will have a constructive reaction".

    It's a boy! Zoo confirms April the giraffe's calf is a male

    Although the official stats aren't in yet, April's calf likely stands about 6 feet tall and weighs between 100 and 150 pounds. Neither have we (probably because it only has 3,543 residents), but it's 15 minutes outside of Binghamton, New York.


Dad 'tried everything' to save daughter killed by shark in Western Australia
Mr Kelly dismissed any suggestion his department should deploy drum lines in the wake of Monday's tragedy. Water Police have urged people to avoid the water in the Wylie Bay area for at least the next 48 hours.

New Google Earth Coming This Week: Could It Replace Google Maps?
Other than searching for new places on the planet , you can also fetch Knowledge Cards to find about related places. The new version of Google Earth is available now in the Chrome browser, and rolls out to Android devices this week.

21st Century Fox investigating O'Reilly harassment claims
Fox News has said that Walsh was dropped from "The O'Reilly Factor " because the program's ratings declined when she appeared. Advertisers who chose to abandon O'Reilly include Mercedes, H&R Block, Constant Contact, and Allstate Insurance.

WATCH Now Associate Justice Gorsuch Get Sworn In
And members of the LGBTQ community say the new Supreme Court justice could do a lot of damage. Gorsuch's confirmation process, too, was marred by an extraordinary degree of partisanship.

Trump Goes After Leading Democrat in Ga. House Race
There's no primary for this special election , which also means that a candidate has to receive more than 50% of the vote to win. Be proactive - Use the "Flag as Inappropriate" link at the upper right corner of each comment to let us know of abusive posts.

Kylie Jenner makes Tyga jealous?
Kylie has remained quiet about her split from Tyga , having yet to publicly announce that she's no longer dating the rapper. Kendall Jenner and Kylie Jenner attend Winter Bumbleland - Day 1 on April 15, 2017 in Rancho Mirage, California.

Triple Talaq row: AIMPLB questions PM Modi's repeated 'interference'
The issue has been blown out of proportion by the media and by people who are cut off from the ground realities", the board said. The organisation, she said, has already received 15,500 calls on its Muslim women helpline number 18001028426 so far.

Trump claims immunity as president from protesters' lawsuit
He admitted that he "physically pushed a woman down the aisle toward the exit" in the letter, according to the lawsuit. "Mr. Bamberger filed a counter claim on Friday saying that he acted on Trump's "urging and inspiration".

Sai Praneeth Scripts Maiden Super Series Final Win
This was Tai's 25th successive victory, spread over five months, and earned her a fifth straight title. The Korean managed to reduce the deficit to 4-10 before the Indian entered the break with a 11-4 lead.

Attorney calls for Georgia officers to be criminally charged
About 45 seconds into the video, McDonald is seen jogging into the frame, barely slowing down before stomping on Hollins' face. The officer said the vehicle appeared to stall, and he got out to speak to the driver and could smell marijuana.