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White Acorn Worm - Deep Atlantic

by James Owen

This newfound creature is part of a group that may represent an evolutionary link between vertebrates and invertebrates, scientists believe. Previously only a handful of species of the enteropneust acorn worm had been known, and only from the Pacific Ocean. But the recent (2010) expedition turned up three potential new species of these “living fossils” along the undersea mountain chain that divides the Atlantic Ocean lengthwise.

“What we’re seeing here are the first steps in the evolution of mobile animals, either by crawling or swimming,” said marine biologist Monty Priede, of the University of Aberdeen. “This particular white one we observed swimming.”

(via: National Geo)          (photo: David Shale)

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