The MAGNETO SNAIL! (and other marine gastropods)  In 2015, a new…

The MAGNETO SNAIL! (and other marine gastropods) 

In 2015, a new species of deep-sea snail was described that blew our minds: the the scaly-foot gastropod (Crysomallon squamiferum), aka basically the Magneto Snail. Living in hydrothermal ecosystems is a tough life, so this snail had evolved with a shell literally made out of iron – some populations’ shells are even magnetic. Food sources are scarce down there but these snails don’t eat – they get all of their energy through a process of chemosynthesis, in which the bacteria living in their guts produce the nutrients required for sustained life.

The more I looked into the fascinating world of marine snails, I realized I knew virtually nothing about these invertebrates. They’ve dominated every part of the ocean, from the banks to the floor, inhabiting niches that allow them to diversify in incredible ways.

So, here’s a quick overview of some of the 4.5 million snails in the Field’s collection! Stay tuned to hear Jochen play a giant conch shell at the end. It’s worth it.

By: The Brainscoop.

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The MAGNETO SNAIL! (and other marine gastropods)  In 2015, a new…

What is the U.S. doing about extinction?  The term ‘endangered…

What is the U.S. doing about extinction? 

The term ‘endangered species’ is thrown around a lot, but what does it mean to be endangered? And, are endangered species only a step away from extinction?

May 20th is Endangered Species Day, so we took it as an opportunity to explore some of the ways in which U.S. policy has worked towards bringing many species, and their ecosystems, back from the brink.

By: The Brainscoop.

What is the U.S. doing about extinction?  The term ‘endangered…

Tully monster mystery SOLVED!  The Tully monster (Tullimonstrum…

Tully monster mystery SOLVED! 

The Tully monster (Tullimonstrum gregarium) is a weird creature. It was first discovered by an amateur collector, Francis Tully, in 1955 and the original specimens ended up at The Field Museum. Only found in the Mazon Creek formation of Illinois, it quickly gained the affection of the public and scientists alike, and became the state fossil in 1989.

The only problem was that nobody knew what, exactly, the monster was. For decades, the Tully monster was classified as an invertebrate, perhaps related to annelid worms, or arthropods. But back in March, a paper co-authored by Field scientists was published in the science journal Nature, and it finally cracked the mystery: Tully monsters are vertebrates! and closely related to lampreys.

FINALLY!

By: The Brainscoop.

Tully monster mystery SOLVED!  The Tully monster (Tullimonstrum…

Beetles, Mites, Cockroaches Oh My! [Insect Collection Tour] The…

Beetles, Mites, Cockroaches Oh My! [Insect Collection Tour] 

The insect collection is the largest at The Field Museum, and houses more than 12 million specimens from all over the world. Only 4 million of those are in the pinned collection – the rest are stored in alcohol in another part of the building.

Crystal Maier, the collection’s manager, took some time to show us how one organizes millions of specimens varying in size, shape, and number. Also I saw the most purple beetle in the world. It’s so purple, you guys.

Want to search the zoological collections on your own? Look no further!: http://bit.ly/fmnhzoology

Want more on Crystal? Check out an interview with her about water beetles!

By: The Brainscoop.

Beetles, Mites, Cockroaches Oh My! [Insect Collection Tour] The…