Thursday, July 01, 2010

What Earthworms Admire

A post at Atomic Nerds sent me into Wiki-land, looking at tetrapods, where I found one sort that are anything but four-footed. They do have a well-developed skeleton and strong, strong skulls, but if you met one, you'd probably take it for Conan the Earthworm: caecilians. They're actually more like Mr. Magoo, as most sorts have eyes so simple all they can see is if it's dark or light out; this hardly matters, as they spend most of their workday tunneling through wet dirt like organic piledrivers.

They're the guys parent earthworms would (if they had, you know, speech-capable brains) tell their young to eat all the dirt on their plates so's they can grow up to be like; ain't gonna happen but hey, gotta have goals. (Then again, there's evidence they bear the same relation to worms that sparrowhawks do to sparrows...).

Have to wonder if the writer of Tremors had met up with one of these.


misbeHaven said...

Never go up against a Caecilian when death is on the line!

Anonymous said...

Damn! Why didn't I think of that?

Well done, that man.


Roberta X said...

MisbeHaven wins the Internets! Splendid.

Wallace Shawn: my hero!

RevolverRob said...

caecilians are awesome! My research advisor is mildly obsessed with them, he has a handful of skeletons (they have a VERY unique skeletal system, complete with an extremely unique cranial area). My advisor also has a pet caecilian which is just a weird thing to see, someone kept calling it a worm and I had to keep explaining that it is an amphibian.

Gymnophiona-philes unite!


Roberta X said...

Rob: utterly wonderful! Tam and i were wondering if anyone kept them as pets. Not especially cuddly but hard to beat 'em on the "cool and odd" scales.

I haven't been able to find any photos of the "beaked" caecilians, which sound like the weirdest of the lot; I suppose they've got laws like a turtle.

Roberta X said...

Er, JAWS like a turtle's, I mean.