During the end of a research expedition, scientists discovered a new species of deep sea acorn worm (Enteropneusts) 2500 meters (1.5 miles) beneath the surface of the Atlantic Ocean. Because of its shape, they named this new creature after Jedi Master Yoda from Star Wars: Yoda purpurata.
“Our colleague in California Nick Holland, the world authority on the Enteropneusts, chose the name Yoda, for the new genus characterised by its large ear-like lips,” explained Professor Monty Priede, lead researcher and Director of University of Aberdeen’s Oceanlab.
The research team notes that Yoda purpurata, and the other two species of acorn worms they discovered, are particularly important because they are close to the evolutionary link between vertebrates (like fish, sharks and humans) and invertebrates (like clams, worms and insects).
“In particular the deep sea species show how a primitive animal with some chordate characteristics but no tail or limbs can drag itself across the sea floor using a muscular collar to gather food and then float above the sea floor to new feeding sites,” said Priede.
“Whilst they are not strictly a missing link in our own evolution they give an insight into what the lifestyle of our remote ancestors might have been like.”
To learn more
- Read the full press release, here: May the force be with them
- Find the results published in the journal Invertebrate Biology: Observations on torquaratorid acorn worms (Hemichordata, Enteropneusta) from the North Atlantic with descriptions of a new genus and three new species
- Check out some other species named after celebrities
Copyright © 2012 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.