Living Fossils, Omega-3 and Stretchy Octopuses

Written by on April 3, 2013 in Marine Life

Daily Summary

Tubeworms are found at hydrothermal vent systems around the world.

Tubeworms are found at hydrothermal vent systems around the world. Photo credit: NOAA.

Deep-Sea Vent Life Not Living Fossils

Hydrothermal vents are home to a variety of old and bizarre creatures that thrive without sunlight or oxygen. After the initial discovery of hydrothermal vent systems in the 1970s, scientists speculated that the organisms may be living fossils (species that have remained relatively unchanged throughout history). New genetic evidence suggests that this is not the case and that modern versions of these creatures arose only after the last mass extinction 65 million years ago. This might seem like a long time, but it’s actually quite young compared to the first vent animals that appeared 500 million years ago.

Eating fish gives older adults an edge

Research from Harvard School of Public Health reveals that older adults with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids live an average of 2.2 years longer than those with lower levels and reduce their overall mortality rate by 27 percent. Higher levels of omega-3 also lowers their risk of dying from heart disease by about 35 percent. Omega-3 fatty acids are found almost exclusively in seafood. It has been known for a while that eating fatty seafood is healthy and can reduce the risk of heart disease, but this is the first study to relate omega-3 to overall mortality rates.

Female octopuses stretch further

By tempting octopuses with food, scientists were able to measure how far they can stretch their arms. For the first time, the researchers found that the octopuses’ “arm elongation ability” differed based on sex and size. As expected, smaller individuals stretch their arms further than larger ones. Researchers also found that all octopuses observed were able to extend their arms more than twice the normal length. But the most surprising discovery was that females were able to elongate their arms further than males of the same size.

Common octopus (Octopus vulgaris).

Common octopus (Octopus vulgaris). Photo credit: Albert Kok.

Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of MarineScienceToday.com. She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. She is also a PADI diver and dog lover. .

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