Nature & Environment
First ever living giant shipworms discovered
By T.K. Randall
April 18, 2017 · 9 comments
Scientists extracted the worms from their shells. Image Credit: Marvin Altamia / YouTube
A team of researchers have located a live colony of huge prehistoric molluscs in the Philippines.
These large, disgusting-looking creatures were first rumored to exist in the 18th century, however up until now only a few empty shells and washed-up specimens had ever been found.
The most recent search for the giant shipworm began in 2010 after a local TV news report in the Philippines covered the story of a man who had eaten one of them for medicinal purposes.
It took two expeditions to the region for researchers to finally locate a colony of the creatures.
"It's hard not to be amazed when seeing one in the flesh, even if you know nothing about them," said Daniel Distel of the Ocean Genome Legacy Center at Northeastern University in Boston.
"There is no other animal like them."
Giant shipworms live inside hard shells and are one of only a few species known to eat wood.
A video showing researchers extracting the creatures for examination can be viewed below.
Source: New Scientist
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