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Natural World

First ever living giant shipworms discovered

April 18, 2017 | Comment icon 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 | Comments (9)



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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Astra. 5 years ago
So glad I wasn't eating my breakfast, when I watched the video.
Comment icon #2 Posted by aquatus1 5 years ago
Okay then, that's tonight's nightmare all lined up...
Comment icon #3 Posted by docyabut2 5 years ago
 
Comment icon #4 Posted by Totah Dine 5 years ago
I want one! O. O
Comment icon #5 Posted by Astra. 5 years ago
Speaking of worms, I like the garden variety. They do a wonderful job by the recycling of organic waste.  Your poor mum had a tape worm ? that's horrible....where on earth did she pull the worm from...do you mean she vomited it up ?
Comment icon #6 Posted by third_eye 5 years ago
I'm more curious as to why these shipworms have never been found or seen before now ... ~
Comment icon #7 Posted by paperdyer 5 years ago
So the scientists killed the worm so they could dissect it or was it found dead in the mud?
Comment icon #8 Posted by MJNYC 5 years ago
That's why I didn't watch the video.  I couldn't watch someone killing another being, just because he can.   When will we learn?
Comment icon #9 Posted by aquatus1 5 years ago
Well, as the title and the article explain, these clams were located after a search by the team in an undisclosed lake.  While their general existence was known of, no one had yet found living ones.  This group extrapolated from the data they had the most likely place to find them, and they did.


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