The Intersection

Every Species Needs a Hero

i-0ee598006053321842ac288d8b483127-sea_cucumber_300_196.jpgAs someone who’s spent a heck of a lot of time studying sea cucumbers, I’m the first to know when these critters make the news. It’s not because I follow the literature, but rather that everyone who does feels the desire to forward me related articles. Despite that this is an extremely charismatic animal, I’m not sure I’m completely comfortable with the association. I’ve definitely waded into many other (arguably as interesting) areas since my early days with echinoderms. Still, I’m beginning to recognize the reputation will follow me regardless.

Well, every species needs a hero and I’ve been a denialist long enough. Friday, this article hit my inbox a total of 28 times.

Sea cucumbers will probably provide us with the key to deciphering how to regenerate our tissues, or at least find out what is needed to do this.

Now sea cucumbers have long been involved in eastern medicine touted as ‘Ginseng of the Sea‘ and among other uses, have purported aphrodisiac qualities. I have no basis for comment and am admittedly skeptical – particularly of the latter. However, their curious regenerative abilities are undoubtedly real and understanding the mechanisms responsible provides tremendous potential in medicine. Perhaps ‘Stem Cells of the Sea’ would be a more apt title. Thus, today I embrace my roots in sea cucumber-ology and encourage everyone to learn more about the wonderful world of this stimulating holothurian.

Comments

  1. #1 Coturnix
    October 22, 2007

    “stimulating holothurian”? LOve your word-play ;-)

  2. #2 Chris Mooney
    October 22, 2007

    Speaking of word play….I hope you realize that your title has had me singing Tina Turner all day.

  3. #3 Sheril R. Kirshenbaum
    October 22, 2007

    I knew you’d love it Bora ;)

    Chris, the thought of you singing ‘We Don’t Need Another Hero’ leaves me intrigued… That is to say, I’ll be looking forward to the live performance next time we’re together. It may even be a reasonable pick for next year’s Mooney-Kirshenbaum kareoke duet.

  4. #4 Philip H.
    October 22, 2007

    Miss Sheril,
    Stimulating and holothurian are not words I normally string together, under any circumstances. Of course, being a bivalve guy, I’m just as guilty of reverting to a love of the simple as the next invert biologist. So thanks for taking me back!

    Now, if you REALLY want to cause a stir in the Bio-Blog world, I suggest a long piece on “nudi”branchs is in order.

  5. #5 Coin
    October 22, 2007

    What I have always wondered is why we don’t have a superhero with the mutant powers of a sea cucumber.

    ABLE TO EJECT HIS INTERNAL ORGANS AT EVILDOERS TO SUBDUE THEM, THEN GROW THEM BACK, HE IS… THE SEA CUCUMBER

  6. #6 Sheril R. Kirshenbaum
    October 22, 2007

    ABLE TO EJECT HIS INTERNAL ORGANS AT EVILDOERS TO SUBDUE THEM

    Coin,

    While this is an intriguing idea, they mainly expel their gonads and thus, it wouldn’t quite make for an adequate Saturday morning cartoon. They do, however, secrete some super mysterious toxin. That’s a nifty superpower too, no?

  7. #7 Coin
    October 22, 2007

    While this is an intriguing idea, they mainly expel their gonads and thus, it wouldn’t quite make for an adequate Saturday morning cartoon.

    That’s okay, comic books are for adults now too! We could get Frank Miller to draw it; he’s all about the gonads.

  8. #8 Sheril R. Kirshenbaum
    October 22, 2007

    We could get Frank Miller to draw it; he’s all about the gonads.

    I like it Coin, definitely potential here. If you secure the artist, I will agree to work on the story line. There are so many directions one can go that would be novel given the possibilities of an underwater comic world.

  9. #9 Oliver
    October 23, 2007

    Sheril, just counter Chris’ Tina Turner with an ample dose of Bonnie Tyler, she’s still holding out for a hero. ;)

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