Marine giants

The work of Craig McClain (of Deep-Sea News) is written up in Science Daily—it’s cool stuff. Also notable is that it is illustrated with a photo of a giant isopod…one of those creatures Kent Hovind calls a trilobite, and uses to support his contention that the earth is only 6000 years old (Look! Trilobites still live in the Arctic! Idjit.)


  1. #1 Numad
    September 29, 2006

    Where are the marine PYGMIES?

  2. #2 Kseniya
    September 29, 2006

    Isopod = Trilobite? OMG.

    (But how did isopods get up into that 500-million-year-old shale in the Canadian Rockies?)

    Isopods are scary. I saw a photo of one that had taken up residence in a fish’s mouth. I assume the fish tried to eat the isopod and instead of a meal, received a nasty surprise?

  3. #3 Steviepinhead
    September 29, 2006

    Yow! That isopod is awesome!

    Should certainly make the cut for the next Kong movie.

  4. #4 Stanton
    September 29, 2006

    Kseniya, that isopod wasn’t eaten by the fish, it belongs to a group of parasitic isopods that enter into the mouths of fish hosts, eat out and replace their tongues so that the buggers can get first dibs on whatever their hosts swallow.
    I believe they’re closely related to those parasitic isopods that clamp down on the bodies of fish and drink their bloods on a mostly permanent basis.

  5. #5 Millimeter Wave
    September 30, 2006

    you know, I’ve never understood this creationist argument. Of course, I’m just a dumb engineer, but…

    Why would the existence of extant trilobytes*, or, for that matter, evidence that dinosaurs existed contemporaneously with humans, be in some way evidence that the Earth is only 6,000 years old, or that evolutionary theory is in some way broken? Is this any more than the ludicrous “if we evolved from monkeys**, how come there are still monkeys” argument? Really, what’s the substance to this argument?

    *yes, I know there isn’t any evidence of that assertion, and isopods aren’t trilobytes. I’m just accepting it arguendo.

    **yes, I know that isn’t correct either…

  6. #6 Millimeter Wave
    September 30, 2006

    sorry, I guess that should be trilobite. Tsk. Should have had my 8 year-old daughter proof read that. I’m confident she would have caught the error 😉

  7. #7 windy
    September 30, 2006

    Wow, I used to think Saduria entomon was a huge isopod…

  8. #8 Kseniya
    September 30, 2006

    Hi Stanton,

    Thanks for the clarification. I do realize the isopod hadn’t been eaten (it had become the eater) but I wondered how it got into the fish’s mouth in the first place, and assumed the fish had attempted to eat it. (“Maybe that’s the isopod’s strategy: to look appetizing,” I though to myself.) So, you’re saying the isopod somehow managed to crawl?

    I’m not a bio major, can you tell? 😉 Bio and physics fascinate me, though, and this surge of faith-based pseudoscience and the attempts to force it into public school curricula have me irritated and alarmed.

  9. #9 Kseniya
    September 30, 2006

    Ack…! MilliWave, you aren’t the only person with editing problems this morning. (Must… have… coffee…)

    Make that: “So, you’re saying the isopod somehow managed to crawl in there?” Into the fish mouth, that is. 🙂

  10. #10 Kseniya
    September 30, 2006

    Oh by the way, I read that a tongue-replacing isopod like Cymothoa exigua feeds off the artery that supplies blood to the tongue, and also supplements its diet with some of the food the fish takes in to avoid stressing the fish’s circulatory system. Nasty, but effective. Isn’t nature wonderful? 🙂

  11. #11 Craig R. McClain
    September 30, 2006

    Thanks for the post PZ. The isopod picture we present is not as artistic as the one n MEMBRANA ( MBARI also did a nice press release if your readers are interested in my figures and pictures. (

  12. #12 Gerald Fauske
    September 30, 2006

    Mmmmm, boiled, and with melted butter. Do you think Red Lobster might have an isopod indulgence night?

    Seriously though, Creationists have one weapon in their arsenal that is stringently (artificial selection) weeded out of the scientific community– dishonesty. No matter how many times you vanquish their arguments, the same ID-ots raise the EXACT same drivel again and again, different audiance, location, or simply a different messanger.

    By example, I had occasion to review the looney tunes book, recently reprinted, “The Evolution of a Creationist” by Jobe Martin as a short seminar at a Science and Religion Seminar series (2005). Being an entomologist, I thought a simple and critical demonstration would be to test creationist ‘predictions’ concerning the chemical reaction of Bombardier beetles. Scientists have been doing this demonstration since about 1980 in creationist debates– without effect on the its continued use in creationist rantings. Jobe’s book is copywrited 1994, revised 2004. A few months after my presentation at NDSU, a local church sponsored a guest creationist speaker who brought along (marketed)his panopoly of #$%@*! literature including “Bomby” the bombardier beetle.

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