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Old 06-11-2011   #1
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Jellyfish may not be mindless globs? Cool!

This is pretty cool, but I'm still skeptical about it a bit. I would like to see a bit more of the research.
Take a look!

Quote:
So much more than plasma and poison
If you thought jellyfish were just mindless globs, think again. It turns out these ancient animals are very complex, and they’ve got a lot on their minds
By NATALIE ANGIER The New York Times
Sat, Jun 11 - 4:54 AM

BALTIMORE — UNTIL I MET Doug Allen, the wiry, ponytailed senior aquarist who guided me through the extremely popular jellyfish exhibit at the National Aquarium, my personal experience with jellyfish consisted mainly of using them as yet another excuse not to go swimming: Hey, I could get stung by a jellyfish!

So when Allen suddenly stopped, clambered a ladder to the top of one of the tanks and called down, "You want to try holding a moon jelly?," my first impulse was to knock a few schoolchildren out of the way as I bolted for the door. My second impulse . . .

Too late. A eight-centimetre-wide moon jellyfish had been plopped in my hands, and my fear quickly dissolved into fascination. The jellyfish shimmered and glowed. With its tendrils retracted, it looked like a round bar of glycerin soap, or maybe a translucent diaphragm, and it felt equal parts firm, jiggly and slimy, like a slice of liver coated in raw egg. And for all the vigor of my fondlings, I detected no sting.

"The poison of a common moon jellyfish is very weak," said Anders Garm of the University of Copenhagen. "You’d have to kiss the jellyfish to feel it."

Among nature’s grand inventory of multicellular creatures, jellyfish seem like the ultimate other, as alien from us as mobile beings can be while still remaining within the kingdom Animalia. Where is the head, the heart, the back, the front, the matched sets of parts and organs? Where is the bilateral symmetry?

Yet if any taxonomic dynasty is entitled to the originalist mantle, to the designation of genuine emblematic earthling animal, and also to brand the rest of us the alien arrivistes, it is the jellyfish. A diverse group of thousands of species of gooey, saclike invertebrates found throughout the world, the jellyfish date back 600 million to 700 million years or longer. That’s roughly twice as old as the earliest bony fish and insects, three times the age of the first dinosaurs.

"Jellyfish are the most ancient multiorgan animal on earth," said David J. Albert, a jellyfish expert at the Roscoe Bay Marine Biological Laboratory in Vancouver, B.C.

For all their noble antiquity, jellyfish have long been ignored or misunderstood by mainstream science, dismissed as so much mindless protoplasm with a mouth. Now, in a series of new studies, researchers have found that there is far more complexity and nuance to a jellyfish than meets the eye — or eyes. In the May 10 issue of the journal Current Biology, Garm and his colleagues describe the astonishing visual system of the box jellyfish, in which an interactive matrix of 24 eyes of four distinct types allows the jellies to navigate through the mangrove swamps they inhabit.

In The Journal of Experimental Biology, Richard A. Satterlie, a marine biologist at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington, recently disputed the conventional wisdom that jellyfish lack any semblance of the central nervous system that we higher vertebrates are so proud of. The distribution of a jellyfish’s nerve cells may be comparatively more diffuse than in an animal with an obvious brain and spinal cord, said Satterlie, but the layout is hardly helter-skelter. Recent investigations of jellyfish neural architecture and activity reveal evidence of "neuronal condensation," places where the neurons coalesce to form distinctive structures that act as integrating centres — taking in sensory information and translating it into the correct response.

"The bottom line is, jellyfish do a lot more than people think," said Satterlie, "and when college textbooks claim they have no centralized nervous system, that’s flat-out wrong."

Albert goes further, insisting it is fair to declare that a jellyfish has a brain. He spent years studying the resident population of moon jellyfish in Roscoe Bay, starting with the simple question, how can there even be a resident population? The tides flow in and out of the bay each day. The jellies were supposed to be like plankton, at the mercy of the tides. So why aren’t they simply flushed by the tides into the open sea.

Albert discovered that the jellies aren’t passive floaters at all. When the tide starts flowing out, they ride the wave until they hit a gravel bar, and then dive down to reach still waters. They remain in the calm oasis until the tide starts flowing back in, at which point they come up and get swept back into the bay. He also learned that the jellies have salinity meters and in summer avoid the fresh water dumped into the bay from mountain snowmelt, again by diving until they find salt enough to suit their taste. They like to aggregate into schools and through molecular signatures on the outside of their bells can distinguish between a friendly fellow jelly and any predatory species of jellyfish that might eat them. Continued...
I feel like there may be a more simple explanation than some kind of consciousness are awareness that could rationalize the process of diving down to reach water with higher salinity levels - saltwater buoyancy, perhaps?
I donno. It's not like I'm a Marine Biologist, but its interesting, nonetheless.
Check out the rest of the article if you have some time. It talks a bit about the mechanisms behind their stings. Its pretty cool stuff. Plus there are some really nice-looking photographs of Jellyfish.

Also, on another note: did you know that Jellyfish are immortal?(Unless you put one in a frying pan, of course)
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Old 06-11-2011   #2
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Re: Jellyfish may not be mindless globs? Cool!

I like jellyfish.
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Old 06-11-2011   #3
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Re: Jellyfish may not be mindless globs? Cool!


Did I hear Jellyfishing? ^_^

Jellyfishes are pretty interesting. I recently saw a documentary about them, especially those tiny but all the more deadly Sea wasps and those giant ones that haunt the China Sea.
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Old 06-11-2011   #4
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Re: Jellyfish may not be mindless globs? Cool!

jelly fish with brains is scarry. they are creepy, dangerous, and like water locus. what will we do if they evolve! and the giant ones!! ack!
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Old 06-12-2011   #5
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Re: Jellyfish may not be mindless globs? Cool!

I don't think it's beyond the scope of reality. I've been reading a lot on evolution and lately, animal intelligence, and it's really fascinating. Why can't a species that's been around longer than us take some active part in its own survival?
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Old 06-13-2011   #6
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Re: Jellyfish may not be mindless globs? Cool!

I am part jellyfish.
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Old 06-19-2011   #7
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Re: Jellyfish may not be mindless globs? Cool!

Your mom is part jellyfish. ;)
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Old 06-19-2011   #8
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Re: Jellyfish may not be mindless globs? Cool!

No, she's full-blooded jellyfish.

that's why I'm part jellyfish. I'm a half-jelly.
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Old 06-20-2011   #9
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Re: Jellyfish may not be mindless globs? Cool!

Are you sure you didn't mean half-jealous? :P
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Old 06-20-2011   #10
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Re: Jellyfish may not be mindless globs? Cool!

Quote:
Originally Said by Christian View Post
Are you sure you didn't mean half-jealous? :P
hahaha.

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Old 07-29-2011   #11
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Re: Jellyfish may not be mindless globs? Cool!

Quote:
Originally Said by EmperorChaos View Post
No, she's full-blooded jellyfish.

that's why I'm part jellyfish. I'm a half-jelly.
In the pants.
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Old 10-21-2011   #12
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Re: Jellyfish may not be mindless globs? Cool!

I take a main interest in the Box Jellyfish and also the Bluebottle jellyfish. The Two most venomous Jelly's in the world ^_^... Don't ask why, I just enjoy deadly things.
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Old 11-06-2011   #13
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Re: Jellyfish may not be mindless globs? Cool!

^ There are even more venomous Jelly's out there. they are hardly to make out, some of them are smaller then the head of a match. The [Irukandji Jellyfish], for example.


Have a look at those giant Jelly's, the [Nomura's Jellyfish], too. I wonder if you could walk on them..
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