Monday, December 11, 2006

Them's a lotta mammals (paca)

There was a fun review of a recent survey of marine life on Yahoo's AP news feed this evening. Here's the link

Unfortunately, they have this one sentence in the article which makes me question everything else there.

"Ausubel said there are nearly 16,000 known species of marine fish and 70,000 kinds of marine mammals. A couple of thousand have been discovered during the census."

Granted, I'm not a biologist but I do play one on my blog and 70,000 mammals? In the ocean? First, that's more different types of mammals than there are fish in the sea by a factor of 4. We need to switch the saying about "There's always another fish in the sea" to something about the great marine mongoose. Second, let's name some marine mammals, shall we? Whale. Porpoise. Dolphin.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

Manatees are fresh water.

Seal, sea lion, walrus.

That's 6. I have to come up with 69,994 more? I'll give them that there are several species of each of those items. Anyway, since I'm beating a dead seahorse with this joke, I'll assume that they just meant 70,000 animals. But then that doesn't seem enough? 70,000 Eukaryotes?

Assuming they didn't mess up the rest (and if someone knows that there are in fact more mammals in the sea than fish, please ridicule me in the comments), there are some very cool discoveries in the survey (with comments (and stereoypes), of course added):

Highlights of the 2006 research included:

_Shrimp, clams and mussels living near the super-hot thermal vent in the Atlantic, where they face pulses of water that is near-boiling despite shooting into the frigid sea. (Oh, so some fish live in a jacuzzi. I'm supposed to be impressed with that? "Look at me, ma! I'm in a jacuzzi!" "I'll tell your father so he can call Ripley's."

_In the sea surrounding the Antarctic, a community of marine life shrouded in darkness beneath more than 1,600 feet of ice. Sampling of this remote ocean yielded more new species than familiar ones. ("Honey, the striped zebra fish next door is moving to Argentina. She says we're in for a cold front." "No problem, there's only two minutes left in this game. How long could it go on? We'll have plenty of time before we are encased in 1600 feet of ice." On the other hand, property taxes are very low. Or... ticket to Antartica $2000. Passage on an icebreaker $300. Hush money to the mafia $1200. Seeing your obnoxious brother-in-law encased under 1600 feet of ice. Priceless.)

_Off the coast of New Jersey, 20 million fish swarming in a school the size of Manhattan. (That was actually only one fish that was born near Three Mile Island. The fish also makes a mean bagel."

_Finding alive and well, in the Coral Sea, the type of shrimp called Neoglyphea neocaledonica, thought to have disappeared millions of years ago. Researchers nicknamed it the Jurassic shrimp. (I think they should have used Neoglyphea neocaledonica in Lost World II. Would have improved the movie.)

_Satellite tracking of tagged sooty shearwaters, small birds, that mapped the birds' 43,500-mile search for food in a giant figure eight over the Pacific Ocean, from New Zealand via Polynesia to foraging grounds in Japan, Alaska and California and then back. The birds averaged a surprising 217 miles daily. In some cases, a breeding pair made the entire journey together. ("The sooty shearwater travels 217 miles a day with his wife and I can't even get you to walk around the block after dinner!" BTW, isn't the "sooty shearwater" the lamest name ever for a bird that can travel 217 miles a day, all the way from New Zealand to Californa to Japan and back? And doesn't that name make you want to accidentally curse? Try saying it 3 times fast. Now try saying "I am a mother pheasant plucker. I pluck mother pheasants. I am the best mother pheasant ever to pluck a mother pheasant.")

_A new find, a 4-pound rock lobster discovered off Madagascar. (Aaaahh! Aaaahhh! Aaaahhh! Aaaaaahhhhhh! Rock Lobster! Cue B52s here.)

_A single-cell creature big enough to see, in the Nazare Canyon off Portugal. The fragile new species was found 14,000 feet deep. It is enclosed within a plate-like shell, four-tenths of an inch in diameter, composed of mineral grains. (Sounds like it would be good for my South Beach diet.)

_A new type of crab with a furry appearance, near Easter Island. It was so unusual it warranted a whole new family designation, Kiwaidae, named for Kiwa, the Polynesian goddess of shellfish. Its furry appearance justified its species name, hirsuta, meaning hairy. (The Goddess of Shellfish. That's awesome. With the hair, I wonder if this crab is one of those 70,000 mammals out there. I can't wait to get some hairy crab milk in the stores here. I'm going to go drop a suggestion in my Safeway's comment box for hairy crab creamer. Here's a commercial:

Man hands his wife a cup of coffee. Wife drinks but looks disappointed.

"Honey, this coffee is missing something."

"I know! But what?"

"It needs to taste more fishy!"

"Fishy? Yes, fishy coffee is exactly what I want!

"But how do we find that one of a kind fishy creamy taste?"

Cartoon hairy crab descends from the sky.

Couple look at each other with big smiles and nod, knowing what to do. They each reach up and milk the hairy crab's teats, shooting a little jet of milk into their coffee cup.


"Now, that's what I needed!"

Jingle starts.

Crabby creamer! Crabby creamer!
Oooohhhh! The creamy crab!

Man reaches hand up for one last shot of cream into his coffee, but Crabby looks down and snaps him with a claw so hard a finger is chopped off and blood spurts around the table,

Woman shakes her head knowingly. "Oh, crabby!")



-E said...


i'm going to get in trouble at work if you keep making me laugh like a dying hyena.


p.s. sea otter

bunnygirl said...

Whales. But yeah, 70,000 sounds like at least one or two too many.

Emily B said...

Learning about New Marine Animals TOTALLY brightened up a cloudy finals-week morning. Thanks :)

pacatrue said...

Just curious. Did the jingle link work for people?

-E said...

when i read it, i had it more annoyingly peppy.

pacatrue said...

I was going for annoyingly peppy as well, but I just didn't hit it, I think. It sounds like we were thinking along the same lines.

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