The most bizarre life story on Earth?
There’s no question that discovering a new species is very cool. But how about discovering a new phylum?
A phylum is a broad division in taxonomy: all vertebrates, for example, from fish to humans, are in the chordate phylum. In 1995, Peter Funch and Reinhardt Møbjerg Kristensen, both then at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, discovered an animal so unlike any other that a new phylum – Cycliophora – had to be created just for it.
Symbion pandora, as they called the new creature, is a tiny animal with a complex body and a bizarre life cycle. It still baffles biologists 15 years after it was formally described, and the latest work on its nervous system isn’t helping matters…
(read more: New Scientist)