World’s Strangest

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Giant Prehistoric Amoeba the Size of Your Hand


Photo credit: Lisa Levin & David Checkley

Dinosaur movies have taught us that things were a lot larger back in
prehistoric times, but this is ridiculous! Scientists at the Scripps Institute
of Oceanography have found a giant amoeba the size of your hand:

During a July 2011 voyage to the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench,
the deepest region on the planet, Scripps researchers and National Geographic
engineers deployed untethered free-falling/ascending landers equipped
with digital video and lights to search the largely unexplored region.
The team documented the deepest known existence of xenophyophores, single-celled
animals exclusively found in deep-sea environments. Xenophyophores are
noteworthy for their size, with individual cells often exceeding 10
centimeters (4 inches), their extreme abundance on the seafloor and
their role as hosts for a variety of organisms.

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