Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Critters and Climate

Watch out, jellyfish. It turns out that global warming won't benefit just you: apparently, climate change will also be a boon to starfish:
“Mollusks, bivalves, clams and mussels respond negatively to increased carbon dioxide,” says Rebecca Gooding, a doctoral student in zoology at the University of British Columbia and lead author of the paper. On the other hand, she says, compared to their invertebrate cousins, “starfish are growing faster, getting bigger faster, and they’re eating more.”

So the earth will be inherited by jellyfish -- and starfish. The two will make good company: like jellyfish, starfish don't have true centralized brains; instead they have a network of interlacing nerves called a nerve plexus -- similar to the "nerve nets" of the jellyfish.

Evolution is not always progress, as we might conceive of it.