Two very different kinds of animals have made scientific headlines. One is a new species of beaked whale; the other a microscopic animal whose body form is so unusual that it was placed in its own major group, or phylum.
In 1983, marine biologists discovered the thirty- third animal phylum, Loricifera §. Scientists speculate that loriciferans live in mud between grains of sand, and feed on other microscopic animals §.
The first known loriciferan Pliciloricus enigmatus
Actual size is about one-quarter of a millimeter.
illustration by Carolyn Gast, National Museum of Natural History
electron micrograph Robert Higgins and Reinhardt Kristensen
Pygmy beaked whale, Mesoplodon peruvianus
photo © Julio C. Reyes
These small whales are often caught accidentally and sold in local fish markets, where Smithsonian scientist James Mead (who later identified the species) first obtained a skull.
This elusive species has never been seen alive, but an artist's
composite illustration gives a glimpse of the whale in its
illustration Pieter Folkens
Ocean Planet Exhibition Floorplan
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