Field of Science

Name the Bug # 33

I apologise that this is not the best possible reproduction of an image. In my defense, it is quite possible that even in the original publication the image quality was poor.

The organism shown grew to just under 8 mm in height, and dates to the Albian epoch of the early Cretaceous.

Oh, and it's only fair to give you all a warning: in the past, I've put up what turned out to be some pretty evil ID challenges. I think I can safely say, however, that this is my most evil challenge yet. Any other challenge I have put up, no matter how evil, was but a room full of fluffy white kittens paddling their paws in pink marshmallow compared to this challenge. If this challenge came across a fluffy white kitten and a bowl of pink marshmallow, it would use the marshmallow to drown the kitten. This challenge feasts on the flesh of virgins while bathing in their blood and idly drawing pentagrams alongside its pool. Rumour even has it that this challenge played a significant role in the chart success of Hear'Say. Seriously, though, if you enter the name of this challenge into Google, you will get one result, and that's the original description from whence these figures are taken.

Attribution, as always, to follow.

Update: Identity now available here. Figure from Korde (1975).


  1. One of those weird flat forams like Stannophyllum? Obv not Stannophyllum itself as that has way more than one result...

    Are these sections from multiple angles?

    Poor kittens. And marshmallows =(

  2. Actually, on second thought, looks vaguely fungal now.

    Will pick yet another kingdom tomorrow... =P

  3. If it gets a google result it is not THAT evil. Not that I have any idea about what it is.

  4. You're right, Gunnar, he could've used unpublished TEM data from an undescribed genus. A long EXTINCT undescribed genus of uncertain taxonomic affinity, said uncertainty reaching supergroup levels. I wouldn't put it past him =P

  5. OK You've really talked this one up and I'm quaking in my boots. The blood of virgins, indeed. However I'll have a shot with... roveacrinid crinoids! Ta-da! or have I fallen into a crude elephant trap? Anyway, here's the logic. These look like cups in thin section, presumably the main body of this mystery beast? and each with some from of delicately articulated asymmetrical stem. Looks like a marine invertebrate, and the Aptian is known for the abundance and diversity of tiny, cup-shaped, possibly pelagic crinoids, which look very like this in cross section... Is that too obvious? Or do I have to invoke the devil to find out?

  6. a note on the asymmetry of the "stem" - for lack of a better word. I think (hope) it's a radially symmetrical ossicle, cut slightly off the central plane. But looking at the "cup", it also seems off-centre. Which would scotch my microcrinoid hypothesis.

  7. I didn't expect anyone to get this, so I'm awarding two points to Reprobus for a rather ingenious answer (one, offhand, that gives me credit for a lot more deviousness than I can really lay claim to). Expect to see the solution in the upcoming post.

  8. Its got me stumped. The best I can say is that whatever it is the publication it is from is Russian, based on the font of the lettering of the plate. So probably Russian, whatever it is. Given that it appears to be made of massive layered carbonate and has an upper theca articulated with a lower 'stalk' that is sepparated by what appears to be a non-mineralised gap I'll go for some weird kind of rhodophyte (I think there are some calcareous red alga that have mineralised segments held together with flexible organic material).

  9. Remember when I said it was possible to steal points? Adam got his comment in before the final post went up. For the inference that the organism is Russian (not entirely irrelevant to its obscurity), he pushes Reprobus out of the two-point spot. Reprobus still gets one point (and probably still deserves more, but there can be only one two-pointer). As the revealing post is now up, the competition has been closed.

  10. Huh - might have guessed you'd covered roveacrinids before - in 'Crinoids of the open seas'!


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