We share the planet with the most awesome creatures, sometimes so incredibly fantastic that they seem unreal—beautiful alien monsters from our worst nightmares and dreams. Dean Chiang sent in this cool photo of a sea anemone to prove this point. When I go diving I never get tired of looking at them.
Cnidarians like anemones and jellyfish extend nematocysts, stinging organelles capable of shooting venom into another creature. The nematocysts are too small and move too quickly to be seen by the naked eye—but now they've been captured through a microscope with a high-speed camera.
A research robot out on a routine test inadvertently stumbled upon a never-before-seen species of sea anemone living upside down in Antarctic ice. It's a remarkable discovery that could hint at the kind of life that might be found in the subsurface oceans of Europa.
This tiny sea anemone is a very simple lifeform whose glowing yellow mouth is its most prominent feature. But when bio geeks at UC Berkeley sequenced the anemone's genome last year, they discovered that it had roughly the same number of genes that humans have. Plus, many of those genes are dormant duplicates of human…