Sunday, October 15, 2017

New species of sea sponge does not live in a pineapple

You may think you have it bad, but try living 13,000 feet under the ocean on a metallic nodule. Scientists recently discovered an entirely new species of tiny sponge which does just that. And it’s not even rent-controlled, so have some perspective, people. We are fortunate to have one of these sponges with us today. 

GW: Greetings, Plenaster craigi, as I understand they have designated you.

Sponge: Pfft! Scientists. Am I right? I prefer Larry.

GW: O.K., Larry, I understand that you were only recently discovered?

Sponge: Um, by people, yeah. The lady sponges discovered old Larry a long time ago.

GW: How did you get acquired by the scientists?

Sponge: From far off there was this pinprick of light which got bigger and bigger until the sea floor was glowing, and I was plucked up into a basket. Next thing I knew, I was in a lab on a ship.

GW: They named you Plenaster because your backbone is made up of stars, something we don’t see a lot of in the animal kingdom.

Sponge: Thanks for noticing. I’m not vain, though. My backbone is generally stuck up against a rock, so I don’t get a lot of red carpet moments. 

GW: Yes, I keep hearing you sponges live on “metal-rich nodules” down there. 

Sponge: Yeah, people are talking about mining them for their copper and manganese and stuff. You know what happens then. There goes the neighborhood. 

GW: It’s not clear if mining can even be done at that depth. The water pressure is more than 5600 pounds per square inch. How do you even survive?

Sponge: You think that’s pressure? Try opening a movie on Memorial Day.

GW: You follow the film business?

Sponge: A little. I met SpongeBob Squarepants. He’s real down to earth. Living in a pineapple, though. That is totally now my dream. 

GW: If it’s not too personal, how do sponges reproduce?

Sponge: Well, that’s not really known by scientists yet, but between you and me, let’s just say some Barry White music comes into play.

GW: You get Barry White down there?

Sponge: Haven’t you seen those documentaries? Everything eventually ends up down there. 

GW: How does a sponge eat?

Sponge: I’m a filter feeder, an inhaler. I suck more than an Adam Sandler double feature. 

GW: Well, I hope your options have opened up a bit.

Sponge: Two words for you. Fat. Burger.

GW: Larry, let me tell you about a little something we call pizza.

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