A newly published paper in PLoS ONE has revealed that two new species have been discovered off the coast of south-east Australia and….AND they may be from a whole new branch on the Tree Of Life! Not fitting into any of the known Animal Kingdom divisions.
How blooming exciting is that!!
There is a newly names genus – Dendrogramma, a newly names family – Dendrogrammatidae and the two new species called D. enigmatica and D. discoids were actually dredged up from the ocean in 1986 and have been fixed in neutral formaldehyde and stored in 80% ethanol since then.
To find out more new specimens are going to have to be found to enable molecular analysis, tissue and structure analysis as well as DNA as the fixing process has prevented this. A lot of physiological questions remains and new specimens will allow for fuller descriptions of each species to be made so that the proper phylogenetic placement of Dendrogramma can be identified. There is still a long way to go in placing these species but you have to start somewhere!
Don’t you just love new discoveries. It is exciting that there is still so much out there to discover and that there are people still out there doing it!
I’ll leave you will some words from Dr. Jørgen Olesen:
We published this paper in part as a cry for help, there might be somebody out there who can help place it.
So if you are a scientist and you discover any specimens….Get In Touch with the corresponding author – Dr. Jean Just (email: jean-just at mail.dk)