The Loch Ness monster of mollusks
The New Yorker - 04/21/2017
“My freshman microbiology professor liked to say, ‘If it wasn’t for shipworms, we’d be speaking Spanish today,’ ” Daniel Distel, a marine biologist and the director of the Ocean Genome Legacy Center, at Northeastern University, told me recently. Distel is a shipworm scientist, and earlier this week he and an international team of colleagues announced the discovery of live specimens of a five-foot-long shipworm called Kuphus polythalamia. The species is legendary; its existence has been known since the eighteenth century from fossil remains, but living ones have eluded scientists.