University of Utah

Alien-looking shipworm found in Philippines by former La Jollan

Alien-looking shipworm found in Philippines by former La Jollan

A tusk-like, 3- to 5-foot-long mollusk is the theme of a research paper published earlier this year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, authored among others, by former Scripps Institution of Oceanography scientist Margo Haygood, now research professor in medicinal chemistry at the University of Utah (and the daughter of La Jollans Ken and Noreen Haygood).

The animal belongs to the shipworm family and has been known to exist for centuries, but only recently have scientists had the opportunity to study it — and its surprising bacteria ecosystem. “We were able to examine the animal other than just looking at its shell, which comes to the shell...

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