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Sea Urchin Body One Giant Eye July 4, 2011

Posted by Metabiological in Science.
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Awesome.  Researchers have discovered that the common purple sea urchin, despite lacking anything we might usually call eyes, is able to see by utilizing it’s entire body as a large compound eye.

Previous studies of sea urchins have shown that they have a large number of genes linked to the development of the retina, which is the light-sensitive tissue in the human eye. This means that sea urchins have several genes that are coded for a widely occurring eye protein, opsin.

The research group behind the study showed that the photoreceptors seem to be located on the tip and base of the tube feet that are found all over the sea urchin’s body and are used to move.

Seriously, how cool is that?  An organism using it’s entire body as one giant eye.  That’s like something out of a shlockey, low-budget monster movie.  This is the part where we discover that sea urchins are invading the land and hunting down innocent humans with their giant, body eyes.

 

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