On Clearing Up Your Invertebrate Allegiance

bushinchicago.jpgWell it was only a matter of time before Miriam added the tunicates. Let me say that it has become crystal clear to me today what is occurring. This whole battle pits the protostomes vs. deuterstomes. The protostomes must rise up and defeat the evil empire and unjustness that is deuterstomes.

To refresh your memory or bring you up to speed, the deuterstomes are basically a superphylum that encompasses the echinderms, urochordata, chordata, and hemichordata. What do these groups share in common? First, they are extremely uncool and to cheer for them makes you uncool. Second, during the organism’s development when they’re nothing but a clump of cells (actually a hollow sphere of cells, the blastula), the first opening (blastopore) to develop in the hollow sphere is the anus. Ewwwh, ass first! Typical of a deuterstome. Third, the cells also dived radially (cleave) and are indeterminate (the cells don’t know what the want to be when they grow up).

In the cooler group, protostomes (basically every other invertebrate phyla including the molluscs), the mouth forms first, cleavage is spiral, and cells are determinate. In others words…they got they’re shit together. So, so much better.

To be clear…deuterstomes=Axis of Evil. They are evil doers who threaten our very freedom. To vote protostome is to vote for justice, democracy, and freedom.


Dr. M (1729 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, a National Science Foundation supported initiative. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (http://deepseanews.com/), a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web. His forthcoming book, Science of the South (http://www.scienceofthesouth.com/), connects cultural icons of South such as pecan pie with the science behind them.

9 comments on “On Clearing Up Your Invertebrate Allegiance
  1. Ok, so I love inverts, and yes the taxonomy is extremely chordate centric, but doesn’t this all mean that we are a part of the axis of evil?

    As for the tunicates, I just wish they were edible, maybe then we could clear some of the nasty, invasive tunicates from the sound. Vast carpets of them…. unlike the Salps these tunicates don’t even serve as home for Phronima or similar crustaceans or other protosomes.

  2. cleavage is spiral

    Only in lophotrochozoans. Ecdysozoan cleavage is radial (…when it isn’t centrolecithal in the first place).

  3. cleavage is spiral

    Only in lophotrochozoans. Ecdysozoan cleavage is radial (…when it isn’t centrolecithal in the first place).

  4. I’m into this evil deuterostome thing! Can I get minions and a lair in an extinct volcano? Oooh, and tunicates armed with laser beams!

    Eric – some tunicates are edible! Here’s a recipe for the common invasive solitary Styela clava. Of course, you didn’t say that the dish had to be appealing…

  5. Hmmm. I must be very careful in the future to be more precise. Technically edible, but somehow I’m thinking I would not be able to eat much of it, even with/after a bottle of cheongju.

  6. We eat tunicates in France too and especially in Marseille !! but I’m sorry I also think some tunicates exhibit determinate development (and a lot of protostome do not) ! Anyway, protostome power !

  7. The other very uncool thing about some deuterostome is that they form their body by passing their future head through their ass-hole during gastrulation. Disgusting !

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