One of the Smallest Living Creatures is Also the Most Terrifying


Photo courtesy of Philippe Crassous at FEI

What you're looking at here isn't an advance rendering from J.J. Abrams' next monster movie -- though it looks like it'd be right at home next to the thing from Cloverfield. Nope, this guy is 100% real -- thankfully it's so small that it's pretty much invisible to the naked eye ...Yes, this is a hydrothermal worm, as viewed under a powerful electron microscope -- one that's zoomed in 525 times. According to the Huffington Post, the image was taken using an FEI Quanta SEM. The bacteria-sized worms live in the deep sea, and are mostly found around hydrothermal vents.

Without the closeup, you probably wouldn't even be able to see the worm at all: It's about half a millimeter long. As HP notes, "It's far larger than an atom, but still among the smallest living things."

And for this I thank the awesome power of technology (in this case the electron microscope company FEI's) for allowing us to get better acquainted with the diverse, hitherto unknowable forms of life out there. Even if the end result is those diverse forms of life scaring the crap out of us.

See the full-sized image here, and see other closeup shots taken with electron microscopes at FEI's Flickr reel.

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Tags: Animals

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