Sea daisies were first discovered in sunken wood off the coast of New Zealand in 1983. They are tiny animals, about the diameter of a pencil, and live 1 kilometre below the surface of the sea. Scientists gave them a separate classification as they were unlike any other echinoderms (the group to which tube-footed animals belong). The upper surface, seen here, is made up of numerous perforated scales and is fringed with spines. It is assumed they get their food by absorbing nutrients from decomposing logs of wood, for they have no mouth, guts or anus. Some of the specimens hauled up contained fully developed embryos within their reproductive organs, indicating they give birth to live young.
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Artwork by Peter Batson
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