A Sand Dollar’s Breakfast is Totally Metal | Deep Look

by birtanpublished on August 25, 2020

it's a beachcombers prize but this sand dollar is just an empty husk a skeleton this is what sand dollars really look like off the coast of California Pacific sand dollars snuggle up together like a

Big pile of purple sea cookies they're fuzzy but look close that fuzz is actually made up of tiny spines thousands of them some long and spiky others rounder mixed in our miniature tube feet with grabbing

Little suckers on the ends they use them to meticulously sift the sand and pass the grains down the line until they reach the sand dollars mouth at the very center of its underside buried under all those spines

sand dollars eat Sam they're after the algae and bacteria that coat the grains and these sand dollars can also stand themselves up on their sides to use the long spines around their edges to trap

Tiny plankton floating by so what about that part that looks like a flower with five petals it's called the petal oeid they have special tube feet pair that help the sand dollar breathe absorbing oxygen out of the water you can see that

Same five-point body plan on the skeletons of their relatives like starfish and sea urchins in fact Sam dollars are just a type of flat sea urchin but while their cousins prefer the rocky shore chock-full of

Lights and spots to hide scene dollars don't have such a cozy place to live they're at the mercy of what's basically an undersea desert thrashed and sandblasted so being flat is an advantage they're sleeker streamlined

Against the powerful currents and they have another scrupulous solution for staying put not all sand is the same mixed in there are some extra heavy grades they're made

Of magnetite a type of iron ore scientists think that as they grow young sand dollar sort them out and swallow them grain after grain the heavy or builds up inside their bodies and helps weigh them down to the seafloor

At the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco researchers used x-rays of sand dollars to look for it see those bright white areas those are the pockets of magnetite that's how these tireless little creatures can hack it out here in

Such turbulent waters where most other things can't turns out it takes a lot of work just to lay around want to know how we got so up close and personal with those sand dollars follow us over to patreon for a very seaworthy

Behind-the-scenes video join our community on patreon to unlock rewards like Members Only livestreams bonus content and helping us pick upcoming episodes link in the description see you there

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