DNews is a great Youtube Channel for education in science. On the subject today to which I present and share involves the question if "plant animals" , or "animal plants" exist. Well, they do and they are one of the stronger cases we can present for the theory of evolution.. Yeah I know, creationists often love that argument about how they would believe in evolution if we can just show a "half this and half that" animal or plant while they profess no such things exist, or profess that when presented we can't explain how they evolved. Both such arguments derive from intellectual dishonesty.. However, I think many of you here have heard or seen me discuss another critter not presented in this video. One I had discussed in many evolution debates throughout my history here on the vine. But for those curious, this little critter is known as the Green Sea Slug:
The Green Sea slug is part animal and part plant largely thanks to an evolutionary process we know has horizontal gene transfer.. This is a process in which genes get passed from one living organism to another. This can happen in a number of ways, but with the green sea slug it steals genes from algae it eats in order to make it's own chlorophyll. And yes this little critter can photosynthesize:
Pierce emphasized that this green slug goes far beyond animals such as corals that host live-in microbes that share the bounties of their photosynthesis. Most of those hosts tuck in the partner cells whole in crevices or pockets among host cells. Pierce’s slug, however, takes just parts of cells, the little green photosynthetic organelles called chloroplasts, from the algae it eats. The slug’s highly branched gut network engulfs these stolen bits and holds them inside slug cells.
Some related slugs also engulf chloroplasts but E. chlorotica alone preserves the organelles in working order for a whole slug lifetime of nearly a year. The slug readily sucks the innards out of algal filaments whenever they’re available, but in good light, multiple meals aren’t essential. Scientists have shown that once a young slug has slurped its first chloroplast meal from one of its few favored species of Vaucheria algae, the slug does not have to eat again for the rest of its life. All it has to do is sunbathe.
This my friendly Viners is evolution observed and in process. :
There have been previous hints, however, that the chloroplasts in the slug don’t run on stored-up supplies alone. Starting in 2007, Pierce and his colleagues, as well as another team, found several photosynthesis-related genes in the slugs apparently lifted directly from the algae. Even unhatched sea slugs, which have never encountered algae, carry “algal” photosynthetic genes.
Pretty amazing huh? :) And if you are interested, I would recommend reading the video description for their citations to which include how algae can be regarded in cases as both plant and animal. Lastly, I think science should adopt the classification Plantimal, yeah, I kinda like the sound of the term as it's self descriptive. :)