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No. 33: May-Jun 1984

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The long-standing belief that unlimited rotary motion is impossible in animals has been shattered. It was, after all, a very reasonable assumption, because necks and other appendages turn only so far before bones and muscles begin to snap. Well, it seems that inside ter-mite guts there resides a single-celled animal with a head that rotates constant-ly 30 times a minute. Since none of its membranes shear during rotation, we must infer that membranes are basically fluid structures rather than solids as supposed.

The animal, called Rubberneckia, has a shaft running the full length of its body plus a motor of undetermined character. To make Rubberneckia even more bizarre, thousands of tiny, rod-like bacteria occupy long grooves on the cell's surface. Like galley slaves, the bacteria row with their flagella to keep Rubberneckia moving -- a curious symbiotic relationship.

(Cooke, Robert; "A Tale to Make Your Head Spin,: Boston Globe, March 20, 1984, p. 1. Cr. P. Gunkel)

From Science Frontiers #33, MAY-JUN 1984. 1984-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987