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No. 41: Sep-Oct 1985

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An Animal That Photosynthesizes

At a recent meeting of the American Society for Photobiology, chemist Pill-Soon Song, of Texas Tech University, reported the discovery of a blue-green, trumpet-shaped protozoan that employs photosynthesis to sustain itself. Called Stentor coeruleus, this protozoan is only 0.2 mm long and swims backward by rotating its cilia. According to the article, this is the first instance of a photosynthesizing animal.

(Anonymous; "Animal That Lives on Light," San Francisco Chronicle, June 28, 1985, p. 2. Cr. J. Covey)

Comment. Nothing was said about whether the protozoan also ate food in the conventional manner. If verified, this is not a trivial discovery. Of course, some plants eat meat, but animals seem to have found sunlight too weak to utilize for mobility and other energy-rich processes and activities.

From Science Frontiers #41, SEP-OCT 1985. 1985-2000 William R. Corliss