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Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Purple ‘sock creatures’ solve 60-year-old mystery

Researchers have discovered four new sea creatures that resemble crumpled purple socks, BBC reports. Their genus, Xenoturbella, was previously known only from one species, and researchers have struggled to figure out where the bizarre creatures fit into the tree of life. At one point a DNA analysis lumped them in with mollusks, but that DNA turned out to be from the creatures’ food. Now, researchers have identified xenoturbellans as a primitive group that branched off early from most other animals, according to a study published today in Nature. They still have no idea how the sock creatures eat with their tiny, toothless mouths. 

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