The cells were lurking in Spongilla lacustris, a freshwater sponge that grows in lakes in the Northern Hemisphere. “We jokingly call it the Godzilla of sponges” because of the rhyme with Spongilla, say Jacob Musser, an evolutionary biologist in Detlev Arendt’s group at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany.
Simple as they are, these sponges have a surprising amount of complexity, says Musser, who helped pry the sponges off a metal ferry dock using paint scrapers. “They’re such fascinating creatures.”
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