Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Life photo meme: Misunderstood animal

Which of these is a misunderstood animal?

Sharks have a undeserved reputation of vicious man-eaters, who'd bite your arm off as soon as look at you, and go through the sea eating everything in there path. However, I would bet that more people would agree with the statement that sharks are animals, then would agree with the statement that humans are animals. But in what kingdom would we be placed?
  • Plantae: Multi-cellular, non-motile, and autotrophic. We do move, and don't photosythesize so that leaves us out.
  • Fungi: Multi-cellular, non-motile, and heterotrophic. Again, no, because we move.
  • Protozoa: Generally unicellular, generally motile, can be heterotrophic or autotropic. While this is a grab-bag category, most are unicellular and live in an aquatic environment. That leaves us out.
  • Monera: Unicellular (but lacks many membrane-bound organelles), can be motile or non-motile, can be heterotrophic or autotropic. I don't think anybody would try to insist that we are bacteria (at least in the literal sense).
  • Animalia: Multicellular, motile, heterotrophic. Bingo! We do walk around, eat things, and we are multicellular.

That was a short list (just three characteristics), but you can see that the animal kingdom is where we fit. So for those of you who missed it, the complete classification of humans:

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Family: Hominidae
Genus: Homo
Species: sapiens

Note: the shark in the picture is my favorite shark, the zebra shark (Stegostoma fasciatum). They can grow 11 feet long, and eat crabs, clams, and fish they suck out of the sand. As an adult, they look like a potato with spots, and a very long tail.


Kate said...

Looks like you fit in two misunderstandings in one post :)

Eric Heupel said...

A twofer!

That zebra shark is purty!

little light said...

i guess it's our superiority complex that makes us forget that we are animals, too.

mimi11460 said...

Well nice to know, that you really love your course, my son has graduated in B.S. Biology. last 2007 but he works now in a bank forgetting his passion to become a doctor..