The Salinella salve Mystery

Salinella salve, an organism described as a single layer of cells, ciliated on both inner and outer surfaces and surrounding…

By | October 1, 2012

Salinella salve, an organism described as a single layer of cells, ciliated on both inner and outer surfaces and surrounding a central hollow sac open at both ends, has been collected only once, by German biologist Johannes Frenzel, who claimed to have found it in the salt pans of Argentina in the late 19th century. Its body plan, which suggests a central digestive tract with a mouth and an anus, was unlike that of any known life-form. Composed of just one cell layer, Salinella seemed intermediate between single-celled organisms that perform all digestion inside the cell, and multicellular life-forms that excrete digestive juices into a central sac. Frenzel published his description of Salinella, along with detailed drawings of Salinella’s life cycle (shown), in 1892 in the journal Archiv für Naturgeschichte.

Read the full story.
(1) Back view of a mature Salinella salve individual.
(2) A mature Salinella salve individual seen from the ventral surface.
(3) A longitudinal section of the back view of a mature Salinella salve individual showing the anal opening.
(4) Side view of a younger individual, with several cells in the process of dividing.
(5) A longitudinal section of the side view of a mature Salinella salve individual, showing the mouth and the anal opening.
(6) Side view of an adult individual showing a dividing cell (in the middle).
(7) Normal core, tinged with carmine (a red pigment)
(8) Carmine-tinted core during division.
(9) Normal core from a living cell, with several nucleoli

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