The university of life

Sponges prank the scientific community again!

Sponges are one of the rudest, conniving organisms on our planet. They are infamous for hindering scientific progress. And they have been doing their evil for centuries.

Carl Linnaeus was a brilliant man and a Swede. That doesn't always go together, but in May 1707 in the village of RÃ¥shult it did. He was born there and then. There is nothing remarkable about the place where he was born yet he would change the face of biological sciences forever. Carl Linnaeus wasn't terribly happy with how unorganized nature was. Everything was crawling, hopping, running, flying, growing, dying, wherever they wanted, without any apparent organization. It was a bloody mess. This would just not fly in his brilliant mind.

So he started to devise a system where he labeled every living system with name and organized them in a hierarchy. Naturally humans came out on top.

The classification system of all living things that he invented is still in use today and gives every species two names, creating a form of (Linnean) taxonomy or scientific classification that worked then and still works now: the binomial system of classification. We humans are known as homo sapiens. Homo refers to our genus, or family group, the "humans", and sapiens refers to us being terribly smart. Even though it took us thousands of years to come up with this classification system.

But let us return to the source of evil, the sponges.

Carl Linnaeus took a good look at the sponges and put them all in the genus Spongia, and then put that genus in the Order of Algae. As you may know algae are primitive plant-like creatures, and well, sponges are animals.

But oh boy, did the sponges do a number of poor Carl. Sponges put so much effort into looking like plants that one of the smartest humans who ever lived couldn't see through their evil disguise. Sponges sure must have had a big laugh behind his back. That's how sponges usually are. Primitive evil animals who enjoy the failure of higher simians.

And now sponges are at it again. Once again they took it upon themselves to mock science and stand in the way of scientific progress.

Sponges were found under the Antarctic ice sheet, where there is no food for them and where it is too cold for them.

This find was met with incredibility from the Antarctic scientific community. To paraphrase of halfquote one erudite prominent researcher: "what the F*** are they doing there!?"

Although it might seem as a riddle to the serious modern scientist who hasn't delved into the history of science, everybody who has touched upon this subject during their studies and interests knows that the sponge is a pranker of science.

Here at the University of Life we suggest that we follow the principle of Occam's razor: "entities should not be multiplied without necessity". For the layman this principle is also known as: The simplest explanation is probably the right one, stupid!".

And indeed, the case of the Antarctic sponges seems straightforward. The sponge community is once again pranking the scientific community. They just gathered at the southpole under the ice to have a good laugh behind our backs: "did you see that silly hairless ape, he can't explain why we are here. I haven't laughed so hard since we fooled that Linnaeus".

And this may be the whole truth.


Professor at the UOL

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