2013 08 15 Mind Blowing Sea Urchins 01

This is a sea urchin skeleton. It's the remains of a pretty (and pretty unusual) echinoderm ... but look a little closer (okay, a whole lot closer) and it stops being just unusual and starts to look downright surreal. Back in July, The Echinoblog posted an amazing SEM (Scanning Electron Microscope) odyssey exploring the fascinating skeletal geography of the sea urchin ... and now we'll truly never look at another sea urchin in the same way again.

So what happens when you train electron beams onto the urchin's intricate skeleton (which is also known as a test)? Let's just say you'd be forgiven for mistaking the results for the surface of some alien planet or an extraterrestrial object. Nature, you amazing thing you! (We're sharing just a few snaps below ... but make sure you click through to The Echinoblog for the full visual feast!). Sea urchins are pretty & pretty unusual echinoderms - but look a little closer (okay, an electron microscope's worth of closer) and they stop being just unusual & start to look downright surreal.

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