back to article It came from space! Two-headed flatworm stuns scientists

A flatworm sent to the International Space Station has sprouted two heads, an anomaly that never happens in the wild, according to a paper published in the journal Regeneration. Flatworms may not look particularly interesting at first. But lop one to pieces and it’ll magically grow a new head and tail to become a different …

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Headmaster

The process of regeneration is normally 100 per cetn accurate

I'm not sure that statement is accuraet.

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The article lists a bunch of possible causes including weightlessness and vibration, but not radiation.

Surely that's the most likely cause?

After all, they will have been subjected to increased radiation by virtue of being taken into space.

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In another article I read they've tested radiation on Earth, and not seen this before.

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Raed it again.

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Increased radiation can be easily simulated on earth.

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Also the ISS is still protected by Earth's magnetosphere.

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Re: Also the ISS is still protected by Earth's magnetosphere.

Ain't it also a Faraday cage? There's a crew in there.

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Anonymous Coward

Even without the mistype, "normally 100%" is a very jarring statement in itself.

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Headmaster

Re: Also the ISS is still protected by Earth's magnetosphere.

A Faraday cage shields you from electromagnetic radiation, but not from ionizing cosmic radiation.

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Megaphone

Even without the mistype, "normally 100%" is a very jarring statement in itself.

Not really.

I read it to show that in the vast majority of the time the process is perfect and a 1:1 copy is made, but sometimes it goes wrong and you get a 1:0.5 or even a 1:2 copy (ratios coming from the same place my breakfast is going in a couple of hours)

"Normally, when you make a deposit into a bank account, 100% of the money goes into the account. However, if your bank is an Ozzie-owned "New Zealand" bank, you might only get 40% of the deposit, the rest being the draining of Kiwi money overseas very much sponsored by the government who ignore NZ owned banks in favour of foreign ones fees that are needed to keep the poor starving bank owners from dying of malnutrition".

(</rant>)

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Are you going to call it Kalvin?

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Nah, Zaphod.

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Yeah that's not creepy at all /s

I mean how does it move which direction? Left? Right? Curl up and just come at you with two heads? Does it levitate or just phase through solid matter?

If flatworms are split in half at the head end, they regrow two heads on one body. Goddamn I did not want to know about that, like ever. If they took this double ender and did that to each head, do they get a four headed worm? Eight heads? Sixteen heads? Cause that's roughly the number of hours I'm going to be too freaked out thinking about that to fall asleep tonight.

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Re: Yeah that's not creepy at all /s

The Hydra is real!

Hail Hydra.

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Happy

Re: Yeah that's not creepy at all /s

I seem to remember this in introductory school biology textbooks.* Eeee!

Make yer own two-headed flatworm!

Gave me plenty of time to get used to the idea. Never did find any Planaria in ponds though-

bang went my future NASA job, then...

* Not in them these days? Do schools still use textbooks? Or books?

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Re: Yeah that's not creepy at all /s

"Do schools still use textbooks?"

I suspect that they're still using the very same textbooks that you used.

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Joke

Re: Yeah that's not creepy at all /s

"Do schools still use textbooks?"

I suspect that they're still using the very same textbooks that you used.

Mine clearly stated that the Sun goes around the Earth. That's what I was taught and that's what I believe.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yeah that's not creepy at all /s

"I suspect that they're still using the very same textbooks that you used."

I hope not I drew a n*b in mine.

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Big Brother

Re: I suspect that they're still using the very same textbooks that you used.

Yes, but with half the pages ripped out.

Pretty sure my old A Level Chemistry books would now constitute literature "liable to be of aid to terrorists" as would the history books as they chronicle military methods and tactics.

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Re: Yeah that's not creepy at all /s

I remember the textbooks we had in music when I was at secondary school.

*every one of them* had penises drawn throughout, and when there was a woman on the same page, the penises were drawn to reach the women's nether regions. Additionally, the same comedians had written 'SLAP' across the foreheads of any bald/balding men in the books.

*every one of them*

So, yeah, the exact same textbooks you used when you were there. :)

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Re: Yeah that's not creepy at all /s

I, for one, welcome our new two-headed flatworm overlords.

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Trollface

Re: Yeah that's not creepy at all /s

"I suspect that they're still using the very same textbooks that you used."

I hope not I drew a n*b in mine.

You put a picture of Trump in a text book?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yeah that's not creepy at all /s

Sixteen sections all facing out flat worm, that would be one terrifying pizza.

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Hm

"The process of regeneration is normally 100 per cent accurate - they never make two-headed worms in the wild,"

Two-headed Dugesia japonica can be bred with Praziquantel, a common deworming medication for cats and dogs.

What's even more surprising is that even after the ends of the flatworm were chopped off, it always regrew with two heads.

It would be interesting to see what happens if two-headed flatworms are regrown in a centrifuge. Russians grew crystals in microgravitity and in centrifuges with suprising results.

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Re: Hm

I'd like to know how it survived without an anus. Was that why they kept chopping it in two again, to give it a chance to survive?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hm

I'd like to know how it survived without an anus. Was that why they kept chopping it in two again, to give it a chance to survive?

Under pressure..

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Re: Hm

Flatworms have no anus, they expel waste from their mouth.

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Re: Hm

I'd like to know how it survived without an anus

Have you never listened to a politician? The mouth is the anus! (well, at least one of them anyway)

Wonder how long before Apple claims to have invented it. After all it could very well use technology used in the HUMANCENTiPAD1

1South Park, obviously. The education on classical literature in these parts can be seriously lacking! (episode also has some value as educational material for those who refuse to read T&Cs)

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Re: Hm

Flatworms have no anus, they expel waste from their mouth.

I can see a number of "Proof that Key1 is an insect" jokes coming from this knowledge.

1 Substitute name of politician or person of choice.

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This may explain zaphod beeblebrox.

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This may explain zaphod beeblebrox

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Thumb Up

Didn't I Tell You Baby I'm Zaphod Beeblebrox

Was that a double post or each head answering seperately?

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Happy

Re: Didn't I Tell You Baby I'm Zaphod Beeblebrox

He hates it when one head is more drunk than the other...

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Re: Didn't I Tell You Baby I'm Zaphod Beeblebrox

That was one head not knowing what the other head was doing, a not so uncommon problem for the male of our species.

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Isn't there an old saying?

That goes something like:

"Two heads are better for worm."?

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Boffin

Two inputs, no output?

I'm seeing this flatworm eating from both ends and with nowhere to poo, rapidly becoming a roundworm and the a balloonworm...

Pop! Problem solved.

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Re: Two inputs, no output?

Well there's a German word for what would likely happen. It's "Koterbrechen", and for the benefit of the readers I will not translate it.

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Re: Two inputs, no output?

After I saw Dr Doolittle as a child, I always wondered how the pushmi-pullyu pooed.

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Re: Two inputs, no output?

So more of a splatworm then?

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Re: Two inputs, no output?

https://goo.gl/r6yXQe

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Re: Two inputs, no output?

Upvoted on the assumption it's that ridiculous cop show with the "two idiots one keyboard" clip.

Obviously something within the writers reached a poo overload and splattered in a manner expressed above. Probably on a per-episode basis.

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I for one...

...welcome our two-headed alien worm overlords

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Did a bloke called Hercules do the head cutting off?

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I suggest I new species....

We perhaps give it the latin name Terrisium Mayicus. Decidedly two faced with a distinct lack of direction...

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Pint

Re: I suggest I new species....

That one can't grow a head on the wrong end, cause 'Exit means Exit'.

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Happy

Re: I suggest I new species....

We perhaps give it the latin name Terrisium Mayicus. Decidedly two faced with a distinct lack of direction...

Unfortunately they have been present in the human genome for centuries, but we call them politicians and lawyers

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Learning by ingestion

I seem to remember reading a long time ago, that scientists were investigating the fact that if a flat worm is fed bits of one of its brothers who had different behavioural patterns, the patterns would manifest in the ingester.

Wierd creatures.,

I suggest the two headed thing if it is repeatable should be call ' The Beeblebrox Effect', they could apply it to space crew to save weight while doubling brains on the job.

Of course it could produce individuals who are either twice as smart or twice as stupid. Imagine a double Trump.

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Re: Learning by ingestion

"Of course it could produce individuals who are either twice as smart or twice as stupid. Imagine a double Trump."

The amount of crap that comes out of his mouth, obviously Trump is an experiment that went the other way - no head to speak of, but an arse at each end of his body.

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Alien

Re: Learning by ingestion

Imagine a double Trump.

Well, in that case they could simply use his ego as the space station, though it might take on dysonsphere proportions. The sort you'd need for a binary star system!

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Anonymous Coward

"Imagine a double Trump."

That prompted me to think of the personality of Zaphod Beeblebrox - only to find other people have already made that association elsewhere on the web.

Sample of Douglas Adams's prescience - which also reminds me of Bojo:

"One of the major difficulties Trillian experienced in her relationship with Zaphod was learning to distinguish between him pretending to be stupid just to get people off their guard, pretending to be stupid because he couldn’t be bothered to think and wanted someone else to do it for him, pretending to be outrageously stupid to hide the fact that he actually didn’t understand what was going on, and really being genuinely stupid. He was renowned for being amazingly clever and quite clearly was so — but not all the time, which obviously worried him, hence the act. He preferred people to be puzzled rather than contemptuous.”

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