March 21 meeting of the Paleontological Society of Washington

The Paleontological Society of Washington

7:00 pm, Wednesday, March 21

National Museum of Natural History, Constitution Ave. entrance

The biology of Trichoplax adhaerens and how it relates to the evolution of Metazoa

Carolyn Smith

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke,

National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD

Trichoplax is a unique example of an animal that locomotes to find food despite lacking muscles or a nervous system. It is a small, ciliated marine animal that glides on surfaces feeding upon microalgae and cyanobacteria, which it digests externally. It has only six cell types, each with a phenotype and function variably homologous to a cell type present in complex animals. However, Trichoplax relies only on primitive modes of intercellular communication to coordinate the activity of its cells for directed movement and feeding. Similar cell types and simple modes of intercellular communication may have been employed by Proterozoic ancestors of the Metazoa.

Non-Smithsonian visitors will be escorted from the Constitution Ave. entrance of the NMNH to the Cooper Reading Room at 6:50 and 6:55 p.m. Society members will host the speaker for dinner at the Elephant & Castle (1201 Pennsylvania Ave.) prior to the meeting. Members may meet at the restaurant or inside the Constitution Ave. entrance of the NMNH at 5:00 and walk to the restaurant as a group. Parking is available in the west side parking lot of the NMNH.

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