MAY 20, 2017 05:06 PM PDT

Mysterious Giant Cells: Xenophyophores

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

Cells come in many different shapes and sizes, and they can even be huge. Xenophyophores can grow to be up to 20 centimeters! They are not easy to investigate because they are so fragile, so scientists don't know a whole lot about them. They have been classified as protists, which is not exactly a descriptive classification, it means scientists have not been able to call them a plant, animal or fungus. You can hear more about their classification history from the video.

The video also describes another important feature of these big cells; they have thousands of nuclei (and are thus called multinucleates). That makes it easier for them to survive even though they are quite large, and have to engage in a lot of different functions, unlike multicellular organisms, which rely on specialized cell types to carry out the various required functions.

They are intriguing organisms. They have been found in the deepest place on earth, the Mariana Trench, and xenophyophores are likely the largest single-celled organism.
About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
NOV 26, 2018
Health & Medicine
NOV 26, 2018
The Fight Bite
  Human bite wounds are a common source of polymicrobial infections accounting for many emergency room visits. One bacteria, Eikenella corrodens, ...
NOV 24, 2018
Videos
NOV 24, 2018
Bats may Hold the Secret to Longevity
Some bats can live for up to 41 years, and many have a very healthy life....
NOV 25, 2018
Videos
NOV 25, 2018
Ongoing Ebola Outbreak in DRC Becomes Country's Worst Ever
On August 1, 2018, an Ebola outbreak was declared in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is still ongoing....
NOV 29, 2018
Videos
DEC 09, 2018
Cardiology
DEC 09, 2018
Discharge After Angioplasty Safe, Reduces Cost
Of the 600,000 coronary angioplasties performed in the United States each year, about half of them are elective procedures. A person may opt to undergo the...
DEC 15, 2018
Videos
DEC 15, 2018
Why Does Your Nose Burn From Eating Wasabi?
Many of us might have thought we had wasabi; the green condiment that comes in packaged Sushi. But, more than often that is actually not wasabi—it&rs...
Loading Comments...