A team of marine biologists from Northeastern University’s Ocean Genome Legacy Center published on June 19 an article describing a newly-discovered freshwater shipworm found in the Abatan River in the Philippines. The worm, known in scientific circles as the Lithoredo abatanica, measures about 10 centimeters (4 inches).
The remarkable distinction of this shipworm from all others is its ability to feed on carbonate limestone, a kind of soft rock. Other shipworms feed on wood. This makes it the only species of worm capable of burrowing into and ingesting rock.
That is quite an amazing discovery, and it immediately brings to mind the mythical “Shamir worm” mentioned in ancient Jewish sources. The Shamir is believed to have gone extinct following the destruction of the First Temple, an event that religious Jews believe dramatically altered the entire world as it was known until that time.
One Jewish source...
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