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Late Precambrian Period

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Blue Blood
Teacher Contributed

Blue Blood

Topic

Horseshoe Crabs

Student Exploration

This Won't Hurt At All

Have you ever been given a shot by a doctor? What about an antibiotic? Know anyone who has ever had surgery? Well, if the answer to any of these questions is yes, then horseshoe crabs (Limulus polyphemus) have touched your life. Watch this video and find out how.

Extension Investigation

Use the resources below to answer the following questions:

  1. What makes the horseshoe crabs blood blue? Does this represent the oxygenated or deoxygenated state of the blood? Explain your answer as much as possible.
  2. How does horseshoe crab blood (HCB) benefit people?
  3. How does the immune system of the horseshoe crab compare to the immune system of humans? How does this help explain the usefulness of horseshoe crab blood to humans?
  4. How does the harvesting of horseshoe crab blood affect the animals?
  5. What use have humans found for horseshoe crabs other than their blood?
  6. What is hemocyanin?
  7. How many eyes does a horseshoe crab have?
  8. When do horseshoe crabs reach sexual maturity?
  9. How may the work of Professor Carmela Cuomo help conservation efforts? Explain your answer as fully as possible.
  10. When do horseshoe crabs first appear in the fossil record?
  11. Do you think the horseshoe crab is a living fossil? Explain your answer as fully as possible.

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