What is this? Well, this is the first random pick of something beyond ‘just’ a figure; among other things I’ve also given the option of looking at various shelves or taxonomic groups. I have preferred to use the phrase ‘clades’ when talking about these although I may not always follow strictly to the monophyletic meaning that implies. Sometimes they are convenience, and their level of specificness (a real word, I checked) may depend on how they fit my collecting (fish or mammals? I have dozens of groups…insects have one…). But it helps me get a sense of the diversity I have!
This first one? Well, ironically it includes some of the most primitive animals–but is poorly represented in my collection–the Porifera, or Sponges. So, yeah, it’s going to be difficult to find much to say about them…maybe some day I’ll get one of the fish groups or dinosaur groups or something. But it’s represented in the collection, so I’ll make it short. When I first started writing this I thought that I only had one right now, the Safari Ltd Vauxia figure, so it’s clearly not a priority group for me!
And then with a little searching, realized that I actually have two…a generic purple one from what I think was a Finding Nemo set…maybe. I got it from a friend that got it in a random lot on eBay for the fish; it included a coral and an anemone as well! Exciting! Obviously, the one from Safari Ltd is far better quality.
It is interesting to have exactly two figures from this clade, where one represents a Cambrian animal and another a modern, since Porifera are known from as early as the Edicaran and pretty much aren’t a whole lot different–might as well have one from both points of their history! As parts of ecosystems they are of course important elements, as they are sessile and sort of act as part of the habitat. They have some interesting physical features that I remember from my university days–not entirely passive feeders that have cilia to create currents to filter the water, and cells that can reorganize if they are passed through a sieve. I’ve never seen this IRL but it sounds like something I’d like to witness (being the internet, it’s of course possible to see videos…just isn’t the same somehow).
For a collector, it probably depends on what you enjoy. I know many people that enjoy scene and diorama building, and sponges can be an integral part of many underwater scenes. I only have the one since it’s part of a unique set. And the other because a friend didn’t want them…and I thought my kids might enjoy the scene-builder figures.
I don’t really have much more to say on this group and how it relates to my collection…I know for people that have broader or different interests that there are some other figures out there–I am pretty certain that I have seen some from Japanese Gashapon (capsule) companies. And sponges also frequently show up in dioramas and bases in support of other marine life figures (especially crustaceans and fish). Thanks for reading my halting look at Porifera in my collection…we’ll see if I can be more interesting when the next clade pops up!