Tag: coral

“Tree Man” Upstaged By "Coral Boy"

By Boonsri Dickinson | September 23, 2009 5:10 pm

coralYou may recall the case of Dede Koswara who was dubbed the “tree man” after he developed an unsightly amount of bark-like warts on his skin due to an immune deficiency that did not allow his body to fight off the human papilloma virus. As it turns out, he’s not the only one with this bizarre condition.

Lin Tianzhuan, 38, is known in his town as  “coral boy” for good reason. From Shuimen in southern China, he suffered a similar skin problem to Koswara—he began to develop shell-like growths on his skin beginning at age 13.

The Telegraph reports:

“It started with a few hard bumps so I tried to apply antibiotics and creams but it didn’t get better,” he explained.

“Instead it just got worse. They grew and grew and soon they were all over my arms and legs, my back and even my head. Ii was as if I was turning to stone and it was terrifying,” he added.

“Gradually my shell became thicker and thicker and I could no longer bend my arms or my legs. It was very frightening,” Lin said.

“If I had to go out I wrapped myself up in blankets because people would scream when they saw me,” he added.

Fortunately, Tianzhuan has nearly recovered after receiving a year of  radiotherapy treatment at Fuzhou Dermatosis Prevention Hospital.

Related Content:
Discoblog: Tree Found Growing In Man’s Lung

Image: flickr/ cpjmazz

MORE ABOUT: coral, HPV, medicine

The Amazing Sex Lives of Coral: Girls To Boys, And Then Back Again

By Boonsri Dickinson | February 23, 2009 7:03 pm

coral.jpgHumans might be the only species that actually choose to go under the knife to have their sex changed. But sometimes gender switches are a semi-regular occurrence in other species. In Colorado, fish are changing sex at rapid rates, reportedly due to the estrogen dribbling into Boulder’s Wastewater that’s concentrated enough to turn males into females.

Now, we can add sea coral to the list of organisms that are changing sex as a response to environmental factors: Israeli scientists report that Japanese corals change their sex to survive the pressures of climate change.

Zoologist Yossi Loya from Tel Aviv University discovered that female mushroom coral becomes male when the ocean floor gets too hot. Even a shift in a few degrees in temperature can be detrimental to coral, causing it to bleach and even die. In order to cope with the added stress of climate change, female corals adapt by changing their gender.

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