Sponges have a very unique adaptations stemming from their cellular make-up.  The phylum, Porifera, does not contain true tissues and lacks complexity that other animal organisms exhibit.  However, they make up for this with their diverse varieties of cells.  Sponges contain four different specialized cell types that have adapted to the sponges unique way of life.  First, there is the amoebcytes.  These cells help in both digesting material that the sponge obtains as well as moving it around the organism.  Spicules (made of either calcium carbonate or silica) are ornate structures scattered around the sponge mainly to aid in support and defense.  The porocytes are cell structures that allow water into the spongocoel (the atrium of the sponge), and block larger, unnecessary molecules from getting in.  Finally, there are the choanocytes; they use their flagella structures to create a current of water to the inside of the sponge. These cells are thought to have originated from the Protist group, Choanoflagellates.
    The Choanoflagellates special ability to form communal groups that function as a single unit may very well be the explanation of how animals developed from single-celled organisms...  The ultimate adaptation!

So how about
Cryptotethya crypta?
    Cryptotethya crypta, possibly one of the coolest sea sponges ever, possesses two very interesting free-state elements known as, 3-beta-D-arabofuranosylthymine and 3-beta-D-arabofuranosyluracil.  These are nucleic acid-like compounds that act as cell replication inhibitors.  It is thought that when Cryptotethya crypta is attacked by a predator, it releases these chemicals as some sort of a defense mechanism.  To learn more about the importance of this peculiar adaptation please visit the Medicinal Uses portion of my website!

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