|Just over 3 cm. long, broken off at the wide end. Still wet.|
The "spine" looks like a fish spine, but even under the microscope, I can't see segmentation. It may be all one piece. The hairs, under the microscope, look like human hair, on the fine side, more like a baby's hair. I can't see any sign of individual cells, like the hairy seaweeds have. Each hair sprouts from a row of pores around the stem; two to three deep, then a space, then a gray line, then the white gap before the next circle.
The stem is smooth and white on the outside, grainy in the centre. Wet or dry, it is flexible.
|Dry, and combed with a soft paint brush. Very soft to the touch.|
|Detail of the wide end, showing the rows of hairs.|
I have pored through my books and the web. I've looked at weird worms, hairy plants,horsetails, seaweeds, legs of assorted critters . . . I can't find anything like it. I don't know where to look next.
A commenter on Facebook suggested the smell test with a burning piece. I tried that. It smells like burnt hair or feathers.