Posted: March 18, 2013In a first, a whale skeleton has been found on the ocean floor near Antarctica, almost a mile below the surface in an undersea crater. With it were at least nine new species of deep-sea organisms thriving on the bones.
When a whale dies and sinks to the ocean floor, scavengers quickly strip its flesh. Over time, other organisms then colonise the skeleton and gradually use up its remaining nutrients. Bacteria break down the fats stored in whale bones, for example, and in turn provide food for other marine life. Other animals commonly known as zombie worms can also digest whale bone.
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