Crocodiles don’t usually swim or die in the ocean, but how do deep-sea creatures treat this fresh and unusual source of food if they put dead crocodiles underwater? To better understand the underwater food system, scientists conducted a dead-alligator experiment to see if deep-sea creatures could devour dead crocodiles or ignore them. Craig McClain and Clifton Nunnally, researchers from the University of Louisiana’s Lumcon, recently published their findings in the open science journal PLOS One.
Scientists placed three dead crocodiles deep in the 6,600-foot ocean floor of the Gulf of Mexico and then continued to photograph them for 51 days before making a startling discovery. In the end, the crocodiles were completely eaten with meat and other tissue organs, in addition to bones and mysterious brown fluff.
By studying the DNA of brown fluff, it is a newly discovered bone-eating worm of the Osedax genus. The researchers say it is also the first time the Osedax species has been found in the Gulf of Mexico. In an interview withmedia Gizmodo, River Dixon, a doctoral student and co-author of the paper, said: “By comparing the DNA of the animals we collected with the DNA of the known Osedax species, we identified it as a new species. “
Two other dead crocodiles were also found by accident. A huge opod was swallowed up in less than 24 hours and is known for years without food. Scientists found that the body of their other crocodile was completely missing. In further investigation, the scientists found signs of towing at the point where they left the crocodile.