Zombie Eating Whale Bone

October 31, 2011 by staff 

Zombie Eating Whale Bone, The worms eat the bones of “zombie” can be good to keep out of sight of dead whales living in the darkness of the sea, but scientists have discovered how to detect, although there is no trace of his body or a few million years have passed!

The worms of the genus Osedax (group) has no mouth or gut. Instead, use the root as to penetrate tissue and eat whale bones have fallen into the sea, hence the ‘zombie’ nickname.

Perforations, or channels, that the worms leave the bones have been identified by a team led by marine biologist Nicolas Higgs at the Museum of Natural History and the University of Leeds.

Discover the specific features of Osedax holes and be able to distinguish them from the holes of other animals, means that scientists can look for the existence of other fossil Osedax more information about her, and whales’ evolutionary history .

The team studied the holes in the fossil whale 3 million years, the bones of the Mediterranean in Italy, they thought they could have been made by Osedax worms. They used the Museum of micro CT (Computed Tomography) scanner, which can reveal incredible detail and accuracy, 3D, without damaging the sample.

The researchers compared the holes with Osedax worms made by living and other animals such as shellfish and other marine worms.

Higgs research explains, “At first I was skeptical, but the more I researched the safest drilling was that these holes were caused by Osedax, so it was a slow buildup of excitement.

“The Osedax fingerprint identification was one of the main objectives of my research project, but finding these small holes is like finding a needle in a haystack so I was very lucky too.

New species of fossil record
When drilling only in fossils are identified, given what is known as a trace fossil name, similar to how animals are classified and taking into account the species and genus names. They are not given the name of the animal that was because the same animal can do several different footprints. By contrast, the same trace can be done by several species of animals.

This research means there is now a new species Osspecus trace fossil called Tuscia, “bone cave in Toscana ‘meaning.

Today, Osedax worms are widespread in all oceans of the world. However, this trace fossil is the first evidence that Osedax has lived in the Mediterranean.

Another fossil has shown traces of Osedax worms, from the Pacific 30 million years.

Because what we know about how the oceans are connected and disconnected in the past, the team says that Osedax is likely to have been widespread.

About 6 million years, the Mediterranean dried up and closed and became very salty with more marine life disappeared. She turned to fill about 5.3 million years ago, when the Atlantic broke through.

“Osedax was found after recharging the Mediterranean occurred so it was probably in the Atlantic because that is where Osedax have come from,” says Higgs.

“Our results tell us that Osedax worms were widespread in all oceans of the world in the past and therefore may have had a significant negative effect on the global fossil record of whales as they were destroying the bones,” says Higgs .

Where there were bodies of whales stranded in the past, Osedax worms probably there too. Some of the whale bones has completely degraded before being buried and fossilized.

Scientists now have to take another closer look at the fossil record of the whale, taking into account “hidden” bone by bone-eating worms strangers.

The evidence of the role of Osedax worms during the Pliocene is published in the journal Historical Biology.

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