News Article

News Article

'Zombie Worms' Secrete Acid and Eat Bones

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A strange tentacled creature that secretes acid and devours bones was recently discovered in Antarctica... and no, this is not another reboot of The Thing. This is science, folks. It's just a little worm, of course, but you might want to know that they're also busily colonizing most of the world's oceans.
 
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Two species of “zombie worm” or “bone-eating worm,” Osedax antarcticus and deceptionensis, have recently been discovered, and according to a new story in National Geographic, they're not the first. In fact, there have been five species found so far.
 
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Marine biologist Thomas Dahlgren explains that these creatures tend to show up wherever dead whales are found, as whale bones are their main food source, and even their living space. The little guys tunnel into the whale bones and eventually set up housekeeping, forming entire colonies like creepy underwater tentacle gardens. Researchers tried putting other animal bones in their habitat to see if they liked the taste of them... and they did.
 
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As far as the “zombie worm” name goes, they don't actually return from the dead (that's just a nickname they got from an obviously cool scientist), but they do other horrifying things: for example, the males, which are much smaller than the females, can actually live inside the females' bodies... and they do, often several dozen at a time. That's just wrong.
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