Bones Taste Good

Not just whale bones but all bones. Osedax worms are those bone-eating snot flowers, purveyor of all rotten and whale-like, masters of polyandry, and more diverse than we thought. Researchers here at MBARI placed cow bones, in constructed bone trees, on the seafloor and found Osedax fancies them too. Not as much though! Densities were significantly lower than those typical of whale bones.

Figure above from Jones et al. (2007). Figure 1. (a) Deployed ‘bone tree’ adjacent towhale-2893 during May 2006. (b) In situ close-up fromhigh definition video of Osedax rubiplumus and O. nude-palp-A on cow bone adjacent to whale-1820. (c) Close-up of the four palps from O. nude-palp-A showing paired blood vessels in each palp and absence of pinnules. (d )Dwarf (paedomorphic) males isolated fromthe tube of O. rubiplumus specimen shown in (b).

Write up in Nature News.

Paper at Proceedings of the Royal Society

Dr. M (1720 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, created to facilitate research to address fundamental questions in evolutionary science. He has conducted deep-sea research for 11 years and published over 40 papers in the area. He has participated in dozens of expeditions taking him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses mainly on marine systems and particularly the biology of body size, biodiversity, and energy flow. He focuses often on deep-sea systems as a natural test of the consequences of energy limitation on biological systems. He is the author and chief editor of Deep-Sea News, a popular deep-sea themed blog, rated the number one ocean blog on the web and winner of numerous awards. Craig’s popular writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.

2 comments on “Bones Taste Good
  1. This is all part of the bone-devouring worm’s plan. First they take our dolphins, next? It’ll be our women and children!! Madness I tell you! Destroy all zombie worms!

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