In the deep sea, bacon doesn’t last long

If you haven’t seen the VENUS deep-sea observatory’s pig-in-the-ocean experiments, you’ve been missing out. I saw them present this work at a conference a couple years ago & it is AMAZING. From New Scientist’s writeup:

Now a pioneering experiment lead by forensic scientist Gail Anderson from Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, is using dead pigs as a model for humans to gain insight. In this video, a pig carcass is tracked as it turns to bones in the ocean, capturing the scavengers that visit the body. Sharks are unable to tuck in since it’s enclosed (as is the octopus lurking at the end of the video), giving sea lice exclusive access to the remains. They enter orifices in droves to feast on the animal from the inside out and congregate on the cage bars to prevent other arthropods, like shrimp, from getting a bite. “By the end of the fourth day, the sea lice had left and the pigs were reduced to bones,” says Anderson.

Watch this now – but maybe not if you have a ham sandwich for lunch. Or if this whets your appetite, how about some sixgill sharks tearing into another pig carcass? (H/t Ed Yong)

4 Replies to “In the deep sea, bacon doesn’t last long”

  1. When ORCA webcast their eye-in-the-sea carcass-cam years ago, I watched that feed for hours at a time.

  2. Still doesn’t explain how the severed limbs happen. If the dead body is where the local sea life is having a buffet, all the body is going to get eaten.

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