When this happen, the dead whale will eventually become food to the other animals below. In 2011, a 20-meter-long fin whale washed up on a beach near San Diego, California. You'll also notice some eel-like creatures swimming around. Researchers aboard a deep-sea exploration vessel called E/V Nautilus discovered a whale carcass off the coast of California, more than 3,000 meters down. The bacterial communities that exist on whale falls can survive for up to 100 years (maybe even longer); for this duration, life will flourish. It can take a while for the community to fully digest a whale, but eventually, all of the carbon will be consumed. And now it’s under the sun swelling into a hot mess of bacteria. They pushed the anchor off and the whale bobs underneath and is hanging vertically in the water, just kind of sitting there,” Orphan says. Use code WONDER20 for 20% off all online experiences! The scene was absurd. All you need is a dead whale, patience, and maybe some extra train wheels. Whale fall samples help us learn more about these strange processes. While the dead whale is clearly what the creatures on the bottom of the sea are most interested, at least one has also found the remote operated vehicle of interest. Chad King: He was a little lethargic and maybe not going to be able to swim away too fast. These worms have no mouths and no guts. Winner will be selected at random on 01/01/2021. 0 0. biire2u. “It was this big dramatic thing. But if those octopuses look eerie to you, wait until you learn about the bone-eating worms called Osedax. That is, until a whale shows up. Lacking the materials to deflate a mound of blubber, they opted for the latter choice, attaching wheels from a train to the whale’s tail. Like Atlas Obscura and get our latest and greatest stories in your Facebook feed. “You have this additional advantage of knowing a ‘time zero,’ at least for the whales you put down there.” Researchers can observe the communities return to their baseline populations once all of the carbon has been extracted. There are laws that effect the disposal of dead animals. We depend on ad revenue to craft and curate stories about the world’s hidden wonders. Why Scientists Drag Dead Whales to the Bottom of the Sea. Wonder no more after you watch this episode of SciShow! Stranded Not all whales sink to the bottom of the ocean when they die, however. That the whales are in their family. When a whale is laid to rest in such a nutrition-starved community, it disrupts the natural order, serving as a bountiful buffet for many sea dwellers. For the sediment-bound microbes below, it’s a living off leftovers. But the natural world always returns to its natural state. Chad King: Whale falls are very rare, relatively, and the chance encounter like this was really important for science. Marine biologists are engineering creative new ways to ride along with whales, bob with jellies, and drift with plankton. Perfect conditions for a sunset sailing cruise, or maybe a kayaking trip. Thousands of YouTube users have been surprised with a viral video, which shows the precise moment in which scientists find at the bottom of the sea the body of a huge whale , which was devoured by hundreds of creatures . The bodies of whales, turtles and other sea creatures have washed up on Mauritius shores, five weeks after the MV Wakashio ship ran aground off its coast. Layer by Layer: A Mexico City Culinary Adventure, Underwater Happy Hour w/ The New York Aquarium, The Secret of Seattle's Disappearing Hill, An Elegy for India's Single-Screen Cinema Palaces, The Man Who Walked Across Japan for Pizza Toast, The Deadly Temptation of the Oregon Trail Shortcut, The Rare Seeds That Escaped Syria for an Arctic Vault, Found: Cases of ‘Trench Fever’ in Ancient Rome, How a Blacksmith in Jordan Created His Own Sign Language, In Naples, Praying With Skulls Is an Ancient Tradition, Inside a Domed Pyramid With Astounding Acoustics and a History of Miracles, See the Mysterious Horned Helmet of Henry VIII, Searching for Home and Connection Through Typewritten Poetry. Their mission? “Not very much is known about the deep sea, but it makes up most of the biosphere,” says Craig Smith. It’s no different for a whale fall—given enough time, nature uses everything. In its advanced state of decomposition, around thirty different animal species feed on the the dead whale! Eventually, the skeleton will be buried under sediment, and the microscopic bacteria that spend their lives eking out a famished living in the dark will flourish. But once in a while, the stuff falling from above is a lot bigger — whale-sized, if you will. © 2020 Atlas Obscura. "We hope that this installation encourages the public to take action and #RefusePlastic." No purchase necessary. For marine biologists, the body of a dead whale provides an opportunity to study life in one of the least explored places on Earth: the bottom of the ocean.