The "very first" experience with sea floor diggers is helping scientists to unravel a great prehistoric mystery: what happened when Jurassic sea creatures fell to the bottom of the ocean?
To find out, the scientists deposited three alligators at the bottom of the oceans and filmed what was happening next.
<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "The researchers of the Marine Consortium of Louisiana Universities were then surprised by the speed with which the "deep sea vultures" arrived on the scene and did light work on a carcass wrapped in armor-like skin. how quickly the "vultures of the depths" arrived on the scene and did a slight job on a carcass wrapped in a skin resembling an armor.
Mysterious images uploaded to YouTube showed giant pink isopods – scavengers that look like soccer-sized cockroaches – crawling and gnawing the hard outer shell of the dead alligator.
Scientists Craig McClain and Clifton Nunnally said the research team was waiting for Isopods to take at least two days to find and start feasting on the alligators they dropped to three different locations at varying depths in the Gulf of Mexico. hours.
In addition, the isopods devoured the alligator so quickly that the researchers noted in the video that the crustaceans were "motionless or stunned".
<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "" The giant isopods are like vultures, "The doctor Nunnally said Atlas Obscura. "data-reactid =" 41 ">" Giant isopods are like deep-sea vultures, "said Dr. Nunnally at Atlas Obscura.
"They are just waiting for something big to fall."
The team that conducted the experiment also hypothesized that the alligators were a good modern substitute for a prehistoric ichthyosaur.
Ichthyosaurs were huge carnivorous marine reptiles that ruled the ocean and evidence from their fossils indicated that shellfish and boneworms lived on carcasses.
<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "In the eyes of Dr. McClain, the American alligator or nbsp;Alligator mississippiensis& nbsp; is the closest thing to the ichthyosaur of the 21st century. "data-reactid =" 65 "> In the eyes of Mr. McClain, the American alligator or Alligator mississippiensis is the closest thing that the 21st century has to a ichthyosaur.
"If we put an alligator on the market, are we going to capture the last refuge of a species we did not even know existed?", He told Atlas Obscura.
The Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event erased the planet's dinosaurs 66 million years ago, but not the alligators and crocodiles.
The American alligator first appeared 200 million years ago and has been practically alike for eight million years.
"Indeed, falling alligator and crocodile food could be the last refuge of specialized invertebrates that were also found in the ancient oceans," says the video.
The research team announced plans to return to the sites within two months to see what other species had consumed the alligators.
Dr. McClain said that they could even capture "the last refuge of a species we did not even know existed".
<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Do you have a piece of history? E-mail: [email protected]."data-reactid =" 92 ">Do you have a piece of history? Email: [email protected]
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