Scientist Dropped Dead Alligators Onto The Seafloor,
And Discovered A New Bone-Eating Creature
Last year, in a scientific first, researchers dropped alligators 2,000 meters (6,560 feet) onto the ocean floor to see what lurking deep-sea creatures would make of this unusual new snack. Now, they are back with a published study and juicy new details on what happened at these gator buffets.
Back in February 2019, researchers from the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) executed the very first experiment on reptile falls in the ocean. A “fall” is when an animal – usually something big and substantial, like a whale – dies and its carcass falls to the seabed, providing an incredible banquet for a range of deep-sea critters.
For marine scientists, a fall provides unparalleled insights into deep-sea ecosystems and food webs, seeing who turns up, when, and who eats what. The LUMCON team wanted to know how deep-dwelling creatures in the Gulf of Mexico would react to an uncommon food source – alligators more commonly found in freshwater environments. Though, not always.