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Friday, June 29, 2012

Bone-eating 'zombie' worms drill with acid

29 June 2012 

Bone-eating 'zombie' worms drill with acid

By Ella Davies
Reporter, BBC Nature, Salzburg, Austria

Bone-eating marine worms use acid to feed on the skeletons of fish and whales

Deep sea worms use acid to eat the bones of seabed skeletons, according to US scientists.

The so-called "zombie worms" of the Osedax family are known to bore into bones and remove nutrients.

Fresh analysis of the root-like tissues the worms use to attach to bones has identified acid-secreting enzymes.

Until now scientists did not understand how the tiny creatures fed on bone, as they lack the body parts needed to "drill" physically. (...)

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