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Bone-devouring worms discovered

AFP-JIJI

Scientists said Wednesday they had discovered two new species of a strange bone-devouring worm thriving in the mysterious waters that surround the Antarctic continent.

The Osedax worms feed on the bones of dead whales that settle on the sea floor, fulfilling an important recycling role, said a study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The worms, named Osedax antarcticus and Osedax deceptionensis, were discovered by an international team of scientists probing the fate of whale bones and shipwrecks on the Southern Ocean floor.

The worms are a few millimeters long, each with four finger-like appendages attached to a central trunk.