Marine biologists from the University of Southampton, Natural History Museum, British Antarctic Survey, National Oceanography Centre (NOC) and Oxford University reported the discovery of the first whale skeleton ever found in the Antarctic in the March 18, 2013, issue of the journal Deep-Sea Research II: Topical Studies in Oceanography.
This is the seventh whale skeleton found worldwide to date.
The discovery in an undersea crater near the South Sandwich Islands was the result of a chance encounter by the remotely operated vehicle, Isis. Antarctic whale skeletons have never been seen before because the chances that an underwater vehicle will travel over a spot where a whale skeleton lies are rare and cannot be planned.
The discovery of the southern Minke whale included the discovery of several new species of deep-sea creatures that live off a dead whale’s bones and the protein in the bones. The new species included a bone-eating zombie worm known as Osedax and a new species of isopod crustacean, similar to woodlice.
Similar species of sea life are known to be associated with other whale skeletons but how those species move from place to place and what signals alert the animals to a whale death are at present unknown.