Mind-blowing Video: Whale Fall (afterlife of a whale)


You guys remember Sharon Shattuck, right? She's the documentary filmmaker responsible for "Parasites: A User's Guide" and a frequent collaborator with Radiolab. The recent "Loops" Radiolab episode featured a segment on the ultimate fate of a dead whale: how its body becomes not only a feeding ground but an ecosystem all its own. To help us envision this particular loop of life and death, Sharon created this lovely video detailing the stages of whale decomposition via puppets. Let's watch:

Beautiful, isn't it? If you've seen the excellent BBC/Discovery documentary series "Blue Planet," you got to witness actual footage of a whale fall, with hag fish and other scavengers creeping in to feast on a dead grey whale. You can catch that episode right here on Netflix Streaming, but we should also check out the wonderful time lapse segment from "Life" in which nemertean worms and sea stars consume a dead seal pup. Incredible: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HG17TsgV_qI]

I also wrote the piece "Scene Analysis: Sea Creatures of Antarctica" on this segment for the Discovery Channel, interviewing series producer Neil Lucas.

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About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.