Pssst, hey kid. Wanna see some sea lice eat a dead pig?

Come on. It's for science.

In fact, it's meant to help people.

Researchers at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, put a dead pig in a shark-proof (and octopus-proof, as you'll see) cage and stuck it in the ocean in order to learn more about how human remains decompose underwater. That knowledge will help forensic scientists interpret crime scenes.

Most of the work is done by maggots known as sea lice, but towards the end, after the maggots have eaten the good bits, you can watch some fat, red shrimp move in to pick apart the cartilage.

Read the full story about this research at New Scientist

Via Deep Sea News


  1. Not “maggots” but copepods. They are ravenous little buggers though and the bane of long-line fishermen — they can reduce a good-sized halibut to empty skin and skeleton between sets.

  2. Let’s praise the pig who volunteered to this study.

    Now back to boycotting beauty products tested in animals.

  3.                ***WARNING: MAGGOT ANECDOTE***

    I got to see and smell a female mallard duck go through a similar process during the height of this past summer’s heat wave. She went from bloated stinky duck on Monday to little heap of bones and feathers by Friday, thanks to a writhing and undulating pile of translucent shimmery maggots. For some reason, the maggots always seemed to be in such a hurry…

  4. I thought it was cool how a shark showed up when the meat was fresh but no sharks came by later on. Looks like some kind of lobster was late to the party. I think the octopus was probably more interested in the structure than in potential food. 

  5. Can’t help thinking the octopus could get in there if it wanted to. They’re normally good like that.

  6. Soooo…about a week, give or take.  Turn a mammalian corpse into scattered bones…

    That might come in handy some day…Helping people indeed!


    1. I was thinking the same thing!  Not that I’d ever maliciously commit cold-blooded murder, but it’s nice to know that the briny deep will make my secret safe within a week or so.

  7. Of course the video of a pig being shredded by little creatures begins with a Bulgari ad. Real classy, Bulgari, I will always think of you when my dead, bloated body is being consumed by sea lice.

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