The worms, found in a gray whale skeleton off the coast of California, prompted scientists to designate them as representatives of an entirely new genus, dubbed Osedax. They belonged to a taxonomic family of marine worms that lack mouths and anuses, and rely entirely on bacteria to absorb and excrete nutrients. But Osedax was unique: Adult males were extremely small, and lived in colonies inside the females. Even more strikingly, they occupied an evolutionary niche comprised entirely of fallen whales.As Arthur Eddington wrote: "Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine."
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