Alaskan Cod Are Eating Seabirds

And scientists have no idea why
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 10, 2015 5:25 PM CST
Alaskan Cod Are Eating Seabirds

In what could definitely be the inspiration for a SyFy original movie, it appears Pacific cod are working their way up the food chain. A few years ago, Alaskan seafood workers started finding partially digested bird remains inside the stomachs of cod caught in the Aleutian Islands region, the Anchorage Daily News reports. Scientists started investigating and recently published their findings in Marine Ornithology. Researchers discovered the remains of 74 birds inside cod stomachs. One researcher tells the Daily News it appears the birds were swallowed whole and some had been reduced to nothing but "bones and feathers."

The Daily News reports researchers identified 55 of the 74 bird remains as crested auklets, which dive underwater looking for krill. Evidence suggests most—but not all—of the birds were eaten while already dead. But it's unknown if the cod were trying to eat the birds or merely swallowed them by accident. Scientists also don't know why Pacific cod have started eating birds, how often they eat birds, or the significance of them eating birds. This is thought to be the first documentation of Pacific cod eating seabirds as a regular practice. Now we're no cod scientists, but we fear these fishy monsters will get a taste for humans next. Be warned. (More cod stories.)

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