Lobster With Pepsi Can 'Tattoo' Embodies Fears About Ocean Waste: Here Are 5 More Examples
By Joe McCarthy
It's safe to say that lobsters aren't a budding new demographic for soda companies.
So why did a lobster recently caught in the waters off Grand Manan, New Brunswick, have part of a Pepsi logo tattooed on its claw?
That's a question that baffled Karissa Lindstrand, the fisherman who spotted the uncanny image during a lobster haul, according to the Guardian. Lindstrand happens to drink up to a dozen Pepsi sodas a day, but she was struck by the image's unusual dimensions.
It was pixelated, she told the Guardian, and far too big to be seen on a soda can—theoretically debunking claims that the lobster grew up in a can. She's not the only one to question how the logo got there. Since the image went viral, it's sparked a debate on how a lobster became an unwitting mascot of a soda giant, the Guardian noted.
Lindstrand, for example, thinks that ink from a piece of paper somehow fused to the lobster's claw.
Each year, an estimated eight million metric tons of plastic enter the oceans each year, which is like emptying a garbage truck of plastic into an ocean every minute.
Because these problems are taking place in the oceans, they're largely out-of-sight. Until, that is, a strange or grotesque image that distills the issue goes viral.
That's what happened with the Pepsi lobster. And that's what happened to these other animals.
1. Turtle With Straw Stuck in Its Nose
Billions of plastic straws are used each day and the vast majority are thrown away, never to be reused. A lot of this waste gets washed into the oceans, where it threatens marine life.
One of these straws got stuck in a sea turtle's nose, causing pain and impairing its breathing.
2. Otter With a Cable Tie Around Its Neck
This #otter was spotted in a #Dorset river yesterday - the cable tie is not a fashion accessory. Discarded waste ca… https://t.co/7jaOPEQoxk— UK Wild Otter Trust (@UK Wild Otter Trust)1511710965.0
Cable ties can be hard to loosen if you don't have the right tools or the right knowledge. Otters are probably not savvy enough to manipulate cable ties, so when this otter was spotted with one tied around its neck, it caused concern that the creature was endangered. People feared that either the cable tie could get stuck on something, causing the otter to drown, or it could unintentionally tighten, causing the otter to suffocate.
Either way, the cable tie should never have been in Britain's River Stour in the first place.
3. Turtle Tangled in a Net
WWF / Michael Gunther
When fishing nets are discarded in oceans, they don't stop catching creatures. In fact, up to 300,000 small whales, dolphins, and porpoises get entangled and killed by discarded nets each year. The single biggest threat to sea turtles, according to the World Wildlife Fund, is bycatch, including discarded nets.
Many creatures get entangled in nets while they're young and become deformed or injured as the net constrains their growth later in life.
This turtle was severely entangled but was lucky enough to be cut free.
4. Birds Feeding on Plastic Waste
As the world's oceans get simultaneously plumbed of fish and filled with plastic, many creatures that depend on oceans for food eat plastic waste by mistake.
While David Attenborough's "Blue Planet II" team was filming, they captured a sad sight—a bird feeding its young a piece of plastic.
Birds throughout the world die from consuming plastic because it can clog their stomachs or leach poisons into their bodies.
5. Whale With Plastic Bags in Its Stomach
Creatures of all sizes can accidentally ingest plastic as they search for food. When a dying and emaciated whale was found off the coast of Norway, scientists and locals were shocked but not surprised to find more than 30 plastic bags in the whale's stomachs. The bags were thought to have obstructed the whale's digestive system, causing it to starve.
Sweden's reindeer have a problem. In winter, they feed on lichens buried beneath the snow. But the climate crisis is making this difficult. Warmer temperatures mean moisture sometimes falls as rain instead of snow. When the air refreezes, a layer of ice forms between the reindeer and their meal, forcing them to wander further in search of ideal conditions. And sometimes, this means crossing busy roads.
- San Antonio, Texas Unveils Largest Highway Crossing for Wildlife in ... ›
- Wildlife Crossings a Huge Success - EcoWatch ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
- Climate Change Will Be Sudden and Cataclysmic Unless We Act Now ›
- There's a Heatwave at the Arctic 'Doomsday Vault' - EcoWatch ›
- Marine Heatwaves Destroy Ocean Ecosystems Like Wildfires ... ›
By Aaron W Hunter
A chance discovery of a beautifully preserved fossil in the desert landscape of Morocco has solved one of the great mysteries of biology and paleontology: how starfish evolved their arms.
The Pompeii of palaeontology. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<h2></h2><p>Although starfish might appear very robust animals, they are typically made up of lots of hard parts attached by ligaments and soft tissue which, upon death, quickly degrade. This means we rely on places like the Fezouata formations to provide snapshots of their evolution.</p><p>The starfish fossil record is patchy, especially at the critical time when many of these animal groups first appeared. Sorting out how each of the various types of ancient starfish relate to each other is like putting a puzzle together when many of the parts are missing.</p><h2>The Oldest Starfish</h2><p><em><a href="https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/216101v1.full.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Cantabrigiaster</a></em> is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. It was discovered in 2003, but it has taken over 17 years to work out its true significance.</p><p>What makes <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> unique is that it lacks almost all the characteristics we find in brittle stars and starfish.</p><p>Starfish and brittle stars belong to the family Asterozoa. Their ancestors, the Somasteroids were especially fragile - before <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> we only had a handful of specimens. The celebrated Moroccan paleontologist Mohamed <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.06.041" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Ben Moula</a> and his local team was instrumental in discovering <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031018216302334?via%3Dihub" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">these amazing fossils</a> near the town of Zagora, in Morocco.</p><h2>The Breakthrough</h2><p>Our breakthrough moment came when I compared the arms of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> with those of modern sea lilles, filter feeders with long feathery arms that tend to be attached to the sea floor by a stem or stalk.</p><p>The striking similarity between these modern filter feeders and the ancient starfish led our team from the University of Cambridge and Harvard University to create a new analysis. We applied a biological model to the features of all the current early Asterozoa fossils in existence, along with a sample of their closest relatives.</p>
Cantabrigiaster is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<p>Our results demonstrate <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> is the most primitive of all the Asterozoa, and most likely evolved from ancient animals called crinoids that lived 250 million years before dinosaurs. The five arms of starfish are a relic left over from these ancestors. In the case of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em>, and its starfish descendants, it evolved by flipping upside-down so its arms are face down on the sediment to feed.</p><p>Although we sampled a relatively small numbers of those ancestors, one of the unexpected outcomes was it provided an idea of how they could be related to each other. Paleontologists studying echinoderms are often lost in detail as all the different groups are so radically different from each other, so it is hard to tell which evolved first.</p>
- Biden Reaffirms Commitment to Rejoining Paris Agreement ... ›
- Biden Likely Plans to Cancel Keystone XL Pipeline on Day One ... ›
- Joe Biden Appoints Climate Crisis Team - EcoWatch ›