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Deepwater Horizon Spill Created Horrific Mutant Creatures in the Gulf of Mexico

The Deepwater Horizon spill has turned the Gulf of Mexico into an apocalyptic wasteland.

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(TMU) — As the 10-year anniversary of the horrific Deepwater Horizon oil spill approaches, the area’s ocean floor has been transformed into a fetid wasteland coated in tar and populated by handfuls of deformed, tumor-ridden crustaceans.

The explosion on a BP oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, was one of the most catastrophic disasters to hit the ocean in human history, with the U.S. government estimating that 4.9 million barrels (210 million gallons) were discharged across hundreds of square miles.

But new video footage from a 2017 expedition has confirmed the worst fears regarding the catastrophic spill, showing that the Gulf is not only still reeling from the disaster but may have been rendered a permanent dead zone.

The footage was captured by a camera-mounted remotely operated vehicle (ROV) operated by a team at the Louisiana University Marine Consortium, or LUMCON. Their findings on the apocalyptic ruin lying extant across the once-thriving deep sea was recently published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

When marine researcher Clifton Nunnally first saw the footage uncovered by the ROV, he was blown away by the horrors that he witnessed.

As Atlas Obscura reports:

“’Nothing prepared us for what we saw,’ [Clifton said.] … a slick black wasteland, empty of all its usual denizens, such as sea cucumbers and giant isopods. Instead, the area had been taken over by strange crabs and shrimp, either tumor-ridden or eerily languid, as if sleepwalking across the seafloor. The typically white marine snow—detritus that had drifted down from organisms living above—was jet black and clumped up. It was clear that the site was toxic, and maybe irrevocably marred.”

While the area had previously been known for its rich biodiversity, the zone surrounding the Deepwater Horizon site was devoid of such features as sea anemones, sponges and corals typical of that part of the deep sea.

https://twitter.com/universityofga/status/1176919298020917249

Instead, they found some shrimp and a number of deformed, mutated crabs with shells blackened by oil, covered in parasites. In many cases, limbs and claws were shriveled or entirely missing.

Nunnally said:

“Everywhere there were crabs just kicking up black plumes of mud, laden with oil … There were deformities, but mostly things were missing.”

LUMCON executive director Craig McClain told CBC that his team suspects that as the oil decomposes, it’s likely mimicking a sex hormone that lures crabs to the sites—a common occurrence at other oil spills that attract lobsters.

The researchers compare the area to the La Brea Tar Pits. When the crabs do manage to find a mate, everything goes downhill from there—they end up mired in toxic detritus from the oil spill which coats their shells, preventing them from molting and ridding themselves of parasites that are naturally accumulated.

The scientists were shaken to their core by the experience. McClain explained:

“The prior week, we had done dives across the Gulf of Mexico and saw, you know, glass sponges and squids and fish and whip corals and giant isopods, one of my favorite deep sea animals.

It was the equivalent of walking around in a tropical rainforest and the next day walking around on a cement parking lot.”

And while the dire state of the Gulf demands further attention, McClain worries that nobody is paying attention. And LUMCON, which conducted its research with its own funds, can’t even afford further expeditions.

McClain said:

“I’m concerned that there’s not been an increased effort in and continued monitoring of the recovery or the lack of recovery at the site.

We can’t begin to know what restoration of the deep sea looks like until we actually get a handle of how fast it’s recovering in the first place.”

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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Animals

Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida

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A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.

In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.

“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.

Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.

Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.

Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.

Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.

However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.

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Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son

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A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.

The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.

The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.

“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.

“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.

The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.

The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.

“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.

The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.

The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.

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Blue Whales Return to Spain’s Coast After Disappearing for 40 Years

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Blue whales have been returning to the Atlantic coast of Spain after an absence of over 40 years in the region, when whaling industries drove the species to the brink of extinction.

Blue whales, which are the world’s largest mammals, had long disappeared from the region until the recent sightings.

The first was spotted off the coast of Galicia near Ons Island by marine biologist Bruno Díaz, who heads the Bottlenose Dolphin Research.

Another one of the majestic creatures was spotted the following year in 2018 and yet another in 2019. In 2020, two whales again made their return to the area.

It remains unclear as of yet as to why the creatures have returned to the area, but controls on local whaling industries are believed to play a role.

“I believe the moratorium on whaling has been a key factor,” Díaz remarked, according to the Guardian. “In the 1970s, just before the ban was introduced, an entire generation of blue whales disappeared. Now, more than 40 years later, we’re seeing the return of the descendants of the few that survived.”

Whaling had been a traditional industry in Galicia for hundreds of years before Spain finally acted to ban whaling in 1986, long after the blue whale’s presence in the region had faded away.

Some fear that the return of the massive sea mammals is a sign of global warming.

“I’m pessimistic because there’s a high possibility that climate change is having a major impact on the blue whale’s habitat,” said marine biologist Alfredo López in comments to La Voz de Galicia.

“Firstly, because they never venture south of the equator, and if global warming pushes this line north, their habitat will be reduced,” he continued “And secondly, if it means the food they normally eat is disappearing, then what we’re seeing is dramatic and not something to celebrate.”

Díaz said that while the data certainly supports this theory, it is too early to determine climate as the precise cause.

“It is true that the data we have points to this trend [climate change] but it is not enough yet,” he told Público news.

Another possibility is that the ancestral memory of the old creatures or even a longing for their home may offer an explanation, according to Díaz.

“In recent years it’s been discovered that the blue whale’s migration is driven by memory, not by environmental conditions,” he said. “This year there hasn’t been a notable increase in plankton, but here they are. Experiences are retained in the collective memory and drive the species to return.”

In recent years, researchers have found that migratory patterns are also driven by the cultural knowledge existing in many groups of species.

Researchers believe this type of folk memory, or cultural knowledge, exists in many species and is key to their survival.

A typical blue whale is 20-24 metres long and weighs 120 tonnes – equivalent to 16 elephants – but specimens of up to 30 metres and 170 tonnes have been found.

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