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This ‘flower’ is not at all what you think

Oh what a beautiful flower that is. Oh hang on, that doesn't look quite right...

No, what you're actually looking at in the amazing video below is the papillae inside a Loggerhead turtle's throat.

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While it's slightly gruesome, it's also quite incredible. The papillae are covered in a mucus that enables the turtle to filter out anything that's inedible; either invertebrate shells, or actual rubbish in the sea. It's sort of like the villi in human digestion, only much larger scale (and looks like a Sarlacc from Star Wars).

The footage was taken as part of a Loggerhead necropsy at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; something of a treat for the team, as Loggerhead turtles are an endangered species. We assume/hope the turtle died of natural causes first.

If you've got the stomach for it, there are a few more photos from the procedure below (and more here). But first, here's a gif to watch one more time.

A post shared by Laura C. (@la_castanon) on

A post shared by Laura C. (@la_castanon) on

[via Sploid]