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People are only just realizing the real reason why there are no skeletons in the Titanic wreckage

People are only just realizing the real reason why there are no skeletons in the Titanic wreckage

Creatures eating the bodies is a factor - but it's not the only one

When the Titanic sank in 1912 after colliding with an iceberg, an estimated 1,517 people perished in the freezing Atlantic waters.

But when images of the wreckage resting 3,800 metres below the surface emerged, something seemed to be missing.

And that was the remains of those who had died in the disaster - which will have happened 112 years ago in April this year.

Many of those who died on the Titanic would have had the awful fate of being trapped inside the ship - making it unlikely that their remains could be carried off by currents or scavengers.

So the absence of bodies might come as a surprise for some, especially given that there are wrecks with a lot of human remains inside - for example, Chuuk Lagoon in Micronesia contains the remains of people who died when the US attacked the location in World War 2.

So why is this not the case at the wreck of the Titanic?

The bow of Titanic at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
Xavier DESMIER/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Well, it's all to do with the depth at which the wreckage came to rest.

In Chuuk Lagoon the wrecks are resting in shallow, sheltered waters, meanwhile the Titanic is resting at 3,800 metres down in the Atlantic Ocean.

But what difference does this make?

While animals eating the flesh of the bodies is a factor - and there are bacteria in the deep ocean which can extract nutrients from bones - that's not the only reason why there are no bones.

The answer lies in the chemical composition of the seawater - which changes as you descend into the depths.

Deep sea explorer Robert Ballard, who first discovered the Titanic's wreck in 1985, explained that below a certain depth, water actually dissolves bones.

He said: "The water in the deep sea is under saturated in calcium carbonate, which is mostly, you know, what bones are made of.

The wreckage of the Titanic.
Xavier DESMIER/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

"For example, on the Titanic and on the Bismarck, those ships are below the calcium carbonate compensation depth, so once the critters eat their flesh and expose the bones, the bones dissolve.

"Now in the Black Sea, because there's no critters to eat, the bones should not be exposed. So you should have perfectly mummified fossils."

And some people on Reddit are just realizing this, with one person saying: "I thought they’d be squished into jelly like supposedly the rich people on that sub were."

Another said: "Wait, since when do dead people sink?" and a third said: "The sea is human broth, confirmed?"

What a lovely image.

Instead of skeletons, however, what you will find are pairs of empty shoes.

The treated leather resists the effect - meaning that all that is left of those who died are the shoes they were wearing on that tragic day.

Featured Image Credit: SCIEPRO/Science Photo Library / Ralph White/Getty Images

Topics: News, World News, Titanic, Science