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Giant Red Crabs Take Over 'Antarctic Abyss,' Climate Change Blamed (VIDEO)

The Huffington Post    
First Posted: 09/12/11 03:11 PM ET Updated: 11/12/11 05:12 AM ET

Giant animals colonizing the "Antarctic abyss" may sound like a plot out of a blockbuster horror movie. But scientists say this phenomenon is now actually happening. According to a report published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, large crabs stretching almost a meter wide have invaded the edge of the Antarctic, destroying ecosystems that took millions of years to build.

The King Crabs have colonized the "Antarctic abyss" of Palmer Deep, a basin more than 4,300 feet down, off the Antarctic Peninsula, reports the New Scientist.

Led by researchers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the findings are shown in a video filmed at the bottom of the ocean.

Treehugger notes that the rise in temperature is mainly to blame, given it was previously too cold for the crabs to live. In short, the researchers conclude the King Crab colonization of the Antarctic is linked to climate change.

According to the Independent, scientists say the number of species in areas colonized by the crabs is a quarter of that in areas that have escaped the invasion.

The invasion of the long-legged critters doesn't come as a surprise to scientists, given three years ago they predicted the King Crabs would invade within 100 years.

Last month, a study published in the journal Science showed that climate change is driving animals to the poles in search of their more normal natural habitats. The Guardian called it "one of the clearest examples of climate change in action." In fact, the leader of the research, Chris Thomas, professor of conservation biology, told The Guardian that for the past 40 years, animals and plants have been "shifting 20 cm per hour, for every hour of the day, for every day of the year."

WATCH the giant crabs:

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