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Why Does this Animal Eat Plastic? It just Tastes Good.

For years it was assumed that sea creatures ate disposed-of plastics by accident. Now, we know the real reason they eat this literal junk food: because they like it.

According to marine science doctoral student Austin Allen, "Plastics may be inherently tasty," and that smaller ocean animals such as coral and plankton react to them as if they were actual food.

This is in contrast to reactions to more obvious and less edible waste, like sand. According to the New Haven Register, "If the sand came near their mouths, the animals used tiny hairs covering their body to brush themselves clean."

But delicious plastic is a different matter: "The corals scooped the plastic toward their mouths with their tentacles, then gobbled up the trash."

Of course, plankton and coral don't have eyes, leaving them with just their tongues to help them figure out whether or not something is edible. "When an animal tastes something that's when they make a decision whether or not to eat it," according to Matthew Savoca, a researcher. As a result, plastics in the ocean go beyond merely littering a beautiful landscape—they hurt those who unknowingly consume it.

Potential Preaching Angles: This illustration could be used to show the importance of discernment, the temptation to do what "feels right," the lust of the flesh, or our inability to truly know what is best for us without a higher authority's guidance.

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