As more and more human trash ends up in the world’s oceans, animals like seabirds increasingly encounter the stuff. And as a result, they end up snacking on plastic.
But why? researchers have wondered. Surely plastic doesn’t seem very tasty, at least not to humans.
But to seabirds, plastic might actually seem just like food, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances. Much like the smell of a perfectly roasted turkey wafting through the house might invite hungry humans into a kitchen, scientists found that plastic floating in the ocean gives off odors that are particularly enticing to seabirds.