Sorry for the above image. But you know who's even sorrier? The white-beaked dolphin that's getting gnawed on like a meat popsicle. Yikes.
According to Norwegian scientists, we likely have climate change to thank for the ghastly sight. In a paper recently published in Polar Research, they report that polar bears -- who usually dine on seals -- have expanded their palates to include dolphins as well, which has never been documented before.
“It is likely that new species are appearing in the diet of polar bears due to climate change because new species are finding their way north,” lead researcher Jon Aars of the Norwegian Polar Institute told the AFP.
Aars and his colleagues believe that the dolphins -- who often summer in the Norwegian Arctic -- have started coming up in spring and winter because there isn't ice around to stop them. The dolphins observed by the researchers (including the one above) were most likely trapped when northerly winds sent sudden flows of dense ice into their path.
And polar bears, being opportunistic, presumably hunted them as if they were seals. They don't think it's a sign that the bears are any more desperate for food than usual, but simply that the warming climate has left a new species -- one not used to fending off polar bear attacks -- vulnerable as prey.
In case you weren't creeped out enough, that wasn't the only unusual behavior Aars saw: The polar bears were also deliberately covering one of the dolphin carcasses with snow. They think the bears were freezing leftovers to eat later.