Underside of sea creature
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Flesh-eating 'aliens' from the deep

Scientists are turning to a vast collection of sea creatures from the Gulf of Mexico to help them assess the impact of the BP oil spill.

The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History has amassed a collection of hundreds of thousands of invertebrates over 30 years.

They give a detailed picture of how the ecosystem looked before the spill, so any changes can be more easily spotted and accurately recorded.

Jane O'Brien went to see some of the samples.

Read more on this story: Jars of worms key to Gulf's future