Fig. 1. (A) The first discovery of the whale fall of Stenella longirostris on the Zhongnan seamount in the South China Sea in March 2020. Some megafauna observed at the dolphin fall during April–June 2020: (B) Munidopsis sp., (C) caridean shrimp, (D) sea urchin, (E) lithodid crab, (F) snailfish, (G) grenadier, (H) cusk-eel, and (I) Halosauridae sp.Fig. 2. The images of the 3 dead cow bodies on the slope of the Zhongnan seamount in the South China Sea after over 100 d: (A) 650-m cow body in 24 h, showing half of the body tissue bitten away; (B) the 650-m cow body in early July 2021; (C) the 1,600-m body; and (D) the 3,400-m body in early July 2021.Whale falls are a recent discovery of a new type of ecosystem in the deep sea with communities and succession that are different from other known ecosystems. They represent unique biodiversity hotspots supporting numerous marine organisms in a small area over a relatively short period of time. The transient flourishment of deep marine life in such environments is triggered by communities distinct from those of hydrothermal vents, cold seeps, and cold water corals. Whale (cetacean) falls attract deep-sea creatures that are otherwise difficult to find. Distinct faunal assemblages thrive sequentially in 4 successional stages: (a) the mobile scavenger stage, which removes the soft tissue; (b) the opportunist stage with dense colonization by heterotrophic macrofauna (particularly polychaetes and crustaceans); (c) the chemoautotrophic stage when thiophilic and methanogenic bacteria and archaea colonize the skeleton; and (d) the reefing stage when filter feeders colonize the remaining skeleton. These stages vary in duration, overlap with each other, and are affected by the size of the cetacean falls, the depths of whale falls, and other environmental variables . Since the discovery of the first whale fall by the submersible Alvin in 1987 , less than 30 natural whale falls have been found [1,3,4]. Most of the whale falls were sighted in the east Pacific Ocean along the California coast, and only one was found in the West Pacific near Japan . None has been observed in the South China Sea. We conducted simulated whale fall experiments for the first time by placing cow carcasses on different depths along the slope of a seamount in the South China Sea and obtained observations of different consumption rates of cow carcasses at different depths.