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Old Jul 12, 2003, 01:37 AM   #1
tazo
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Chilean beach blob identified

http://www.cnn.com/2003/TECH/science...eut/index.html

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"SANTIAGO, Chile, (Reuters) -- Chilean scientists said on Friday their study of a huge blob of flesh found on a Pacific beach about three weeks ago concluded it was the carcass of a sperm whale, ending speculation of a giant octopus.

Scientists have been baffled by the 40-foot-long (12-meter) mass of gelatinous tissue found on a remote beach in southern Chile, with initial hunches ranging from whale blubber to a disputed species of giant octopus.

Researchers at the Museum of Natural History in Santiago were the first to reach a conclusion after analyzing samples of the decaying specimen and finding glands of a sperm whale.

"It has not been necessary to do DNA analysis in order to obtain identification. It was enough to find the dermal glands that belong only to this group," the scientists Sergio Letelier and Jose Yanez said in a statement.

The sperm whale, made famous by Herman Melville's Moby Dick, is the largest of the toothed whales and dives deeper than any other whale. The males measure up to 65 feet (20 meters) in length and weigh about 50 tons.

When a sperm whale dies at sea, it rots until it becomes a "skeleton suspended in a semi-liquid mass within a bag of skin and blubber," the scientists said. Eventually, the skin tears and the bones sink while the skin and blubber float.

"This washes up and has the appearance of an octopus because the spermaceti organ keeps its bulky shape," they added.

The spermaceti is a large bulbous organ that forms a sort of forehead and contains a milky wax which early whalers likened to sperm fluid. "
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-tazo

Last edited by tazo; Jul 12, 2003 at 03:51 AM.
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Old Jul 12, 2003, 01:45 AM   #2
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well that all just sounds charming. way to go mother nature...

i had been wondering what this was, thanks for posting it. I was hoping for new giant jellyfish or something interesting but not surprised it's more ordinary in nature... Just weird that they didn't ID it sooner...

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Old Jul 12, 2003, 03:13 AM   #3
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Man, I'd love to see a whale skeleton sinking in sea

Heh heh, it's blobby like a whale...

Wonder what they are going to do with it now.
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Old Jul 12, 2003, 03:58 AM   #4
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i retract my previous statement where i said i intended to eat one of these. i thought it was a new colossal squid, and i really had a calamari craving.

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Old Jul 12, 2003, 05:27 AM   #5
medea
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maybe this should be moved to the original thread rather than starting up another seperate thread.

It's interesting that they didn't even have to run a dna testing, but if they figured it out by just the dermal glands why did it take such a long time?
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Old Jul 12, 2003, 07:53 AM   #6
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Quote:
When a sperm whale dies at sea, it rots until it becomes a "skeleton suspended in a semi-liquid mass within a bag of skin and blubber," the scientists said. Eventually, the skin tears and the bones sink while the skin and blubber float.

Yuck, now that's just nasty.....makes you wonder though, since they also found a whale carcass near by in the ocean at the same time.....

D
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Old Jul 12, 2003, 11:30 AM   #7
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Originally posted by Wardofsky
Wonder what they are going to do with it now.
Perhaps this?
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Old Jul 12, 2003, 01:11 PM   #8
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OMFG that was nasty. i mean what in the HELL were they thinking. anyone who has enough intelligence to SPEAK should be able to predict what happened. that was just insane.
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Old Jul 12, 2003, 02:51 PM   #9
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Originally posted by Interiority
Perhaps this?
What a classic...Thanks for sharing. :-)
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Old Jul 12, 2003, 04:07 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by medea
maybe this should be moved to the original thread rather than starting up another seperate thread.
I looked for it here in current events but it must have been archived or something, because its no longer here
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Old Jul 12, 2003, 11:16 PM   #11
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Originally posted by tazo
I looked for it here in current events but it must have been archived or something, because its no longer here
http://forums.macrumors.com/showthre...threadid=31169
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