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Celli
04-07-03, 16:45
SANTIAGO, Chile (July 2) - Scientists said on Wednesday a huge mass of slimy flesh that washed up on a Chilean beach last week may be a rare type of giant octopus or just discarded whale blubber.

European zoologists contacted by the Chileans to help identify the 40-foot-long (12-meter) piece of gelatinous tissue said it closely resembled descriptions of a bizarre specimen found in Florida in 1896 that was named ''octopus giganteus'' and has confounded experts ever since.

Other informal sightings of similar deep-sea creatures by fishermen and divers from the Bahamas to Tasmania are the stuff of folklore on the ''Bermuda Blob'' as well as academic study.

''We've been in touch with zoologists from different countries. We've had responses from France and Italy from people who say, based on the preliminary data we sent them, it could be a gigantic octopus,'' said Elsa Cabrera, director of the Center for Cetacean Conservation in Santiago.

The center plans to send tissue samples abroad to be examined.

''I don't dare say what it is. I'm hoping the experts can tell us,'' she added.

James Mead, a zoologist with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, thinks it is whale blubber.

''I don't have enough data to say, yes it's an octopus or its a whale but I would hazard a bet that when it gets firmly identified, it'll be a whale,'' he told Reuters by telephone.

He said a whale could have died of old age, decayed and a big piece of it could have drifted to shore.

Photographs of the carcass showed a pinkish-gray blob on the beach resembling a squashed elephant.

The largest of the over 100 officially recognized species of octopus can measure up to 20 feet.

Cabrera went to see the carcass last weekend after the Navy alerted her center to what it thought were two beached whales. One carcass was a humpback and the other a complete surprise.

''We'd never seen such a strange specimen,'' Cabrera said.

Its characteristics match those given by 19th Century scientists that examined the creature found in 1896, who described pulling at the 60-foot (18-meter) animal with a team of horses and hacking at it with an axe without making a dent.

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I personally like this little bit. http://www.tombraiderforums.com/images/smilies/tongue.gif

Photographs of the carcass showed a pinkish-gray blob on the beach resembling a squashed elephant.

Argaraula
04-07-03, 17:25
oof-discarded whale blubber, wouldn't want to meet that while on a nice walk on the beach. Nonetheless a "pinkish-gray squashed elephant".. http://www.tombraiderforums.com/images/smilies/smile.gif