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Beach Blobs

The strange "beach blobs" that have been washing up on the shores of beaches worldwide have finally been identified.

Jon Copley writes in New Scientist that the "Chilean Blob" and other similar gobs of goo found on beaches are the remains of whales.

In July 2003, a 13-ton blob washed ashore in Chile. Since it contained no bones, marine biologists thought it might be the body of a new species of giant octopus. But eventually they found unique glands that only belong to sperm whales inside the blob.

Researcher Sidney Pierce used electron microscopy on the blob, that revealed the tough collagen fibers in whale tissue. Also fragments of its DNA match that of a sperm whale.

Scientists are glad to have finally solved the puzzle but are sad to find that the "giant octopus of St Augustine" from 1896, the 1960 Tasmanian west coast monster, two Bermuda blobs from the 1990s and the 1996 Nantucket blob are just the washed-up remains of whales.

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