Microscopic, biochemical, and molecular characteristics of the Chilean blob and a comparison with the remains of other sea monsters: Nothing but whales

Pierce S.K.; Massey S.E.; Curtis N.E.; Smith Jr. G.N.; Olavarría C; Maugel T.K.

Keywords: sequence, hydrolysis, acid, electron, dna, animals, histology, acids, ultrastructure, sea, microscopy, decomposition, genetics, collagen, molecular, data, article, mitochondrial, base, changes, cetacea, oceans, octopus, animal, whales, whale, study, nucleotide, amino, Animalia, DNA,, comparative, and, Microscopy,, cadaver, Analysis,, Hydrochloric, Seas, Physeter, catodon, Postmortem, dofleini

Abstract

We have employed electron microscopic, biochemical, and molecular techniques to clarify the species of origin of the "Chilean Blob," the remains of a large sea creature that beached on the Chilean coast in July 2003. Electron microscopy revealed that the remains are largely composed of an acellular, fibrous network reminiscent of the collagen fiber network in whale blubber. Amino acid analyses of an acid hydrolysate indicated that the fibers are composed of 31% glycine residues and also contain hydroxyproline and hydroxylysine, all diagnostic of collagen. Using primers designed to the mitochondrial gene nad2, an 800-bp product of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was amplified from DNA that had been purified from the carcass. The DNA sequence of the PCR product was 100% identical to nad2 of sperm whale (Physeter catadon). These results unequivocally demonstrate that the Chilean Blob is the almost completely decomposed remains of the blubber layer of a sperm whale. This identification is the same as those we have obtained before from other relics such as the so-called giant octopus of St. Augustine (Florida), the Tasmanian West Coast Monster, two Bermuda Blobs, and the Nantucket Blob. It is clear now that all of these blobs of popular and cryptozoological interest are, in fact, the decomposed remains of large cetaceans.

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Título según SCOPUS: Microscopic, biochemical, and molecular characteristics of the Chilean blob and a comparison with the remains of other sea monsters: Nothing but whales
Título de la Revista: BIOLOGICAL BULLETIN
Volumen: 206
Número: 3
Editorial: MARINE BIOL LAB
Fecha de publicación: 2004
Página de inicio: 125
Página final: 133
Idioma: English
URL: http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?eid=2-s2.0-3042525472&partnerID=q2rCbXpz
Notas: SCOPUS