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Whale Rider

April 15th, 2005

Dr Petra

Well shiver me timbers! Latest research shows that some of those sailor’s stories about sea monsters may have been a bit of a misunderstanding. Researchers at St Andrews University, Scotland, studied four historical accounts about giant sea serpents, and tried to see if the description matched any aquatic animals from the North Atlantic.

Their results suggested the description didn’t match any animal per se, but did seem to closely resemble a part of an animal.

Their findings, published in Archives of Natural History, argue what mariners saw wasn’t a sea serpent, but the penis of an Atlantic grey whale.

Whilst the researchers acknowledge some sea serpent sightings could have been the real thing, rather than a (Moby) Dick, this research does give us chance for a whole new chat up line.

Is that a giant sea serpent in your pocket, or are you just pleased to see me?

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