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Florida sea monster circa 1929
Posted: 02 September 2007 11:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Hubby thinks I find it utterly fascinating because somewhere inside I know it’s fake and that a book of facts has this one big false story in it, like I found a blooper in an encyclopedia or something….

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Posted: 02 September 2007 11:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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They keep pulling coleocanths out of the ocean when they are supposed to be extinct and finding giant squids, so why not?

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Posted: 02 September 2007 11:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Even if it’s fake, would like to see other pictures and articles on it and what happened to Captain Thompson once the hoax was made public, etc.

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Posted: 03 September 2007 02:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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It might also help to know when this sea monster was (supposedly) caught.  Just because the Wonder Book of Knowledge was from 1929 doesn’t mean that was the year the sea monster was (supposedly) caught.

I also wouldn’t doubt that inaccurate information was published back then.  While it might have been believed and printed in all honesty at the time there’s not much way to know whether it was later reported false.  For all we know the 1930 version of the Wonder Book might have printed a retraction declaring that the sea monster was a hoax (or what it really was).

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Posted: 03 September 2007 07:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Speaking as a former harbourmaster, checking up on private non-commercial boat registries from 1929 or earlier could be quite a difficult process.  First, we don’t know who the boat is registered to (if it even existed).  Just because the man on it was called “Captain” doesn’t mean that he’s on the paperwork.  Secondly, we don’t know where it was registered, not even a country.  Third, such records from that long ago are likely to have suffered from the ravages of time.  And finally, even if the records are still around, chances are that they’ll be stuck in some book in the back of some records room rather than being in any sort of place or format easy to get to.  And finally, I can pretty much guarantee you that “Samoa” will have been a popular name for private vessels; I would expect there to be dozens of them, at least.

Concerning the third and fourth points above, looking for insurance records rather than registry records might be a bit more successful in this case, although being a yacht rather than a cargo vessel will make even this less likely to be helpful.

You could try checking to see if Knights Key or anyplace nearby publish a newspaper in the 1920’s, and see if they have any copies of the articles still.  Even then, though, it would involve a lot of searching and reading since we don’t know when the critter was supposedly caught (it could have been 1850 for all we know), and it’s doubtful that newspapers from the 1920’s would have been copied onto computers.

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Posted: 03 September 2007 08:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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beetlejuice49423 - 03 September 2007 03:11 AM

Looks like a whale shark but has 5 gills.  “Probable” it was a baby of its species as the backbone was of a cartilaginous nature.  Silver dollar size eyes.  Pupil did not dilate or contract.  According to the description with the picture, 45 feet in length; 30,000 pounds in weight; circumfrence 23 feet 9 inches; diameter 8 feet 3 inches; mouth (open) 31 inches; mouth 38 inches wide; mouth 43 inches deep; tongue 40 inches long; several thousand teeth; hide 3 inches thick; no scales; had swallowed an animal weighing 1500 pounds; tail measures 10 feet from tip to tip; pectoral fin 5 feet long, 3 feet wide; dorsal fin 3 feet long, 2 feet 9 inches wide; gills 4 feet; the liver weighed 1700 pounds.

Whale sharks also have 5 gill slits, a cartilaginous skeleton, and lack scales.

Like all sharks, it lacks a ‘swim bladder’, and instead uses its large oiler liver for buoyancy.

Whale sharks have upwards of six thousand teeth, but these are much smaller that in most other sharks and very clearly disproportionate for its size.

The eyes of a whale shark are lid-less, lack a nictitating membrane and are again much smaller in proportion to their size than is common for shark species, most likely because, as filter feeders, vision is much less essential to them. They can also be rotated back into the head for protection.

The skin on the back of the whale shark includes a layer of connective tissue up to 15cm thick, and is the thickest skin of any species in the world.

It might also be a juvenile basking shark, or even a very rare Megachasma. Both of which (being filter feeders) have a number of similar characteristics.

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Posted: 03 September 2007 09:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Thanks for all the interesting info on seaching vessels, records, newspapers, and the info on the whale sharks—learning something new every day here…have an update for you…while researching more about this, I found an old auction for a 1917 edition of this book, so I wrote the seller, in hopes his email addy was still correct and he did write me back…his 1917 edition has the same article as the 1929 edition, so the story pre-dates 1917, not 1929, so that may help me find more info.  Would be nice to locate a post-1929 copy to see if they did print a retraction or other helpful information…based on the detailed description of the whale shark, maybe it’s just a mutant one…I have glanced at pictures of them before, and the mouth and eyes on this one are bizarre…..

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Posted: 03 September 2007 09:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Forgot to add—this one DID have a swim bladder but it burst, which is why they thought it surfaced, that it couldn’t swim back down to where it (supposedly) came from due to the burst swim bladder….

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Posted: 03 September 2007 09:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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A burst swim bladder would mean that it couldn’t not go down to where it came from. . .and possibly down even further.

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Posted: 03 September 2007 09:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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beetlejuice49423 - 03 September 2007 01:35 PM

ased on the detailed description of the whale shark, maybe it’s just a mutant one…I have glanced at pictures of them before, and the mouth and eyes on this one are bizarre…..

Like this perhaps?


[Source: Australian Museum Fish Site]

This is the ‘megamouth’ shark I mentioned, Megachasma pelagios.

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Posted: 03 September 2007 08:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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No, but that is an interesting one…this one has a big round, open mouth to the front, like humans do, and tiny eyeballs…have a big day planned for tomorrow, but do so hope to get to Kinko’s and see what I can do about getting this picture scanned and added here…my 83 year old MIL has come to live with us and she has several doctor appointments tomorrow, but I am hoping to slip in a trip to get this picture scanned…I know, I need to buy another one…one of these days!  :))

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