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Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Tasmanian Globster

Discussion on Tasmanian Globster of 1960 from the forum, with special thanks to Markus Hemmler

[Original in German, Translation by Google]

The Tasmanian Globster

Contributionof Shielagh »12/05/2004 18:59
Perhaps once in a decade, first indefinable tissue clumps is found on any beach in the world and all the world thinks it is a dinosaur or a giant octopus. In most cases, exposed a rapid examination of the enigmatic DNA chunks of meat as a remnant of a decaying basking shark or Walblubber (adipose tissue). But exceptions prove the rule, for what was at that time in August 1960 found by truly apocalyptic storms on a deserted coast of Tasmania is even leading zoologists still a complete mystery. Both pastoralists Jack boats and Ray Anthony and her employer Ben Fenton drove straight into a secluded area Westtasmaniens their cattle together when they discovered a huge mass of tissue, a large lump of protoplasm, near the River interview. The sea had washed the thing obviously far beyond the flood boundary on land. According to her, it measured a good 6 by 5.4 meters, was about 2 feet tall and weighed an estimated 5 to 10 tons. He showed no signs of decomposition and did not smell. Fenton told some people of the Fund and sketched him, but at first no one seemed very interested. Only one and a half years later, he succeeded GC Cramp, a board member of the Tasmanian Museum, to persuade them to put together a team of zoologists in order to pursue the matter. In the expedition Bruce Mollison and Max Bennett took on the "Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation" (CSIRO) and LE Wall and JA Lewis, members of the "Tasmanian Field Naturalist's Club". Cramp localized the mysterious object from the air and directed the team through the difficult terrain to the discovery site. The expedition reached its destination on 7 March 1962 and noted that the alleged corpse still lay almost exactly where it had been located one and a half years earlier. The researchers reported their findings in Hobart, Tasmania and the front page of the "Mercury" of 9 March 1962 carried the headline "! Seeungeheuerfund could arouse worldwide interest Almost as big as a house" , a drawing of the object was the product and can be seen here: ... anglob.gif An excerpt from the text of the "Mercury": hard and rubbery and extremely well preserved. Gulls, Tasmanian devils, wild cats and crows have for months herumgenagt it and picked, but without success. [...] It was originally covered with fine hairs that were compared by the shepherds with greasy wool. [...] The animal had a hump in front of about 1.2 meters in length and gradually slimmed down to "back" down to about 15 centimeters. In the front area were located on each side of 5 or 6 gill-like, hairless slots. Front 4 large, pendulous lobes were visible, and between the central pair, there was a smooth, maw-like opening. Expedition members discovered no visible eyes, ears nor a defined head or a recognizable bone structure. The meat was off-white, fibrous, and surrounded by a thick, hard and extremely resistant skin. Mollison, leader of the ground troops said at the time: "There is a tendency always to believe not that one is faced with an unknown animal Man is always looking for some explanation and tries everything piece together reasonable, but here can piece together is nothing [.... .] The more I looked, the more I was convinced that this is not originated from a known animal. " On 16 March 1962 sent the Australian government - from a second expedition to investigate the find - a little surprised by the worldwide publicity of the story. This time participants were scientists from various faculties, including again some of the CSIRO. The discovery had now also received a name: "Globster". The researchers took a tissue sample and brought it to Hobart, where they could not agree on the identity of the corpse. Professor AM Clark of the University of Tasmania was the discovery of the remains of a huge stingray. Anyway, it was in his eyes not a whale. A whale bears under the skin, an insulating layer of fat called blubber, which can be peeled in the course of decay and has frequently led to misinterpretations been washed up fabric scraps. A 5 to 10 ton, solid mass without bones and muscles like the Tasmanian Globster has nothing to do with Walblubber. Mollison said during an interview, the "monster" was "neither fish nor fowl" was. "It was not a whale, no seal, no elephant seal and not a squid." The Australian government finally decided that it must have been a whale. Senator John Gorton commented in this regard quite short: "In layman's terms, and in light of the scientifically careful formulation, says the report, that the monster is a big lump of rotting blubber, which was peeled off probably by a whale." In later conversations said Bruce Mollison: "Its meat is [...] rubber-like, either by fire or by various chemical substances destructible. Yet it is not rubber, any meat in the traditional sense, no flesh. It is something that defies any classification in a scheme . [...] I hacked with a hunting knife in the ivory-colored meat, but it was too tough to dislodge a decent chunk. It was like thick leather. " It appears that the Australian Government has not sufficiently before its official statement on the Fund informed. Boneless, of fibrous, durable and consistent with gill slits, it was certainly not a whale. So What was behind the mysterious Tasmanian Globster? He does not seem to do not fit into the known classification of the animal kingdom. For some reason there are no veil-like photographs of the carcass - all that remains for us is, sketches, reports and logs. . The track of the object itself is lost also in the dark, Ivan T. Sanderson reported in 1972 in "Saga's UFO Special" about the find and wrote: "We have destroyed a creature from outer space?" The idea of giant protoplasmic chunks that without land use of a spaceship on Earth is fascinating, but we should settle on the list of possible explanations quite far down ... The Tasmanian Globster represents one of the most mysterious cases of cryptozoology, he is still a mystery and is probably without the discovery of a second representative of its type remain such also.


Re: The Tasmanian Globster

Contributionof Marozi »23/10/2010 14:25
A really old thread. Blow Let's dust off a little and correct some: The expert was LE Wall in the Journal Tasmanian Naturalist ( The Tasmanian Naturalist 127: 20-41 ) in 1981 identified as a whale, which confirmed an electron microscopic examination of samples (Pierce, S., S. Massey, N. Curtis, G. Smith, C. & T. Olavarría Maugel 2004 Microscopic, Biochemical, and Molecular Characteristics of the Chilean Blob and a Comparison With the Remains of Other Sea Monsters:. Nothing but Whales. Biological Bulletin 206 : 125-133 .) reason this update is an old movie of Globsters that I found today.

Microscopic, Biochemical, and Molecular
Characteristics of the Chilean Blob and a Comparison
With the Remains of Other Sea Monsters:
Nothing but Whales





Department of Biology, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida 33620; 2 Department of

Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana

3 Centro de Estudios del Cuaternario Fuego-Patagonia y Anta´rtica Punta Arenas, Chile, and

School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand; and

Department of Biology, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742


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.


Sea monsters have been reported since ancient times. For

instance, Homer described the sea monsters

Scylla and


; the Bible spoke of Leviathan; and St. Brendan

encountered the beast

Jasconius. Later on, world-roving

mariners such as Columbus, Magellan, and Cook described

encounters with sea monsters. Many of these accounts have

been variously attributed to early descriptions of cetaceans

or other large aquatic mammals, to misidentification of

natural phenomena, or simply to overactive imaginations.

Because the deep sea is still difficult to explore, tales of

large marine creatures, new to science, are rarely substantiated

through direct field observations. However, a few

monsters, like the Nordic tale of the

Kraken—a large and

ferocious squid-like animal—may have a basis in reality, as

shown by the recovery last year of an intact colossal squid

Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni


com/news/2003/04/0423_030423_seamonsters.html), complete

with hooklike tentacles and eyes the size of dinner


For over a century the amorphous, decomposed remains

of large animals have washed onto beaches around the

world. Lacking a skeleton, or other identifiable morphology,

a positive identification of the remains is problematic, especially

by untrained observers. Wild claims, especially in

the nonscientific literature, are regularly made that the blobs

are the remains of sea monsters. For example, the Tasmanian

West Coast Monster is still referred to as a monster,

Received 13 February 2004; accepted 5 April 2004.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: pierce@


Biol. Bull. 206: 125–133. (June 2004)

© 2004 Marine Biological Laboratory


although an Australian scienti

fic team, led by W. Bryden,

visited the carcass 2 years after it beached and identi

fied it

as a whale (Wall, 1981). Other relics such as the St. Augustine

(Florida) Sea Monster and the Bermuda Blob are

still described by some as the remains of a gigantic octopus


Octopus giganteus), even though A. E. Verrill—who

named the St. Augustine specimen sight unseen


his identi

fication in favor of whale remains (Verrill, 1897a,

b, c), and in spite of microscopic and biochemical analyses

showing that they were nothing more than the collagenous

matrix of whale blubber (Pierce

et al., 1995)

Last summer another blob washed ashore, this time on a

beach in Chile (Fig. 1). The Chilean Blob rapidly generated

a large amount of media interest around the world, and

several immediate, and varied, identi

fications were made


O. giganteus), almost all by novices with no

more evidence than images of the carcass on the beach

displayed on the Internet. Yet Chilean scientists, including

G. P. Sanino of the Centre for Marine Mammals Research

Leviathan in Santiago, had visited the grounding site and

had identi

fied the remains as that of a whale (pers. comm.).

To augment the gross anatomical observations of the

carcass, we have obtained samples of the Chilean relic and

have used a variety of techniques

—including polymerase

chain reaction (PCR) on recovered DNA

—to establish its

true identity. In addition, we have compared the results with

those we have obtained from several other blobs, including

some that have previously been reported (Pierce

et al.,


Materials and Methods
Samples of carcasses

All of the carcasses were sampled by others and sent to us

in a variety of states of preservation. The Chilean Blob (Fig.

1) was sampled from its location on Pinuno Beach, Los

Muermos, Chile, within a few days after it was discovered

on 26 July 2003, by Elsa Cabrera of the Chilean Centro de


´n Cetacea. Some of the tissue was preserved in

ethanol, and some was fresh frozen. The material was

shipped to Tampa by overnight express, and the frozen

tissue had thawed by the time it reached us. The St. Augustine

carcass was originally sampled by Dewitt Webb, M.D.,

in 1896. Apparently it was initially preserved in formalin,

which solution it was in when given to us by Professor

Eugenie Clark in 1995 (Pierce

et al., 1995). Bermuda Blob

1, also provided by Professor Clark, washed onto Bermuda

in 1995 and was also preserved in formalin when it was

sampled (Pierce

et al., 1995). Bermuda Blob 2 beached in

January 1997. Professor Wolfgang Sterrer of the Bermuda

Biological Laboratory provided us with both formalin-


and fresh-frozen samples. The Tasmanian West Coast monster

arrived on the beach in northwestern Tasmania in 1960,

where it sat, mostly buried in sand, until it was sampled in

Figure 1.

The Chilean carcass as it was found on Pinuno Beach. Photo by Elsa Cabrera (© E. Cabrera,




1962. After the existence of the monster was called to our

attention by Leonard Wall

—a member of the scientific party

that sampled it

—Curator A. P. Andrews of the Tasmanian

Museum and Art Gallery in Hobart provided us with a

sample in an unknown

fixative which, by its odor, contained

ethanol. Finally, the Nantucket Blob washed onto Nantucket

Island, Massachusetts, sometime during November 1996. A

sample was collected, frozen, and sent to us by personnel in

the Nantucket Shell

fish Warden’s office.


The original conditions of preservation of the relics were

unsatisfactory for electron microscopy. So, small pieces

were cut off of each and soaked, at least overnight, in

several changes of

filtered (0.2 m) artificial seawater. They

were then placed into 2% glutaraldehyde and taken through

the same

fixation, embedding, and sectioning procedures

that were described previously for the St. Augustine and

Bermuda Blob 1 carcasses (Pierce

et al., 1995). The sections

were viewed and photographed with a transmission electron

microscope (Zeiss EM 10 or Phillips Morgagni).


Preliminary examination of the samples prepared for microscopy

suggested strongly that all of the remains were

almost exclusively composed of collagen

fibers, as we had

found before with the St. Augustine and Bermuda Blob 1

carcasses (Pierce

et al., 1995). To confirm the collagen


fication, the amino acid compositions of hydrolysates

of the carcass samples was determined as follows. Small

pieces were cut off and soaked in seawater as above. Each

piece was placed into 5N HCl and heated overnight at 100


C. The hydrolysate was neutralized with concentrated

NaOH, mixed 1:1 with ethanol, brought to a boil, and


centrifuged at 20,000

 g for 20 min. The supernatant was

lyophilized, and the residue was taken up in an appropriate

volume of lithium citrate buffer. The amino acid composition

of this solution was determined with a ninhydrin-based,

HPLC analysis (Pierce

et al., 1995). Amino acid composition

was calculated as residues/1000 amino acids.

Molecular analysis

The Chilean carcass was subjected to two independent

molecular analyses. First, in Tampa (done by authors SEM

and NEC), DNA was obtained from the frozen-thawed,


fixed tissue by phenol/chloroform extraction, followed by

ethanol precipitation. The DNA was ampli

fied in PCR using

the temperature pro

file described previously (Carr et al.,

2002). The sequence of the universal primers corresponded

to the vertebrate mitochondrial

nad2 gene—the same sequence

used to identify

Physeter catadon ( macrocephalus)

(sperm whale) as the source of the Newfoundland Blob


et al., 2002). A single, 800-bp PCR product was

obtained, then cloned into the pPCR-Script Amp SK (


plasmid (Stratagene) and sequenced (model CEQ 8000,

Beckman-Coulter) using the CEQ DTCS Quick Start Kit

(Beckman-Coulter) and T3 sequencing primer.

The second independent analysis of the Chilean Blob was

carried out in Auckland, New Zealand (by author CO).

Genomic DNA was extracted with phenol/chloroform from

three subsamples taken from an original 10-g, ethanolpreserved

piece of tissue which was shipped to New Zealand

by Ms. Cabrera. An 800-bp portion of the mtDNA

control region, proximal to the Pro-tRNA gene, was ampli


by PCR from two of the subsamples, using primer

sequences Dlp-1.5 (Dalebout

et al., 1998) and Dlp-8G


et al., 1998; Pichler et al., 2001). The temperature


file consisted of a 2-min preliminary denaturing period at


°C, followed by 35 cycles of 30-s denaturing at 94 °C,

40 s of annealing at 54

°C, and 40 s extension at 72 °C.


fication and subsequent cycle sequencing were improved

by the addition of an M13 tag to the 5

 end of the

Dlp-1.5 primer. The PCR products were sequenced (model

ABI3100, Applied Biosystems) in both directions, using the

BigDye cycle sequencing kit, with M13Dlp-1.5 and Dlp-8G

as the sequencing primers.

In addition to the Chilean Blob, we attempted, in Tampa,

to extract DNA from samples of all the other remains.

However, either because the samples of the other blobs were

too small or because their preservation was wrong, only the

Nantucket Blob yielded ampli

fiable DNA. A single, 800-bp

PCR product was obtained from the Nantucket Blob, using

the temperature pro

file of Carr et al. (2002) and the sequencing

procedure that we described above. Subsequently,

primers designed to the D-loop region of whale mitochondrial

DNA (Wada

et al., 2003) were also used to amplify a

single 1100-bp PCR product from the Nantucket Blob,

which was sequenced as described above using T3 and T7

primers. The ampli

fication conditions were an initial 90-s

denaturation at 94

°C, 30 cycles of a 30-s denaturation at 94


C, a 30-s annealing at 55 °C, and a 45-s extension at 72 °C,

followed by a

final 240-s extension at 72 °C.

Fine structure

The microscopic anatomy of all the carcasses, including

the Chilean Blob, is virtually identical (Figs. 2, 3). These

large masses consist almost entirely of pure collagen


arranged in cross-hatched layers, often perpendicular to

each other. This arrangement is exactly that of the collagen


ber infrastructure of freshly preserved humpback whale

blubber (Fig. 2) (see also Pierce

et al., 1995) and is totally

unlike the

fine structure of octopus or squid mantle,

which consists mostly of muscle

fibers with only a few


fibers (Pierce et al., 1995). Furthermore, al-



though the

fiber layers in the blobs are much thicker than

those in vertebrate skin, the arrangement of the collagen


bers in the two sites are similar (See Discussion). Virtually

no cellular remnants, other than bacteria and bacterial

cysts, were found in any of the carcasses, re


their advanced state of decay.

Figure 2.

Electron micrographs of sections of tissue from various monsters. (A) St. Augustine carcass (from


et al., 1995); scale bar 5 m. (B) Bermuda Blob 1 (from Pierce et al., 1995); scale bar 5 m. (C)

Tasmanian West Coast Monster; scale bar

2 m. (D) Bermuda Blob 2; scale bar 5 m. (E) Nantucket Blob;

scale bar

5 m. (F) Humpback whale blubber (from Pierce et al., 1995); scale bar 2 m. In all cases, the

tissues are composed entirely of collagen

fibers arranged in layers of perpendicularly running fiber bundles. No

cellular elements were found. Bacteria were often present amidst the

fibers in the carcasses and can be seen in

A, C, and D (arrows).



Amino acid composition

The amino acid compositions of the hydrolysates of all

the carcasses were very similar, and they were also

diagnostic of collagen. The amino acids in each blob

hydrolysate consisted of about 30% glycine residues, and

all contained residues of hydroxyproline and hydroxylysine

(Table 1).

DNA sequences

The 587-bp consensus sequence (Genbank accession

number AY582746) obtained from four sequencing runs on

the DNA extracted in Tampa from the Chilean carcass was

100% identical to the mitochondrial

nad2 gene sequence of

P. catadon

(Genbank accession numbers AJ277029,

AF414121) (Fig. 4). Sequencing of the PCR product ob-

Figure 3.

Electron micrographs of tissue sections from the Chilean Blob. (A) Lower magnification. Scale


2 m. (B) The banding pattern on the fibers is evident. As with the other carcasses, no cellular structures

were present, but bacteria (bottom center of A) were often seen. Scale bar

1 m.

Table 1
Comparative amino acid compositions of the blob tissue samples following acid hydrolysis (values are amino acid residues/1000 residues)
Amino acid Chilean St Augustine

a Bermuda 1a Bermuda 2 Tasmanian Nantucket

Asp 28 50 52 42 31 45

Thr 22 28 27 19 19 23

Ser 40 45 47 36 50 35

OH-Pro 90 54 79 113 84 146

Pro 213 169 88 182 92 136

Glu 63 82 83 62 78 63

Gly 314 330 339 298 363 280

Ala 96 106 113 94 133 94

Val 13 18 25 21 22 22

Cys 0 0 0 0 0 0

Met 4 0 0 3 1 3

Ile 8 11 14 10 11 11

Leu 25 28 32 23 30 25

Tyr 3 0 0 0 0 6

Phe 12 14 16 12 15 14

OH-Lys 11 15 13 26 7 20

Lys 21 0.4 10 18 12 25

His 6 4 6 0 0 8

Arg 29 48 55 42 51 45


Data taken from Pierce et al., 1995.



tained from the Chilean Blob in the Auckland extraction had

a 552-bp consensus sequence (Genbank accession number

AY 582747) that was 99% identical to the mitochondrial

control region sequence of

P. catadon (Genbank accession

numbers AJ277029, X72203, M93154). The sequence obtained

in Auckland for the Chilean Blob differed by a single

nucleotide from the three

P. catadon sequences in the database

(Fig. 5). The

first 429-bp consensus sequence obtained

from the Nantucket Blob DNA was 99% identical

with the mitochondrial

nad2 gene sequence of Balaenoptera


(finback whale) (Genbank accession number

X61145); only a single nucleotide was different (data not

shown). The subsequent 1055-bp consensus sequence (Genbank

accession number AY58748) obtained from 2

–4 sequencing

runs on the Nantucket Blob DNA was 99% identical

to the control region of

B. physalus mitochondrial

DNA (Genbank accession number X61145), with only six

nucleotide differences (Fig. 6).


The molecular results reported here provide irrefutable

evidence that the Chilean carcass was the highly decomposed

remains of a sperm whale. The nearly 100% match

between the two gene sequences obtained in our PCR experiments

and the

Physeter catadon gene sequences leaves

no other possibility. The match between the Nantucket Blob

DNA and the control region mitochondrial DNA of



is equally robust, leaving no doubt about

the speci

fic identity of that relic. The six nucleotide differences

observed were consistent with variation within the


whale species and may indicate a different subpopulation

from the previously published sequence (Arnason

et al.,

1991), although even if this is case, both sequences were

from specimens of North Atlantic origin. Unfortunately, our

attempts to extract usable DNA from the other monsters

were not successful, due most likely to some combination of

Figure 4.

Alignment of sperm whale nad2 nucleotide sequence with that of the PCR product from the

Chilean Blob DNA. The sequences are identical.



method of preservation, small sample size, or advanced

stage of decomposition. However, when the microscopic

anatomy and biochemical composition of the Chilean and

Nantucket Blobs are compared with those of the other

remains, similarities are manifest. Thus, there is no doubt

that they are all derived from the same type of organism.

The amino acid composition of the hydrolysates of all the

blobs consists of about 30% glycine residues along with some

hydroxyproline and hydroxylysine residues. Only collagen has

such an amino acid composition (Eastoe, 1955; Kimura

et al.,

1969). While there are some differences among the amino acid

compositions of the blob hydrolysates

—likely resulting from

differences in preservation as well as species

—the results

indicate that all the blobs, including the Chilean and Nantucket,

are large masses of collagen.

The collagenous matrix of the blobs is con

firmed by their


ne structure. They are all composed of bundles of long,


fibers that are similar in their dimensions, not only

to each other, but also to the collagen

fibers in rat tail tendon

(see Pierce

et al., 1995). The bundles of fibers are arranged

parallel to each other in layers, and each layer is sandwiched

between perpendicularly oriented layers of other

fiber bundles.

The fiber layering pattern is similar to the arrangement

of collagen fibers in vertebrate dermis (Moss, 1972), and

identical to the collagen fiber pattern in humpback whale

blubber and in all the other blobs. In addition, the unimodal


ber diameter and the tight packaging of the fibers in the

Chilean Blob and the others is characteristic of mammalian

dermis, including pygmy sperm whale blubber (Craig

et al.,

1987) and our humpback blubber control. Collagen is much

less abundant in octopus and squid mantle, which are composed

primarily of muscle; and the few collagen


present in these molluscan species are not arranged in the

network (Pierce

et al., 1995) so obvious in the Chilean Blob

and the other blob tissue samples. Thus, both the biochemical

and microscopic analyses show clearly that the Chilean

Figure 5.

Alignment of sperm whale mtDNA control region nucleotide sequence with that of the PCR

product from the Chilean Blob DNA. Nucleotide differences are indicated in

boldface and underlined.



Figure 6.

Alignment of fin whale mitochondrial control region nucleotide sequence with that of the PCR

product from the Nantucket Blob DNA. Nucleotide differences are indicated in

boldface and underlined.



Blob has the characteristics of all the other blobs and is the

remains of the collagen matrix of whale blubber

—as are

they all.

The results, taken together, leave no doubt that all of the

blobs examined here

—St. Augustine, Bermuda 1, Bermuda

2, Tasmanian West Coast, Nantucket, and Chilean


the decomposed remains of great whales of varying

species. Once again, to our disappointment, we have not

found any evidence that any of the blobs are the remains of

gigantic octopods, or sea monsters of unknown species.


This study was supported by resources from the Department

of Biology at the University of South Florida. We

thank Dr. Charles Potter of the Smithsonian Museum of

Natural History, Washington, DC, for kindly providing the

sample of humpback whale blubber from a specimen in the


’s collection. We also thank Dr. Shiro Wada of the

National Institute of Fisheries Science, Yokohama, Japan,

for advice on the PCR conditions for the Nantucket Blob.

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1 comment:

  1. On 29th April 2012 I added the link to this (longer) video uploaded from Ross Harris:


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