1971 summary of 1896 FL Giant Octopus Report


Staff member
Moderator (Staff)
Sep 4, 2006
Cape Coral, FL
This article is a Natural History "Pick from the Past" reprint about an unknown giant animal washed ashore in 1896 on a beach in St Augustine, FL. The author did some investigative research (including examining samples of the specimen) and concludes that it could have been a giant octopus:

Natural History Magazine

Another article (by google chance meeting) I came across about the same event but with additional studies and comparisons (and conclusions):

Thanks D, that's fun reading. I think that the Chile Globster saga of a few years ago greatly strengthened the case for the St. Augustine mass being whale remains. There are legends about enormous octopus in the Carribean however, so for some hope will spring eternal.

It seems like it would be a good idea to look for some genetic markers in the sample in the Smithsonian, which is presumably still there... anyone want to give Dr. Roper a call, since he can presumably walk down the hall, slice off a bit, and take it to a genetics lab...
Clem;108840 said:
It appears that genetic testing has already been done, back in 2004, and the DNA said whale. The team tested preserved samples from a number of famous globsters, with identical results.

Fascinating article. It does look pretty definitive though, and in away that's too bad.
Great wrap-up! I have seen Steve O'Shea bemoan something to the effect of, "another whale mellon" and suspected that this story might have been part of the reference but did not see the final, final conclusion.
It's interesting how the 1971 article spun the tissue fiber evidence as very conclusive-- I wonder if it was the science writer or the scientist who spun that as extremely conclusive.
I believe it was Dr. Eugenie Clark who did the final conclusive study on the samples. I also recall her being disappointed, but then, maybe I'm confusing my scientists here. Really ought to go look that up...
Clark's name appeared on a study of the St. Augustine specimen published in '95. They concluded that it wasn't cephalopod tissue, and had all the hallmarks of degraded blubber and skin. It was the '95 study that Richard Ellis took strong exception to in his "Monsters of the Sea" book.

Wiki has a St. Augustine monster page that's pretty good, and if you know biochemistry there are some tables to look at.

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