Calamares gigantes (bilingüe)

Por Liliana García Domínguez - 2 de Enero, 2006, 15:07, Categoría: Lengua española II

Estos dos textos fueron publicados en forma consecutiva.

Los dejo aquí con el propósito de que analices la forma en que la versión inglesa fue traducida al español.


Científicos norteamericanos

Resuelven el misterio de los "calamares gigantes"

Se trataba de restos de grasa de ballena

NUEVA YORK (EFE).- Científicos norteamericanos han descifrado uno de los más grandes misterios marinos: la identidad de los restos que aparecían en algunas playas del mundo y que eran atribuidos a "calamares gigantes". La última vez que se hallaron estos restos fue hace un año, en Chile, lo que revivió la teoría de la existencia de una especie de calamar de descomunales dimensiones.

Este hallazgo fue similar al que se produjo en 1896, en una playa de Florida. En aquel entonces se publicaron fotografías que mostraban las grotescas formas del supuesto calamar, de unas siete toneladas de tamaño, en las que se adivinaba los ojos, la boca y los gelatinosos tentáculos.

Además, un prestigioso biólogo bautizó esta especie como de Octopus giganteus, nombre que ha sido utilizado posteriormente por la comunidad científica en cada una de las ocasiones en las que han aparecido restos.

Sin embargo, hubo quien, en 1972, aseguró que los restos pertenecían al cuerpo en descomposición de algún alienígena venido del espacio.

Ahora, para gran decepción de los amantes de la literatura fantástica o de los misterios del abismo marino, científicos de la Universidad de Florida, Estados Unidos, revelaron que las enormes masas gelatinosas e informes que aparecían en las playas no corresponden a otra cosa que a grasa de ballenas en descomposición.

"Para nuestra decepción, no hemos encontrado ninguna evidencia de que los restos pertenezcan a ningún octópodo gigante, monstruo marino o especie desconocida", escribieron los investigadores en la última edición del Boletín Biológico, poniendo un punto final a décadas de especulaciones y de búsqueda de la rara especie de calamar gigante.

LA NACION | 28/07/2004 | Página 10 | Ciencia/Salud

July 27, 2004

Ogre? Octopus? Blobologists Solve an Ancient Mystery


The world far beneath the waves has always been dark with menace.

One sinister word for it, abyss - from the Greek, a ("without") byssos ("bottom") - perfectly evokes the dark infinities and the primal chaos.

The deep is a blank slate for the expression of human fears and insecurities, an estuary for paranoia. And enough scary creatures abide in the depths to give credence to all that fear.

These beasts often have enormous mouths and needlelike fangs. Their names say everything - dragon fish, devilfish, viper fish, gulper eels, blacktail netdevils, ghost sharks. And then there's the repulsive triplewart seadevils, covered with spines and furrows and warts, their large mouths set in a perpetual frown.

But they all seem tame compared to the mysterious whiteish blobs that for decades arose from the sea and from time to time washed ashore on beaches across the world. What were they? They could be anything.

For more than a century, scientists and laymen who examined the tons of that protoplasm filled in the glaring gaps in knowledge of blob anatomy by imagining eyes, mouths and slimy tentacles long enough to sink cruise ships. Warnings were issued. Perhaps the blobs were remnants of living fossils more fearsome than the dinosaurs.

In 1972, a jittery analyst wondered if one particularly enigmatic blob was the decomposing body of a giant alien from outer space.

Last summer, a gelatinous blob as long as a school bus washed up in Chile. While experts oohed and aahed over what appeared to be fragments of its huge tentacles, the Internet buzzed over news of the monster and the BBC pronounced it perhaps the remains of a lost species of giant octopus. Other experts suggested it was a giant squid or perhaps an entirely new kind of sea creature unknown to science.

But now a team of six highly skilled, if somewhat whimsical biologists centered at the University of South Florida has applied DNA analysis to the blobs and, alas, solved the mystery. The answer is all too mundane: The blobs are old whale blubber.

"To our disappointment," the scientists wrote last month in The Biological Bulletin, "we have not found any evidence that any of the blobs are the remains of gigantic octopods, or sea monsters of unknown species."

Richard Ellis, author of the 1994 book "Monsters of the Sea," an exploration of some of the world's most bizarre fauna, called the DNA finding convincing and devastating.

This does in fact appear to be the end of the great blob story, a tale that began in late 1896 near St. Augustine, Fla., when two boys found a gigantic lump of white, rubbery flesh, 21 feet long, 7 feet wide and weighing perhaps 7 tons. Local doctors, naturalists, photographers and journalists thought they could discern the remains of a head, eyes, mouth, tentacles and a tail.

Dr. Addison Verrill of Yale, the nation's foremost expert on cephalopods, pronounced it a remnant of an unknown species of massive octopus, and gave it a scientific name - Octopus giganteus. "When living," he wrote, "it must have had enormous arms, each one a hundred feet or more in length, each as thick as the mast of a large vessel, and armed with hundreds of saucer-shaped suckers, the largest of which would have been at least a foot in diameter."

By contrast, the largest reliably known octopus measured about 20 feet from arm tip to arm tip.

Chunks of the monster were hacked off and shipped to the museum that later became the Smithsonian. To be honest, a few experts wondered even then if the oddity was just so much decaying whale flesh. The samples languished for decades.

In 1971, there was a sudden surge of interest in the mystery, with three articles in Natural History magazine discussing what one called the "Stupefying Colossus of the Deep." In another, Dr. Joseph F. Gennaro Jr., a cell biologist at the University of Florida, told of how he got a sample of the blob from the Smithsonian and examined it closely under microscopes and polarized light. In his article, "The Creature Revealed," he declared the specimen part of a true ogre.

"The sample was not whale blubber," he wrote. "The evidence appears unmistakable that the St. Augustine sea monster was in fact an octopus, but the implications are fantastic."

Even as the Florida blob became a symbol of the unthinkable, new examples were washing ashore to baffle and enthrall investigators. Fleshy globs appeared in Tasmania, New Zealand, Bermuda, Nantucket and Newfoundland.

In the early 1990's, Dr. Sidney K. Pierce, then at the University of Maryland and later at the University of South Florida, became fascinated with the topic and managed to get samples of both the Bermuda and St. Augustine blobs.

He and three colleagues used light and electron microscopes, as well as biochemical methods, to examine the tissues. They then compared the blob samples to octopus and whale parts. Their verdict was unanimous.

The blobs were made of almost pure collagen, the fibrous protein found in connective tissue, bone and cartilage. The scientists concluded that it had come not from giant squids or octopuses or any other kind of mysterious invertebrates. Rather, the Bermuda blob arose from a fish or a shark, and the St. Augustine one from a whale.

The Florida sensation, they said, had probably consisted of a huge whale's entire skin.

"With profound sadness at ruining a favorite legend," they wrote in the April 1995 issue of The Biological Bulletin, published by the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass., a distinguished research institution, "we find no basis for the existence of Octopus giganteus."

Mr. Ellis, the author, had gotten a manuscript of the paper and criticized it in "Monsters of the Sea," saying the findings raised more questions than they answered. How, for instance, did known animals use such vast quantities of collagen? "We must conclude," he wrote, "that the mysteries remain unsolved."

Over the years, Dr. Pierce pressed ahead, expanding his collection of gelatinous samples to a total of five, including one from the Chilean blob that came ashore last summer.

Joining with experts from Indiana University, the University of Auckland in New Zealand and the University of Maryland, he zoomed in on the specimens with a new battery of microscopes, chemical tests and, for the first time, DNA technology that, even more than fingerprints, can cast powerful light on issues of identity.

The results, Dr. Pierce and his five colleagues wrote last month, unequivocally demonstrate that the Chilean blob and all the rest of the mysterious finds are simply deteriorating whale blubber, in particular, the collagen matrix that holds it together.

"It is clear," they said, "that all of these blobs of popular and cryptozoological interest are, in fact, the decomposed remains of large cetaceans."

In an interview, Mr. Ellis, who lives in New York City, conceded defeat. "I'm crushed," he said. "It's a blow for people who continue to want there to be great and scary monsters out there."

Then he cheered up. "It may be the requiem for blobdom," he said. "But there are other possibilities" in the sunless depths of the sea.

"We have yet to see a living adult representative of our friend the giant squid," he said of the shy creature whose very long tentacles are thought to writhe like a nest of snakes. "So there's hope for monster watchers."

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