September 14, 2008

Scientists Dismiss Whale Poop Reports

A scientist says reports of so-called whale poop along Chesapeake Bay in Virginia were actually potato sponges washing ashore.

Ken Moore, a professor at Virginia Institute of Marine Science, said the specimens of the little-known aquatic species may have been dislodged from their watery homes when Tropical Storm Hanna swept through the area Sept. 6, the Newport News (Va.) Daily Press said Saturday.

The water-filtering species, which look like emphysematic lungs, are typically are attached to the coarse sandy bottoms of bodies of water such as Chesapeake Bay where they absorb any passing organic materials.

Hundreds of the soccer ball-sized creatures have been found along on area beaches, leaving residents confused as to what they have found.

The professor told the Daily Press that while the potato sponges are not poisonous, area residents should avoid touching the m as a precaution.