Tuesday, 19 February 2013


Mystery slime has appeared at Somerset reserve
A weird "slime" is baffling boffins at a nature reserve.
The jelly-like substance has been found at the RSPB Ham Wall nature reserve in Somerset, but as yet the mystery slime has not been identified.
Steve Hughes, the RSPB site manager at Ham Wall, said: "This past week we've been finding piles of this translucent jelly dotted around the reserve. Always on grass banks away from the water's edge. They are usually about 10cm (4in) in diameter. We've asked experts what it might be, but as yet no one is really sure. Whatever it is, it's very weird."
Scientific speculation as to the nature of the jelly is varied.
One of the more favoured explanations is that it is a form of cyanobacteria called Nostoc.
Some, however, suggest that it is the remains of the regurgitated innards of amphibians such as frogs and toads and of their spawn.
Alternatively, it may be related to the intriguingly named crystal brain fungus.
Tony Whitehead, RSPB spokesman for the South West, said: "Although we don't know what it actually is, similar substances have been described previously. In records dating back to the 14th century it's known variously as star jelly, astral jelly or astromyxin. In folklore it is said to be deposited in the wake of meteor showers."
Mr Whitehead added: "It's great that in this day and age there are still mysteries out there. We've read a few articles now and much speculation. One suggested it was neither animal nor plant, and another that it didn't contain DNA, although it does give the appearance of something 'living'. Our reserve team will be looking out for the slime over the next few days, but if anyone can offer any explanations we'd be glad to hear."
Members of the public are being warned not to touch the mystery substance and to inform nature reserve staff.

Further research on the internet reveals another case of slime in August 2012.
Here is a news report from `The Sun` newspaper.

Very similar to the English slime
BAFFLED hillwalkers fear ALIENS have landed — after mysterious slime started appearing in the countryside.
They have discovered a strange jelly... and some experts believe it’s landed from space.
The first report of an unidentified fluid object was in the Pentland Hills near Edinburgh, triggering a flood of similar sightings.
Now National Geographic Channel documentary Wild X Files attempts to solve the mystery after they had the weird samples analysed by scientists.
Paranormal investigator Steve Mera is convinced he was dealing with aliens after a sample he collected DISAPPEARED.
He said: “I was dumbfounded. I had no idea what it was.
“I thought ‘let’s get some samples.’ The next morning, I saw the sample jar and I did a double take as there was nothing in it. It was there the night before, now it was empty.” Steve was sure he was dealing with star jelly left over from a meteor shower. He said: “It comes from space.”

Steve Mera, left, and Andy Turner try to identify the mystery slime
Euan McIlwraith, presenter of BBC show Out Of Doors, added: “A call came into the studio from somebody who had been hillwalking and found this substance. We knew we were on to something strange.
“There are lot of people out there who believe it comes from the stars.”
Deer hunter Andy Malcolm thought the goo was stag sperm — but this was ruled out when perplexed fungal ecologist Dr Andy Turner found the samples contained NO animal DNA.

He said: “We could see almost no cellular structure within it so it was difficult to determine what it was.”
Algal researcher Dr Hans Sluiman found it “unlikely” that it was from a plant while Prof Malcolm Kennedy, from Glasgow University, believes the jelly is from frogs used for spawn.
He explained: “When it’s made it has DNA excluded from it. When frogs come under attack, fear causes them to expel the jelly normally used to protect eggs.”
The National Geographic Channel has declared the case closed but Euan said: “There’s still that bit at the back of my head that isn’t exactly convinced.”

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