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Maybe a Whale Eyeball or Funky Christmas Tree Ornament

Whale eyeball or what? Presents 
Historic Portsmouth #437

What is as big as a baseball, as light as a feather, and looks like a giant eyeball? According to a card at the Portsmouth Athenaeum this object is a whale’s eyeball. No one really knows, but experts doubt the whale theory. It is one of the many treasures that sea captains brought home during Portsmouth’s Age of Sail. It used to reside on the top floor of the ancient membership library founded in 1817. (Continued below)



The city’s original museum of curiosities is gone, but a number of weird items remain in the collection. When I forwarded these photos to my panel of experts, the response came back – inconclusive. “Fish diagnosis is my best bet,” one marine biologist wrote. Others asked what the object smelled like, how it felt, and what it was preserved in. Probably not a squid eye, one wrote. Perhaps a whale testicle, someone ventured. The rest had no clue. So we’re throwing this open to the court of public opinion. If you’re an expert on whatever this thing is – what is it?  (Courtesy of Portsmouth Athenaeum)

What is this maritime object?

Probably not a whale's eyeball



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Tuesday, February 20, 2018 
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