Indonesia “Sea Monster” Identified as Decomposing Baleen Whale
Monster of the deep? Or just a really funky dead whale?
A monstrously huge creature that washed ashore on a remote Indonesian beach, oozing a mysterious red fluid, is probably a baleen whale in an advanced state of decomposition, experts said.
The nearly 50-foot-long marine creature was lying on Hulung Beach on Seram Island, Indonesia, and was first discovered by 37-year-old local resident Asrul Tuanakota, who initially mistook the creature for a boat, the Jakarta Globe reported.
Despite the blob’s bizarre appearance, it’s clearly a baleen whale, said Alexander Werth, a whale biologist at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia.
“There is lots of stuff in the ocean that we don’t know about — but there’s nothing that big” that remains unknown, Werth said.
Two dead giveaways revealed that the creature was a whale, Werth said: the grooves, or “throat pleats,” and the upper jaw where the two racks of baleen plates, used for filtering out food in the whale’s mouth, would have been.
While scientists can say for sure that the whale belongs to the genus Balaenoptera, it’s not clear exactly which species it is: It could be either a blue whale or a Bryde’s whale, Werth said. However, Bryde’s whales are not usually that big. The creature could also be a fin whale, said Moe Flannery, the collections manager in ornithology and mammalogy at the California Academy of Sciences. (The creature is definitely not a humpback, she added.)
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SOURCE: LiveScience.com, Tia Ghose