A local fisherman reports a mysterious rotting carcass that washed up on an Indonesian beach to the Indonesian Navy last week (10/05). Fisherman Asrul Tuanakota, who discovered the 50ft (15m) creature on the northern shore of Seram Island last Tuesday, had guessed it could be a giant squid because it appeared to be covered in tentacles.
Alexander Werth, a whale biologist at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, and George Leonard, chief scientist at the Ocean Conservancy, said on Monday that it was almost certainly a baleen whale.The mysterious rotting carcass that washed up on an Indonesian beach last week was once a whale, experts have said. Seram Island is also close to a migration route used by baleen whales, UPI reports.
Researcher say warmer ocean waters could be making such events more common, as bacteria which feed on the corpse can spread more quickly. Baleen whales (systematic name Mysticeti), known earlier as whalebone whales, form a parvorder of the infraorder Cetacea (whales, dolphins and porpoises). They are a widely distributed and diverse parvorder of carnivorous marine mammals. Residents have asked authorities to help remove the decaying remains.
Earlier this year, a mysterious hairy sea monster was found on a beach in the Philippines. It baffled locals who speculated the two-tonne creature was a kind of rare undiscovered dugong.
It was later identified as a whale – but had developed a strange appearance due to decomposition.The ‘tentacles’ are probably made from fatty blubber which has been torn into strips by scavenging predators, most likely sharks.
Whale carcasses typically sink into the depths of the ocean after death, though under the right circumstances the body can fill with gases as it decomposes, allowing it to float. In such cases the body can then drift ashore, as seems to have happened in Indonesia. The pair said bones protruding from the mass of rotting flesh and what appear to be feeding plates from the animal’s mouth used to filter food led to their conclusions. Although baleen whales are not typically found in the region’s water, most species prefer the colder waters around the Northern and Southern poles.
In the darkness, the eye-witness initially mistook the giant sea creature for a stranded boat. The unusual finding attracted scores of residents to Hulung Beach at Iha village in West Seram district. The reason for the giant squid washing up on the shore is still unknown, but it is believed to have been dead for at least three days before it was found. Residents have meanwhile asked the government to help them remove the remains of the squid as it already started to decay.