Last week, the rotting corpse of a 50-foot-long mysterious sea creature washed up on an Indonesian beach, to the disbelief of many. It has the appearance of something out of a horror movie, or something alien, hence the shocked reactions on the web.
The beast caused a stir within the Indonesian community, especially with locals taking images and sharing them on the Internet in hopes someone would identify the weird looking creature. It took over a week for someone to share his or her knowledge of the type of sea creature that had baffled the world.
It’s called the baleen whale
According to chief scientist at the Ocean Conservancy, George Leonard, the washed up sea creature corpse is no other than the baleen whale. He came to this conclusion based partly on the skeleton.
“Trying to identify huge ocean creatures half a [world] away from a grainy video is tough to do; but once people start sharing specific information that begins to narrow in on defining characteristics of the creature, the identity begins to come into focus,” Leonard said.
In addition, the creature has a filter-feeder mouth system; something baleen whales are known to have.
Interestingly enough, Leonard had first thought the creature was a giant squid, a conclusion he came to from looking at photos more than anything else.
The big question is – what caused the whale to look so alien?
Apparently, the whale gained its bloated form due to decomposition gasses. Furthermore, some of the toxic gasses seeped out of the corpse, so imagine what this thing smelled like close-up.
Now, the baleen whale washed up on the island of Seram, which is close to the creature’s migration area. However, what caused the whale to wash up on shore instead of falling to the depth of the ocean? That’s something researchers are trying to find out, and they have so far come up empty handed.
Here’s the thing, when a whale dies, it falls to the ocean floor, and from there, the corpse can feed others for years. For this particular baleen whale to wash up on land instead of going where it belongs, some have theorized that it either suffered from bacterial infection, or it died in warm waters.
Whenever a whale dies in warm water, it allows the body to accumulate gasses, which in turn expands the body to give it a strange look. Additionally, the whale could have been clipped by a ship, causing an unnatural death.
Whatever the case, we may never know what caused this particular baleen whale to meet its end. What’s for certain, however, is that more baleen whales will pop up on land in the future.