While we may have explored the majority of the land on earth, we have barely scratched the surface when it comes to the oceans. In fact, we have explored less than 5% of the planet’s oceans. This is even crazier when you realise that 71% of the earth is water. Knowing this, it’s no surprise that new species are discovered whenever we venture deep into the oceans. Recently a video of a ‘sea monster’ that was washed up on the shores of an island in Indonesia went viral, shocking scientists around the world. Thanks to some research, we are much closer to discovering what the monster really is.
Found on the coastline of Hulung beach, a local man named Asrul Tuanakota discovered the huge monster. Asrul couldn’t believe his eyes when as he got closer, originally thinking that it was a grounded ship.
Only upon walking up to the giant thing did he realise that it definitely wasn’t a ship, in fact, it was a giant sea creature that was decomposing. Shortly after it’s discovery, videos were being uploaded online, causing many theories of what it could be to arise.
It didn’t take long for the video to go viral, quickly catching the attention of scientists and reporters. Some people were in disbelief, others thought it must be a giant squid. The speculation increased as the view count rose.
The giant carcass was laid on the beach for three days, with scientists and marine biologists constantly inspecting the creature. Despite this, they still had no idea what the creature was or where it came from.
Determined to discover the mystery, scientists took samples of the creature as an attempt to identify it. However, due to the length of time it had been decomposing, the results weren’t able to determine anything.
After going through lots of theories and research, the head of the Ocean Research and Conservation Association decided that the washed up sea creature was most likely a severely decomposed whale.
The chief executive couldn’t decide when the whale had died though. Some researchers decided the carcass must have been a few weeks old, while others claim it probably died months before it was found ashore.
The idea that it had died months before seemed to explain how unrecognisable the whale was. The long period of decomposition would have caused many of its recognisable features to change and disappear, which would cause the confusion. The gases and stench of the corpse must have been awful to researchers inspecting the body.
An experienced marine biologist and oceanographer named Edith Widder had decided that, despite popular opinion and wild speculation, the creature wasn’t an enormous squid or mythical sea creature like the Kraken. Instead, she claimed it was probably a baleen whale.
Weighing in on the situation was George Leonard of the Ocean Observatory. The chief scientist explained:
Trying to identify huge ocean creatures half a [world] away from a grainy video is tough to do. It certainly doesn’t help that people have been coming up with all sorts of wild theories as to what it might be.
He went on to say:
Once people start sharing specific information that begins to narrow in on defining characteristics of the creature, the identity begins to come into focus.
Many giant whales die in the ocean, though they are usually snapped up by predators before they can wash up on an island. This is clearly just a whale that wasn’t eaten and happened to float to a nearby shore. Unfortunately, this isn’t the magical sea creature that we were all expecting it to be, though we can still hope that one will turn up eventually.
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