The ocean covers 70 percent of the earth’s surface, yet 95 percent of it still remains unexplored, with much of the marine species that live in the deep blue sea yet to be known to humans.
Some years back in May 2017, local residents were shocked by this nearly 50-foot-long (15-meter-long) carcass, found lying in shallow waters on the shores of an island in Indonesia. The cause of its death still remains a mystery. So, what on earth was this massive creature exactly?
— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 15, 2017
The mysterious, gigantic sea creature was washed up on the shores of Hulung Beach on Seram Island, Indonesia, in the evening of May 9, 2017. It was discovered by a local resident identified as Asrul Tuanakota.
As it was getting dark, Tuanakota initially thought the nearly 50-foot-long rotting carcass was a stranded boat, the Jakarta Globe reported.
The creature, roughly the size of a cargo container, stunned the local residents. The news of this unusual discovery attracted scores of residents to Hulung Beach at Iha Village to catch a glimpse of the bizarre sea monster.
15-metre sea monster washes up in Indonesia https://t.co/y9vlDH5rsQ
— The Independent (@Independent) May 12, 2017
Residents later notified local authorities to help remove the decaying carcass.
Footage from the scene shows how the enormous corpse had turned the water around it into a deep red hue.
It’s believed the creature, washed up for reasons unknown, had been dead for at least three days before it was found.
The Jakarta Globe reported the dead unknown animal as a giant squid, but judging from the pictures showing the creature’s bones and baleen, experts think it’s more likely a species of baleen whale.
“Giant squid are invertebrates and there are clearly bones visible (jaw, skull, vertebrate) so I am very comfortable saying it’s some type of rorqual whale,” Regina Asmutis-Silvia, executive director of Whale and Dolphin Conservation, told HuffPost.
Asmutis-Silvia believes the creature is a kind of baleen whale, which have ventral grooves (or throat pleats), “which run from their chin to their belly button.” “It is stretchy tissue that expands when they feed,” she explained.
Edith Widder, CEO and senior scientist at the Ocean Research & Conservation Association, George Leonard, chief scientist at Ocean Conservancy, and Alexander Werth, a whale biologist at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, have the exact same opinion as Asmutis-Silvia.
“My guess is it’s a baleen whale,” Widder said, adding that some photos show what looks like the creature’s baleen plates.
Baleen plates, fringed brushes made out of keratin growing in rows from the upper jaw, are what the toothless baleen whales rely on to collect and filter food from the sea. Whales that have baleen plates are known as baleen whales, the DKfindout! website states.
— FOX 5 San Diego (@fox5sandiego) May 12, 2017
“There is lots of stuff in the ocean that we don’t know about—but there’s nothing that big” that remains unknown, Werth told Live Science.
Werth said the creature could be either a blue whale or a Bryde’s whale—species of the baleen whale family.
The vast ocean is full of secrets. We know little about the innumerable marine species living beneath the ocean’s darkest depths, that’s why we continue to be amazed by the discovery of fascinating sea creatures.
The carcass is so decomposed it's unclear exactly what it is.