May 14 (UPI) — The mystery sea creature that washed ashore last week on a remote Indonesian beach and captivated the Internet is just a decomposing whale, experts said.
Asrul Tuanakota, a 37-year-old fisherman, discovered the 49-foot-long creature washed up Tuesday night on Seram Island, mistaking the carcass for a stranded boat. Then he thought it was the rotting corpse of a giant squid because the remains looked like tentacles.
But t’s clearly a baleen whale in an advanced state of decomposition, said Alexander Werth, a whale biologist at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia.
George Leonard, the chief scientist at the Ocean Conservancy, said he agreed based on protruding skeleton parts and what appear to be baleen plates used to filter out food.
Seram Island also is near the migration routes for baleen whales.
Decomposition gases, which seeped out, bloated the whale and explains how it floated ashore.
Normally, whales sink to the bottom of the ocean when they die. But according to LiveScience, the animal could inflate like a balloon if it had internal injuries that did not allow gases to escape.
Locals have asked the Indonesian government to help them remove the body.