An enormous dead animal washed up on the shores near Dusun Hulung’s Luhu Village, located in Maluku’s West Seram District, and was discovered by locals on Tuesday evening. Soon a flurry of photos and videos from the gruesome find (like something out of a movie directed co-directed by David Cronenberg and H.P. Lovecraft) started to flood social media with people asking, “Woah, what the f*ck is that!?!?”
The villagers apparently thought the huge 22-meter long mass might be a stranded boat when they first saw it from a distance, but as soon as they got closer they started speculating on whether it was the body of a giant squid or a whale or, perhaps, something else…. leading to numerous headlines from international publications like “Mystery monster washes up on Seram Island in Indonesia” and “A gross, mysterious sea monster has washed up on an island in Indonesia”.
Turns out, it was a whale.
At least, that’s the opinion of Indonesian officials who were called in to identify the creature, which is believed to have died about 3 days before it was discovered.
Nasrun, an official from the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (KKP) said that, based on the evidence, the creature was a type of whale.
“I identified from the photo it’s a whale, specifically a type of sperm whale,” Nasrun said on Wednesday as quoted by Detik.
Nasrun said that the animal could be identified as a sperm whale due to its size and the underlying bone structure evident in the pictures. He said some of the features that led to people suspecting it was a squid or even some unidentified monster, including apparent tentacles and sharp teeth, could be explained by the animal’s decay. Separated from tissue, the underlying jaw of the sperm whale looks what contains sharp teeth, while decomposition would cause the creature’s intestines to be pushed out of its mouth, making them look like tentacles.
Still, the identification is not 100% certain based on an initial field study by KKP officials, so they plan on sending tissue samples to a laboratory to get conclusive evidence.