An extremely creepy story making the rounds over the past weekend revolves around the discovery of a humongous, unidentified creature discovered on Hulung Beach, on the Indonesian island of Seram.
According to the Jakarta Globe, the monstrous grayish-brown organism — which seems to be oozing blood-red slime — was first found by islander Asrul Tuanakota, who initially mistook the object for an old, rotting boat… until he got a closer look.
When video of Tuanakota’s discovery was uploaded to YouTube last week, social media instantly exploded with speculation about the true nature of the beast — echoing countless wild theories about past marine finds [like this one, and this one, and this… well, you get the idea.]
But just like those past “sea monster” headlines, scientists had an opportunity to examine the visual evidence… and once again, a more rational explanation is now on the table.
LiveScience cites multiple experts who studied the video and photos — including Alexander Werth, whale biologist at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, who has determined the creature to be a beached whale in an advanced state of decomposition. (The Globe had originally claimed it to be a giant squid, then updated their info.)
Werth pointed out specific physical features unique to whales, including grooves known as “throat pleats,” and the spots on the upper jaw where baleen plates (the natural sieve through which whales catch plankton and other small sea animals) would normally have been attached. He also noted that the carcass appeared to be bloated from gases produced by decomposition… and it probably smells really, really bad.
“That’s yet another reason you don’t want to be close to these things,” Werth explained, “not because it’s a scary, spooky creature, but it would be releasing some pretty foul, noxious gases.”