A 50-foot carcass is turning the water a deep, eerie shade of red. The images that have been posted online of an enormous carcass that was washed up on the shore of an Indonesian island are fascinating people across the world.
The massive and rotting body has been called a giant squid by Jakarta Globe. Reports that a resident of Seram Island discovered the 49-foot dead creature surfaced on Tuesday. However, three marine experts told HuffPost that the animal actually appears to be some sort of baleen whale.
Regina Asmutis-Silvia, who is the executive director of Whale and Dolphin Conservation said that giant squid are invertebrates and there are clearly bones visible (jaw, skull, vertebrae) so she is very comfortable saying it’s some type of rorqual whale.
Silvia added that certain species of baleen whales (rorquals) have ‘ventral grooves’ which run from their chin to their belly button. It is stretchy tissue that expands when they feed. Having identified the grooves in images and also included photos in which she pointed to what she believes are the whale’s jaw bone and skull.
The CEO and senior scientist Edith Widder who is the Ocean Research & Conservation Association said it was difficult to determine from images alone but that some photos show what looks like baleen plates. Widder’s guess is that it’s a baleen whale.
The chief scientist at Ocean Conservancy, George Leonard, said he initially thought the animal might be a giant squid, but agreed it was likely a whale after seeing images highlighting the bones and baleen.
He also said that trying to identify huge ocean creatures from a grainy video is tough to do; but once people start sharing specific information that begins to narrow in on defining characteristics of the creature, the identity begins to come into focus.
The footage from the scene shows the decaying body turning the water around it a deep red. The locals have asked the government to come and help them remove the body.