A giant sea creature that washed ashore in Indonesia had many baffled about the mysterious animal. What other giant sea creatures have surprised people when they washed up ashore?
A local in the island of Seram in Indonesia was surprised to find a massive sea creature on the shores of his island home. As news spread of his colossal find, reports of the creature being an especially massive giant squid quickly circulated the globe.
However, what was first thought to be a giant squid is now believed to be a species of whale that was perhaps dead for a few days before it was discovered. The grooves on its skin as well as marks of clearly defined bones immediately ruled out the initial belief that the giant is a massive invertebrate.
Giant Sea Creatures Washed Up Ashore
This is not the first time that people were surprised to find such strange creatures on shores. In the first three months of 2017 alone, the Philippines witnessed three strange creatures that washed ashore just weeks apart.
In the middle of Feb, locals in Agusan Del Norte in the Philippines found a deceased giant oarfish on their shores. The typically deep-dwelling species remains a mystery to the scientific community as they are rarely seen alive.
The sighting, however, immediately fuelled the Japanese belief that perhaps the elusive oarfish signifies a seismic event, especially since six sightings of the supposedly mysterious creature happened before and after a 6.8 magnitude earthquake in Surigao City, Philippines.
Barely weeks after the oarfish sighting, a mysterious blob that seemed to have long, white hair washed up on the shores of Dinagat Islands. As it turns out, the hairy blob that baffled many is actually a carcass in its later stages of decomposition. Due to the decomposed state of its remains, it cannot be easily identified as to what creature it was in its life.
Just days after, a giant sunfish was found on the shores of Marinduque. The 5.41-foot long creature was still alive when locals found it, but died before they could release it back into the sea.
About the same time as the first sighting in the Philippines, more than 400 Pilot whales swam ashore at Farewell Spit in Australia. Although over a hundred of those whales were able to get back into the water once the high tide set in, 70 percent of the whales died before the 500 volunteers could lead them back to the water.
Going back further, a giant squid was found on the shores of La Arena beach in the Spanish community of Cantabria in October 2013. At the time of its discovery, the giant squid was measured at 30 feet and weighed a staggering 400 pounds. It can currently be found at the Maritime Museum of Cantabria.
Why Do Sea Creatures Get Washed Up Ashore?
It isn't always very clear why sea creatures end up being washed up ashore. In the case of the sunfish in Marinduque, scientists found that it was actually suffering from a parasitic worm infection before it died. The creature's ailment is seen as a likely cause as to why it got so close to the shore, and perhaps wound up in fishermen's nets.
In other cases, some see currents and underwater seismic activities as the likely reasons for the creatures to wash ashore. In the case of the oarfish, being a deep-dwelling creature, it was likely thrashed around by the currents and waves of the shallow waters.
The source of whale beaching is a little more difficult to determine. Depending on the case, whale beaching can be due to a number of causes. To get to the bottom of things, thorough research of many factors including the whale's behavior even before it landed on shore must be considered.
Some groups believe that underwater sonars mess up some creatures' pulses, leaving them confused and running for safety in shallower waters. Also, as in the case of the mass leopard shark die-off in San Francisco, the unfortunate events were seen as the likely result of poisoned waters that are contaminated by garbage, chemical waste, and debris.