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Saturday, 25 June 2011

A Whale Of A Tale About A Chinese Sea Monster Carcass

This item hit the news serices on the 23 of June:

Fishy business: Mysterious 55ft ‘sea monster’ washes up in China

By Ted Thornhill

Last updated at 8:11 AM on 23rd June 2011

You’d need a big portion of chips to go with this.

A gigantic sea beast measuring 55ft has been discovered washed up on a beach in Guangdong, China.
It was found wrapped in fishing lines, leading locals to suspect that fishermen cut it free from their nets because it was too big to haul in.
Sea-ing is believing: Locals gather around the monstrous corpse
The creature is too badly decomposed to be positively identified by sight, but it’s thought to have weighed around 4.5tons.

Despite the carcass’s extraordinary smell, it’s proved to be quite a big draw for people living in the area.

Three marine biology experts — Scott Baker of Oregon State University Marine Mammal Institute, Bill Perrin, from the National Marine Fisheries Service, and Bob Brownell, from the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration's Fisheries Service – were all shown photographs of the creature by Live Science.
Coasting along: This map shows the area where the monster was washed up
Their conclusion is that, based on its throat grooves, the creature is a whale.

Mr Baker told the journal: ‘Judging from the reported size of 55 ft, it’s maybe a fin whale. From the photo, however, it does not really look to be 55 ft, and so might be a smaller balaenopterid, like one of the “Bryde's” whales.’

He added: ‘We all hope somebody collects the bones and a tissue sample for genetic analysis as recovery of whale carcasses is rare along the coast of China.'

Theory: Some marine experts believe the carcass could be that of a fin whale, pictured here

[Nobody seems to have mentioned that a live fin whale would weigh at least ten times the listed 4.5 tons: evidently this corpse is mostly an empty bag of blubber, as so many others are-DD]

Read more:

1 comment:

  1. Markus Hemmler also sends in this information independantly, together with his permission to post it:

    After various other newspapers around the world (at least in GB and Germany)
    have published this (old) story I've searched for more information re this
    case. I found two "new" pictures and therefore I've wrote this short

    Summertime. In April a ,55 Feet Long Unknown Fish Species' has washed ashore
    near Guangdong, China, what was published for the first time in May 2011 for
    example from Cryptomundo. Nearly two months have left since but now some
    newspapers around the world publish the story (again) and so the carcass is
    object of various discussions what it could be.

    For those confident with whales and whale carcasses it's obviously another
    decomposed whale (and therefore a mammal not a fish as said in many articles
    btw). The picture shown widely within english sources is from lower quality
    nevertheless there are two better ones available on chinese websites (check
    the sources below). On the left side of both pictures lies the tail and
    rests of the tail fluke so on the right side of both pictures we have the
    head or rostrum. This indicates that the bone sticking out of the sand near
    the rostrum is nothing more than one of the curved lower jaws of a rorqual
    whale. From the tip of the decomposed rostrum to the estimated middle of the
    body we can identify ventral grooves what is absolutly typical for rorquals.

    So all characteristics and also opinions of scientists like for example
    Scott Baker of Oregon State University Marine Mammal Institute agree to the
    same identity: it's a rorqual. The only question remaining is what species
    of rorqual. If we accept the length of 55 feet it has to be one of the
    greater whales like Fin-, Sei- or Blue whale. But according to most chinese
    sources the length of the carcass was only 13 meters (42 feet) - what is
    also the opinion of Mr. Baker and myself - so it could also be a Bryde's
    whale (with a maximum length around 15,5 meters for this species).
    Identifying the exact species is difficult from these pictures as they show
    no distinct feature for identification like for example the carcass of
    Ataka, Egypt, of 1950 has done (three ridges on the dorsal side of the
    rostrum identifiying it clearly as Bryde's whale; for a detailed
    identification see

    The whale was buried for now but as whale strandings in China are rare the
    chinese officials will examine the carcass later.

    Sources: (including
    picture 1) (including picture 2) (including picture 3)


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