A mysterious, hairy-looking "blob" washed up on a beach. (And no, that's not the start of a bad joke.)
Pictures recently taken in the Philippines show an animal-like object roughly 20 feet long, and weighing over 4,000 pounds. At first glance, the strange object looks to be covered in long, shaggy white hair.
The recent photos surfaced from the Dinagat Islands, where locals were rendered awestruck by the large remains. A flurry of viral images prompted some to question if it was a new species. But this isn't the first time a mysterious, seemingly hairy object has surfaced from the ocean. A similar blob that weighed in at 13 tons was found in Chile in 2003. At the time that was believed to be the remains of a dead, giant octopus.
However, this recent "blob" or "globster" as it is called be some may not be as mysterious as previously thought.
"It's definitely a very decomposed sea creature in the later stages of decomposition," Lucy Babey, head of science and conservation for the animal charity Orca, told the BBC.
The remains were initially believed to belong to a manatee or a dugong, but a team from the municipal office of Cagdianao says the remains came from a whale that had been dead for two weeks. The municipal office hypothesized that the remains belonged to a sperm whale, but because the carcass is so decomposed, a DNA scan or examination of the skull would be needed to confirm. The "hair" seen on the creature is likely decomposed muscle fibers.
The majority of marine mammals that die at sea do not wash up on beaches. But after a recent 6.7 magnitude earthquake hit the island nation on February 10, a number of these hairy carcasses have washed ashore, likely surfaced by storm surges caused by the shaking.
This isn't the first mysterious sea creature to wash ashore on Philippine beaches. Earlier this month, an oarfish, a creature usually found in mesopelagic zones 200 to 1,000 feet below sea level, became the subject of fascination after surfacing in Carmen, Agusan Del Norte. Local myths say the oarfish is an omen of coming earthquakes; however, scientists have not found a link to this belief.