People have been spinning tales of amazing and terrifying sea monsters since ancient times. As outlandish as these stories may seem—creatures like the Leviathan and the Loch Ness Monster (probably) don’t exist—the idea behind them is likely inspired by very real creatures.
The ocean is a vast and mysterious place, so it’s still perfectly understandable for people to shout “sea monster!” the moment anything weird washes up on shore. But sometimes what appears to be a sea monster can turn out to be even weirder.
On the beaches of Mexico it’s common to see all sorts of aquatic life. But what scientists found back in December was like nothing anyone had ever seen before…
When this strange creature’s corpse washed ashore on Mexico’s Laguna Ojo de Liebre, people were baffled. You would be, too, if you saw something like this. It didn’t look like anything from this Earth, that’s for sure!
Naturally, there was talk about sea monsters and mythical creatures and the sort. But as strange as this animal looked, it didn’t come from a faraway land. Can you guess what it was?
The unusual creature was roughly seven feet long. Its body had fins on either side, and it had not one, but two tails. Strangely, it also appeared to have four eyes. It was dark gray, too. Whatever animal it was, one thing was certain: this had never been seen before. So, just what the heck was it?
The “creature” was actually… a pair of extremely rare conjoined gray whale twins! Most newborn gray whales are about 12 feet long; clearly, something had gone very wrong with this birth. Scientists speculated that the pair was likely the product of a miscarriage. While it may be a relief that this was not actually a sea monster, it’s upsetting that such innocent creatures could never survive for long in the wild.
It should be noted that these conjoined whale twins were found on a December day. Most gray whales are born between the beginning of January and the middle of February, so these may have been premature.
Gabriel Barathieu / WIkimedia Commons
Though humans are the only natural predators of these whales (other than orcas), the Eastern North Pacific gray whales are filed under “least concern” on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species.
José Eugenio Gómez Rodríguez / Wikimedia Commons
Because of the prevalence of whaling, in which they’re hunted for parts of their bodies like their meat and bones, some species are now extinct. The North Atlantic gray whale has been extinct since the 18th century.
Ryan Somma / Wikimedia Commons
Luckily, the species that are still alive to this day are, like any other marine mammal, absolutely majestic. Hopefully, this was just a freak accident, and the mother is fine!
Merrill Gosho / Wikimedia Commons
It definitely looked like some kind of sea monster initially. Let’s hope mama is OK and that she’ll go on to have plenty of healthy babies.
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