Mysterious ‘Sea Monster’ That Washes Up On Shore Astonishes Scientists

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!

nFrom Chris Murphy 01634 686 515nLocals in Mexico were shocked to spot a pair of conjoined gray whales dead on the shore.nScientists in Mexico¿s Laguna Ojo de Liebre, or Scammon¿s Lagoon, discovered the conjoined gray whale calves, and it could be the first documented case of Siamese twin gray whales.nConjoined twins have occurred in other species, notably fin, sei and minke whales. However, an online search and a search of the database at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County did not reveal published instances of conjoined gray whale twins.nUnfortunately, the twins discovered in Scammon¿s Lagoon did not survive and most likely were miscarried, reports grindtv, an outdoor sports website.nThe carcass is only about seven feet long, versus the normal 12 to 16 feet for newborn gray whales.nAlisa Schulman-Janiger, an American Cetacean Society researcher, pointed out that the twins were severely underdeveloped and wondered whether the birth or stillbirth might also have killed the mother.nThe twins¿ carcass has been collected for study.nImages were posted by the Guerrero Negro Verde Facebook page, with the translated statement, ¿Unfortunately, the specimen died. [Its] survival was very difficult.¿nMore images were posted to Facebook by local Jesus Gomez.nGray whales are arriving in Scammon¿s Lagoon and other lagoons along the Baja California peninsula, after a nearly 6,000-mile journey from Arctic home waters. They give birth during the southbound journey, or in the lagoons, and nurse their calves for several weeks before embarking on their northbound journey back to the Bering and Chukchi seas.nAccording to NOAA, the Pacific gray whale population numbers about 21,000.nMost calves are born during the last week of December and the first two weeks of January.nEndsnn

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?

graywhale1


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?

nFrom Chris Murphy 01634 686 515nLocals in Mexico were shocked to spot a pair of conjoined gray whales dead on the shore.nScientists in Mexico¿s Laguna Ojo de Liebre, or Scammon¿s Lagoon, discovered the conjoined gray whale calves, and it could be the first documented case of Siamese twin gray whales.nConjoined twins have occurred in other species, notably fin, sei and minke whales. However, an online search and a search of the database at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County did not reveal published instances of conjoined gray whale twins.nUnfortunately, the twins discovered in Scammon¿s Lagoon did not survive and most likely were miscarried, reports grindtv, an outdoor sports website.nThe carcass is only about seven feet long, versus the normal 12 to 16 feet for newborn gray whales.nAlisa Schulman-Janiger, an American Cetacean Society researcher, pointed out that the twins were severely underdeveloped and wondered whether the birth or stillbirth might also have killed the mother.nThe twins¿ carcass has been collected for study.nImages were posted by the Guerrero Negro Verde Facebook page, with the translated statement, ¿Unfortunately, the specimen died. [Its] survival was very difficult.¿nMore images were posted to Facebook by local Jesus Gomez.nGray whales are arriving in Scammon¿s Lagoon and other lagoons along the Baja California peninsula, after a nearly 6,000-mile journey from Arctic home waters. They give birth during the southbound journey, or in the lagoons, and nurse their calves for several weeks before embarking on their northbound journey back to the Bering and Chukchi seas.nAccording to NOAA, the Pacific gray whale population numbers about 21,000.nMost calves are born during the last week of December and the first two weeks of January.nEndsnn


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.

graywhaletwins

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.

1-gray-whalesGabriel 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.

2-gray-whalesJosé 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.

3-gray-whaleRyan 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!

4-gray-whaleMerrill 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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