The 6-meter-long (20-foot) "awful"-smelling decomposing carcass of a sea “creature” washed ashore in the Philippines over the weekend, stumping marine experts and inciting local legends about impending natural disasters.
EEC Media reports the mysterious “hairy” blob appeared Friday evening in the town of San Antonio, Oriental Mindoro province. Here, local residents gathered to snap photos of the grayish-white carcass and express concerns over it being a bad omen.
“An earthquake is heading for Oriental Mindoro. The creature is a sign of something bad coming. Please pray for us,'' resident Tam Maling told EEC Media.
"Many were alarmed, including me, when we learned the news about it. It has been told that when creatures from the deepest parts of the ocean start appearing, something bad will happen,” added Vincent Dela Pena Badillo.
This isn’t the first “globster” – defined as an unidentified mass of organic material – to wash ashore in recent years. In March, a “bizarre, Nessie-like creature” appeared in the US State of Georgia, stumping marine experts. Last year, two other “hairy” blobs turned up in the Philippines, one in September and another in February.
But are these disgusting masses really something to be feared? Probably not.
“It looks like a decomposing whale carcass,” said Molly Zaleski, a marine biologist based in Alaska, in an interview with IFLScience. “The ‘white shaggy hair’ is just the tissue layer kind of sloughing off as it rots. You see the same kind of whitish appearance in salmon that have spawned and are just waiting to die in the rivers."
Zaleski said similar events occur in Alaska when dead whales wash ashore – often sparking a feeding frenzy amongst local bears – “though a lot of those have already been stripped pretty much to the bone by sharks, other fishes, and crabs.”
Marine workers, who arrived to take tissue samples of the “unidentified creature” and dispose of its remains, have a similar working theory.
“For now, we can say it's a whale, but the exact species is still unknown. The tissue samples are now sent to our lab for DNA analysis,” said Fishery Law Enforcement Officer Vox Krusada to EEC Media.
But everyone can agree these globs are foul-smelling and gut-wrenching.
“I really experienced the full power of its smell because I'm the one who took the tissue samples. I almost puked. I felt better after taking a bath but the stench still lingers in my nose," said Krusada.
[H/T: EEC Media]