Feb. 25 (UPI) — Experts said a mysterious hair-covered carcass that washed up on a Philippines beach could be the badly decomposed remains of a dugong or a sperm whale.
The massive carcass, which measures 15 feet long, washed up Wednesday on a beach in Cagdianao, part of the Dinagat Islands, sparking rumors about the potential discovery of a new species.
Photos of the “monster” quickly went viral on social media.
Sufenia Chua of the Cagdianao Municipal Agriculture Office said the carcass might have been a dugong — a manatee cousin often locally referred to as a “sea cow” — that had its appearance altered by bloating and advanced decomposition.
Chia said skin found near the shore supports the dugong hypothesis and members of the species had previously been seen in the area.
Conservation group Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines offered a different potential identification: A sperm whale.
“We suspect it is a decomposing carcass of a sperm whale. But only if we see the skull or do DNA analysis can we confirm that. But definitely a whale,” AA Yaptinchay, director of the conservation group, told The New Daily.
Dinagat’s Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office is examining the remains to confirm the species and determine the cause of its death.