Mexico sea creature 'mystery' may have an explanation
Monday, March 14, 2016, 9:13 AM - The strange remains of an unidentified sea beast have been making headlines since they washed up on a Mexican beach.
The four-metre-long carcass was found on the shores of Acapulco's Bonfil Beach, according to local authorities, who posted a video of the find on Facebook Wednesday.
"We have no idea what type of animal that is, but I do know that it does not smell bad or have a fetid aroma," Sabás de la Rosa Camacho, coordinator of the Civil Guard and Fire Brigade, told Mexican news agency 24 Horas.
It is believed to have been brought to shore by the region's strong currents, made worse by recent bad weather.
Speculation online has been rampant, identifying the mass variously as a decayed squid, whale or some as-yet unknown creature (With a couple tongue-in-cheek Facebook comments suggesting it's a vanquished Pokemon).
However, Livescience put paid to the idea of anything crypto-zoological about the find: It's probably just the top part of a sperm whale's head.
James Mead, a marine mammals expert at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., told Livescience the top of sperm whale's head contains a kind of organ used by the whale for echolocation, perched atop a bottom area known as the "junk."
"The junk has separated from the skull, and you can see about midway through the video the nasal plugs, which form the valve that closes the bony narial [nasal] tube," Mead told Livescience in an email.
People have a long history of seeing the unnatural in washed-up carcasses. One of the most famous was a carcass dredged up by a Japanese ship off the coast of New Zealand in 1977. Though touted as a potential plesiosaur, an analysis of the carcass found it was likely a basking shark.
In 2001, a strange carcass encountered in Fortune Bay, Nfld., was later found to have been part of a sperm whale.
Watch more: Bizarre sea creatures you didn't know existed