Yet another ‘sea monster carcass’ was brought to my attention recently, and in the interests of tradition and of bringing it to a wider audience I thought I should include it here (I’m very late to the party: Cryptomundo discussed the case when it broke three years ago). Dubbed the ‘Conakry Monster’, it washed up on the coast of Guinea in May 2007. It was described as being a gigantic crocodile/lizard monster with an armoured back, fur, a long tail and ‘four paws’! The blackened surface to the skin led some people to think that it might have been burnt… somehow. The Russian news agency Pravda featured the photographs and dubbed the carcass a ‘Hellish hairy sea monster’. They even said that “The scientists who examined the creature said that they had already seen such animals before, but they have no clue to their definition” . This blog article includes numerous comments where people claimed the carcass to be a rotting mammoth, monster turtle, mosasaur or other giant reptile. After the carcass ‘mysteriously’ disappeared, local people laid the blame on those sinister Americans (P. Glynn, pers. comm.). They must have taken it away in the dead of night, in a big helicopter or something. Huh – those pesky Americans, always doing cover-up ops on sea monster carcasses…
Anyway… at the risk of sounding like an intellectual snob or elitist, yet again I am bowled over by human idiocy. None of the people who wrote those comments in the media and on blog sites can ever have taken the time to watch TV documentaries, opened books, or become familiar with what we actually know about animal diversity. The carcass’s real identity is glaringly obvious: it’s a very decomposed baleen whale, as evidenced by what are obviously ventral throat/belly pleats (the carcass is clearly lying on its back). The blackish, ‘burnt-looking’ skin is common for decomposing whales: their skin often flakes off in small, friable bits that look something like thin plastic or even burnt paper. The good photo of one of the flippers [shown here] shows the characteristic long shape and bumpy edges of a Humpback Megaptera novaeangliae.
For as long as whales have been around, their decomposing bodies have been washing up on beaches.
Newsflash: this still happens in the modern day.