Images posted online of an enormous carcass that washed up on the shore of an Indonesian island are captivating people across the world.
But three marine experts told HuffPost that the animal actually appears to be some sort of baleen whale.
“Giant squid are invertebrates and there are clearly bones visible (jaw, skull, vertebrate) so I am very comfortable saying it’s some type of rorqual whale,” said Regina Asmutis-Silvia, executive director of Whale and Dolphin Conservation.
“Certain species of baleen whales (rorquals) have ‘ventral grooves’ which run from their chin to their belly button. It is stretchy tissue that expands when they feed,” she added.
She identified these grooves in images and also included photos in which she pointed to what she believes are the whale’s jaw bone and skull.
Edith Widder, CEO and senior scientist at the Ocean Research & Conservation Association, said it was difficult to determine from images alone but that some photos show what looks like baleen plates.
“My guess is it’s a baleen whale,” she said.
George Leonard, chief scientist at Ocean Conservancy, said he initially thought the animal might be a giant squid, but agreed it was likely a whale after seeing images highlighting the bones and baleen.
“Trying to identify huge ocean creatures half a [world] away from a grainy video is tough to do; but once people start sharing specific information that begins to narrow in on defining characteristics of the creature, the identity begins to come into focus,” he said.
Footage from the scene shows the decaying body turning the water around it a deep red.
Locals have asked the government to come and help them remove the body, the Globe reports.
In the meantime, we’ll leave you with an apt tweet about this real-life Kraken.
This story has been updated with comments from marine life experts.