"Sea Monster" Found Off China Coast

Jun 24, 2011, 16:46 by Sarah Long

A 4.5 ton "sea monster" was found washed up on a beach in China recently.

The 55-ft creature was found tangled up in ropes, leading some to speculate that fisherman caught it but could not bring it in due to its size.

Though the specimen is extremely decayed and difficult to verify, three marine biology experts who viewed photos of the creature -Scott Baker of Oregon State University Marine Mammal Institute, Bill Perrin, senior scientist for marine mammals at the National Marine Fisheries Service, and Bob Brownell, senior scientist for international protected resources with the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration's Fisheries Service - believe that it's a whale, LiveScience reports.

Based on its throat grooves, "[we agree] that it's a balaenopterid," Baker told Life's Little Mysteries. "Judging from the reported size of 55 ft., maybe a fin whale. From the photo, however, it does not really look to be 55 ft., and so might be a smaller balaenopterid, like one of the 'Bryde's' whales."

"We all hope somebody collects the bones and a tissue sample for genetic analysis as recovery of whale carcasses is rare along the coast of China," he added.