Foto cortesía de Pendam Pattimura

A mysterious creature from the depths has washed up in Indonesia’s eastern Maluku province, setting off a storm of controversy over what, exactly, it is. Initial reports from Indonesian soldiers stationed in the area called it a giant squid. A video shared by the official Facebook page of the Indonesian Army shows a man describing the creature at length.

“A giant squid has washed ashore in the island of Seram, in Hulung village,” the narrator says. “From the looks of it, it’s unclear how many people can fit in this creature. If it eats people. This is a rare animal. It’s length is more or less 10 meters…”

But in a different video posted on YouTube by user Patasiwa Kumbang Amalatu, the cameraman describes the creature as a “big fish.” He says it’s most likely the carcass of a badly decomposed whale. Dozens of types of whales are common to the waters of Indonesia, including large species like blue whales, sperm whales, and humpback whales.

“This is a humpback whale,” he says. “These aren’t tusks. This is its mouth, but it’s covered with decomposed skin.”

He posted a series of other videos that appear to show the creature decomposing further in the tropical sun. It never gets any easy to figure out what the hell it actually is. He zooms in on the large white bones some news sites have insisted are tusks, further clarifying that it is actually the jawbone of a large whale. The rest of it looks like a bus-sized floating blob to me.

Indonesia is no stranger to tales of the bizarre and otherworldly. In 2015, a similar carcass washed up in Maluku’s Pulau Hatta and everyone thought it was a humungous octopus. But no one was sure enough of that to try to eat it. Weird stuff, I guess, is bound to happen. Just, hopefully, not so weird that it’s a squid with tusks. Because that would be terrifying.

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