Jakarta. The Indonesian Institute of Sciences, or LIPI, confirmed that the remains of a marine animal that washed up on the shores of Seram Island in Maluku province were actually that of a whale and not a giant squid, contrary to previous reports.
Local resident Asrul Tuanakota discovered the 15-meter-long carcass near Iha village in West Seram district on May 9.
Lipi is the governmental authority for science and research in Indonesia and consists of 47 research centers in fields ranging from social to natural sciences. The institute sent a team to take a sample of the carcass last Friday (12/05), Lipi's head of marine research, Augy Syahailatua, said on Tuesday.
Lipi dispatched two technicians and one researcher who then measured the carcass, took pictures and collected tissue samples for a lab test, Augy said.
Data revealed that the carcass was 23.2 meters in length, 6.5 meters wide and appeared to have a tail fin, pectoral fins, flippers and flukes.
The team also studied its rostrum, ventral pleats and skeletal structure.
"Based on those features, we are certain that the washed up marine animal was a whale, a sea mammal. [Therefore], information that said it is a giant squid is not true," Augy said.
However, Augy said that the team had difficulty identifying what type of whale it was.
"To determine the type of whale, we are awaiting DNA test reports from the lab," Augy said.
Lipi has advised the relevant authorities to either bury the carcass on shore, which will allow the government to later study the carcass if need be, or to bury it at sea, far from the coastal area so it will not pollute the coral reefs.