Jakarta. Officials said the remains of a marine animal that washed up on the shores of Seram Island in Maluku province earlier this week were most likely that of a sperm whale and not a giant squid, as was previously believed.
Local resident Asrul Tuanakota (37) discovered the 15-meter-long carcass near Iha village in West Seram district on Tuesday evening (09/05).
Idris Mukadar, the head of police in Huamual, a subdistrict of West Seram, was quoted by news portal Kompas.com as saying that residents initially believed it was a giant squid. However, after further examination, it was concluded that the dead animal "looked more like a whale."
Nasrun, who works for the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries in West Seram, was quoted by news portal Detik.com as saying that it was most likely a whale.
"It is a type of sperm whale," he said, adding that residents insisted that it was a squid because part of the remains looked like tentacles.
Nasrun said the animal had been dead at least seven days before it was found.
"With sperm whales, when they decay, the intestines will come out through the bottom of the throat, which is striped like a pumpkin, and they become curved," Nasrun said. He added that the intestines usually emerge after several days of decay and that this might look like the tentacles of a squid.
Nasrun also pointed out that the Maluku Islands are on the whales' migration route to the Pacific Ocean. However, he said the ministry will send a team to confirm the species.