Corpse Of Mysterious Sea Creature Washes Ashore In Namibia

February 1, 2019

Last week, a bizarre-looking, nearly 20-foot-long (6-meter) marine creature washed up in Namibia’s Dorob National Park. When scientists found the carcass, it was so decomposed that they didn’t know what they were seeing – it could have been a dolphin, a whale, or something else, according to the Daily Mail.

After measuring the body and analyzing the shape of its head, scientists are now almost certain that the mysterious creature is Cuvier’s beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris) – a creature that hasn’t been found in Namibia since 2000, according to the lead investigator of the non-profit Namibia Dolphin Project, who discovered the creature, the Daily Mail reports. Simon Erwin, one of the researchers, said.

“I was quite surprised,” Elvin told the Daily Mail.” These animals are rarely seen in the water, so it’s very unique to see them on land.”

Cuvier’s beaked whales can be found all over the world, often living in temperate, subtropical and tropical waters. They can weigh up to 6,800 lbs. (3,090 kilograms), and they can grow up to 23 feet (7 meters) long, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). According to NOAA, they have a “goose-like” head with an upward-sloping jawline that makes them look like they’re smiling.

Scientists were unable to figure out the cause of death because the bodies were decomposed, according to the Daily Mail. Although the jawbone was cracked and broken, scientists believe that occurred after death, as the creature did not have any other visible injuries, according to the Daily Mail.

The Cuvier’s beaked whale is listed as a species of “least concern” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. While global trends and population numbers for this elusive creature do not exist, there are at least 100,000 of them in the world, according to the IUCN. Possible threats to this species include entanglement in fishing gear, collisions with ships, and human-caused noise, such as that from ships.

The Cuvier’s beaked whale is one of the deepest divers – it can dive to a depth of about 3,300 feet (1,000 meters). In addition, the species uses sound to find food, communicate with each other and navigate.