I don’t want to spoil it for you, but I guess I’ll have to. It was a whale that washed up on the Indonesian island of Seram late last week. It was never a sea monster, no matter how hard we all tried to believe or hope it might be.
Although the species of whale remains unknown (DNA analysis should solve that problem in time), the big giveaways were the presence of whale jaw-bone, the baleen plates, the vertebrae, the fins, the throat pleats, the whale shape and the fact that whales live close by and have skeletons that look exactly the same as this one did. Still, why let a bit of science get in the way of a good monster story, right?
And so, within hours, a familiar narrative was playing out in the world’s media as the whale became a dead sea monster that no one could identify, a Scooby Doo mystery that could be maintained by journalists for days as long as nobody checked Twitter, where 10,000 scientists were screaming
“That is clearly a whale” at each other. As such, in the news reports, the whale’s decomposing skin became “fur” and its blood became “mysterious red fluid” floating in the water. Nothing APART from spiders and wasps) brings out the worst in journalism like a decomposing whale, it seems.