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Unidentified Sea Creature Found After Typhoon

Early on the morning of July 23, a fisherman from Ningbo City in east China's Zhejiang Province was shocked by the sight of a huge creature lying dead beside the seawall near his home.


Liu, who lives in Yangshashan of Chunxiao Town in Beilun District and who has been a fisherman for over ten years, said “I have never seen such a monster; it was larger than a whale.”


It was first seen by villagers on July 20, according to Mei who breeds fish nearby, and is nearly 12 meters long and weighs around 2 tons, according to district sea and fishery bureau staff.


The animal reportedly has a long thin head and a snout nearly one meter long.


Partly rotten, with its spine exposed, it has been impossible to identify, but has been described as having some hair, and orange stripes across a three to four-meter wide belly. The skull, which alone weighs over 100 kg, and coccyx of the creature have fallen from its body.


Mei said four young people took away a 100 kg piece of the corpse to study and many experts have come to inspect it, but all in vain.


From the degree of putrefaction, the animal may have been dead for a week and beached by Typhoon Haitang several days ago, said Hu from Beilun’s sea and fishery bureau.


He said its overall structure means it’s unlikely to be a fish, but the shape of its head is like a crocodile’s.


Local fishermen have their own ideas about what the animal is and where it came from.


One called Li said it must have lived in the sea, because the skin of its chest is very much like that of many large sea animals, as thick and hard as rubber.


According to another named Wang, it is very like an elephant seal, especially its mouth, and he said he once spotted elephant seals on a journey overseas five years ago.


Many experts said that, being seriously rotten and deprived of lower limbs and tail, the monster is unlikely to be identified or to be made into a specimen.


An expert from Ningbo University's sea creature research center who has not seen the animal said the possibility of it being a huge crocodile was slim, for they usually live in tropical freshwater.


He also doubted that it could be an elephant seal, saying it would be hard to explain how one got to the subtropical East China Sea from polar waters.


(Today Morning Express, translated by Yuan Fang for China.org.cn July 29, 2005)


Typhoon Haitang Hits Eastern Provinces
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