Saturday, August 09, 2008

Things found lying around dead

I always hesitate before posting about any unidentified carcass (indeed, I may never have done it) because if you wait awhile, such things usually become identified. So it is with the "Montauk Monster." This thing, despite being pretty small (certainly not over a couple of feet long, excluding tail) allegedly washed up on a beach and non-allegedly started a media sensation. Now we have an almost certain ID (a bloated, dead raccoon) but the media has not died down. There are at least three competing claims about where the thing came from and who has it, and someone rushed out a fairly accurate replica and put it on eBay.

Will the same thing happen for the "beast-walrus," or qaqrat, washed up on Alaska's Nunivak Island?

It may. Or the thing may slip quietly out of the news.

I do believe there are some large animals in the oceans yet to be identified, and they may well be discovered via a carcass on the beach (as several species of cetacean have). But the record advises caution. There's almost no point in writing news article until and unless an expert takes a look at the item in question and says "unidentified."

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