A rotting corpse that washed ashore on a beach in New Zealand last month has fuelled speculations that it might be the carcass of a "sea monster".
The strange "sea monster", measuring about 9 metres long (around 30 feet), was washed up dead on Pukehina Beach during violent storms last month. "Pukehina beachgoers were stumped when they came across what they thought was a prehistoric creature on the shore," reported New Zealand's Sun Live newspaper.
A video filmed by beachgoer Elizabeth Ann was posted on YouTube asking for public help to identify the creature. The description of the video said, "This strange marine creature washed up dead on Pukehina Beach in the Bay of Plenty last week after some violent storms. Can anyone identify what it is? It is has a huge head and teeth with rudimentary flippers. It seems about 9M in length but the lower part of the body is probably mainly entrails from an attack."
The video has gone viral since it was uploaded and more than one million people have viewed it till now. The video's commentators have given various suggestions including a sea monster, a crocodile, a saltwater, a giant moray eel, a dolphin, a killer whale or a dinosaur to identify it.
Marine expert Anton van Helden was sent the footage from someone in New Zealand's Auckland University. Helden identified the carcass belonging to a killer whale (orca), as they have a distinctive "flipper". "It's hard to say how it died," Helden told Channel 3.
Killer whales, also referred to as orcas, can be found in deep waters ranging from tropical to arctic and also in coastal and deep oceanic waters. These toothed whales live in close-knit groups of 30. They grow about 8 to 10 metres long and can weigh more than 5,000 kilogrammes (six tonnes). Orcas are not an endangered species, but they are threatened in some local populations due to pollution, habitat loss, reduction in prey and whaling,according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).