SANTIAGO, Chile (Reuters) -
Chilean scientists are baffled by a huge, gelatinous sea
creature found washed up on thesouthern Pacific coast
and are seeking international help identifying the
The dead creature was mistaken
for a beached whale when first reported about a week
ago, but experts who went to see itsaid the 40-foot-long
(12-meter) mass of decomposing lumpy grey flesh
apparently was an invertebrate.
"We'd never before seen such a
strange specimen, We don't know if it might be a giant
squid that is missing some of itsparts or maybe it's a
new species," said Elsa Cabrera, a marine biologist and
director of the Centre for CetaceanConservation in
Photographs showed a round
leathery substance like a mammoth jelly fish, about as
long as a school bus.
Giant squid live at a depth of
9,500 feet (3,000 meters) and only rise to the surface
when they die. Specimens have beenknown to be as long as
60 feet (18 meters).
There was speculation that the
mass might be a whale skin, but Cabrera said it was too
big and did not have the righttexture or smell.
Cabrera said she was
contacting Chilean and international organisations in
the hope that they could help shed some lighton the
The Chilean Navy first spotted
the mystery specimen along with another large mass, but
the other dead animal turned out tobe a dead humpback