Was a Giant Squid Carcass Found in Indonesia?

Photographs that purportedly show a giant squid carcass that washed up on an Indonesia beach actually show a dead whale.

  • Published 12 May 2017


A photograph shows an unusually large squid carcass in Indonesia.


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In May 2017, a photograph showing the corpse of a large creature in the water off the coast of Indonesia was shared on social media, along with the claim that it shows a giant squid:

Initial news reports had trouble identifying the animal, but they did provide some information about the creature’s size that should have dispelled the rumor:

The species of this animal is not yet known, and local residents do not recognize it. However, the size is more than 22 meters with a width of four meters.

This creature is far too large to be a squid of any type. According to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, the giant squid has an estimated maximum length of thirteen meters, nearly ten meters shy of the animal that was found in Indonesia. The colossal squid, the precisely named world’s largest squid, is also too small to be the pictured animal, as it only reaches an estimated maximum length of around fourteen meters, or 45 feet.  

So what is it? On 11 May 2017, Indonesian outlet Tribun News reported that it was a whale’s carcass, not a squid’s: 

“At first people thought it was squid, but after being examined it is a whale carcass because it is more similar to whales,” he said.