Malaysia: Museum official clarifies: It is a young Bryde’s Whale

31st December 2013;

The carcass that was washed ashore and found near D’Cove Pasir Panjang Family Park on Saturday morning had been officially identified as a Bryde’s Whale (Balaenoptera edeni) by the Museum Department.

According to museum deputy director and curator of Natural History Dr Charles Leh, this was the first record of a Bryde’s Whale found in Kuching Division.

“This was the first recorded Bryde’s Whale in Kuching. We have previous record of the same species washed ashore in Pusa in 1909. The skeleton of that is on display at the Sarawak Museum.

“This is considered an important find as it shows that this mammal can still be found, even though very rare.

“Bryde’s Whale is a globally protected species. They can often be found in tropical waters, but people seldom see them as they are deep-sea creatures,” he told The Borneo Post when met at Pasir Panjang yesterday.

He said the carcass will be left buried where it is on the Pasir Panjang beach for two months.

“We will leave it in the ground now, so that the flesh will rot away completely. After two months, we will come back to retrieve the bones, which have scientific value. They will be treated and then assembled to be put on display at the museum,” he explained.

Leh said the species, if full grown, can be as long as 40 to 55 feet and weigh 45 tonnes.

“The carcass from Pasir Panjang is still a juvenile whale, judging from its size (of about nine feet). It has been dead for about two weeks as what was washed ashore was highly decomposed. What remained were mostly skin and bones.

“Because of the year end rough sea conditions, young whales could easily drift from their parents and face the risk of death,” he said.

The carcass was found on early Saturday morning by a Pelita Holdings employee Mohd Hamzah Man, who was making a cleanliness inspection on the beach of the recreational area.

Source: The Borneo Post

Update: The identification was quite premature; the carcass turned out to be that of a Short-finned Pilot Whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus).

Malaysia: Museum official clarifies: It is a young Bryde’s Whale

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Chela of Stone Crab (Myomenippe hardwickii) with atypical morphology
Pulau Ubin, 28th June 2013

This chela (‘claw’ or ‘pincer’) of a Stone Crab was found along the shores of Pulau Ubin, and was unique in that it had an extra ‘finger’.

1. UNKNOWN DEAD: A close-up shot of the carcass of a yet-to-be determined sea animal that was washed ashore at Pasir Panjang.
2. CLOSER LOOK: Pasir Panjang community leader Hadli Piee taking a close look at a section of the carcass.

Malaysia: Carcass of unknown sea creature washed ashore
By Sandy Mark Luna , 29th December 2013;

A nine-foot carcass, believed to be of a sea creature, was found at D’Cove Pasir Panjang Family Park yesterday.

A worker with Pelita Holding Sdn Bhd Mohd Hamzah Man made the discovery during a round of cleanliness inspection at the recreational area at 7am.

He said he saw a huge object that looked like a heap of rubbish washed ashore at the beach that emitted a foul smell.

“On closer look, I saw it was a carcass of a sea animal.

“This is the first time we have come across a carcass this size in this area.

“Inspection rounds at the beach area is our weekly routine on every Saturday morning to make sure it is clean,” he told reporters.

After the discovery, Mohd Hamzah made a phone call to the patrol police and Bomba for further action.

The carcass could be that of a baby whale or a dugong, but the relevant authorities will be there tomorrow (Monday) to conduct tests on the carcass to determine its actual species.

In the meantime, the carcass was buried at the beach for sanitary purposes and to cover the foul smell of putrefaction.

Source: The Borneo Post

It’s certainly some sort of marine mammal, and most likely a cetacean. Dugong (Dugong dugon) skulls look very different. although the photos really aren’t very informative at all. If only there were more photos of the skull from multiple angles.

Update: The carcass has since been identified as a Short-finned Pilot Whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus).

Merry Christmas!

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I hope 2014 will be another year of amazing discoveries, meaningful encounters with biodiversity in its myriad forms, and stories to share with all. And of course, a shout-out to all the people who have contributed their photos and shared their sightings of various animal carcasses; I wouldn’t have been able to feature many species here if not for you. Thanks everyone for supporting Monday Morgue on Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr. Good health and happiness to all, and try not to become potential subjects for Monday Morgue so soon.

Sunda Scops Owl (Otus lempiji)
Sungei Buloh, 28th November 2013

Ants made quick work of this carcass of a Sunda Scops Owl. The last photo shows the same carcass 4 days later.

Asian scops owls have had a confusing taxonomic history. For many years, various populations of scops owls distributed across India and Pakistan to South East Asia, Japan and the Philippines were identified as a single species, called the Collared Scops Owl (Otus bakkamoena). However, various subspecies were subsequently split off and recognised as distinct species; one such subspecies would become known as the Sunda Scops Owl. These days, Otus bakkamoena refers strictly to the Indian Scops Owl, found in the Indian subcontinent, while the common name of Collared Scops Owl belongs to Otus lettia, which was split off and represents populations found from the Himalayas to China and Indochina. This is why some resources still list the Sunda Scops Owl as a subspecies of Indian Scops Owl, which is given the common name of Collared Scops Owl.

As if things weren’t confusing enough, some sources consider the Collared Scops Owl and Sunda Scops Owl to be conspecific, whereas other authors split the Sunda Scops Owl even further, and recognise the subspecies found in southern Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore (Otus lempiji cnephaeus) as a separate species, the Singapore Scops Owl (Otus cnephaeus).

Giant Honeybee (Apis dorsata)
National University of Singapore (NUS) campus, 4th December 2012

Paradise Tree Snake (Chrysopelea paradisi)
Neo Tiew Crescent, 29th October 2013

This Paradise Tree Snake carcass was found on the road; it had been run over by a vehicle, but probably was not killed instantly, just mortally wounded. As a result of its injuries, it had writhed about in its death throes, leading to the odd posture seen here, even after an attempt was made at uncoiling the snake.