The Giant Skull of a Massive Marine Creature Appears on California Beach

A giant skull on a Monterey Bay beach that visitors are uploading photos of on social media is a mystery, according to a California museum.

Experts told SFGate that the skull found at Pajaro Dunes State Beach in Watsonville is most likely from a fin or blue whale.

“They’re both gigantic whales,” Robert Boessenecker, chief paleontologist at the Charleston Center for Paleontology in South Carolina, told the newspaper. “I mean, they’ve got skulls that are measured in meters rather than feet or centimeters. And they’re quite similar.”

The Giant Skull of a Massive Marine Creature Appears on California Beach (1)

According to the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History, the skull is most likely from a whale corpse that washed ashore in October. The bodies were too severely decayed to identify.

“An interesting feature has taken up residence on Pajaro Dunes beach and many curious (locals) have been sending us images over the past few months trying to make sense of this behemoth,” the museum said in a press release.

The museum’s experts believe the carcass was that of a fin whale due to its size.

“What remains today is the basicranium (‘base of skull’) with attached partial nares (aka nostrils),” museum officials stated on X.

“We saw it, too! So cool,” stated another post on X with photographs of the skull.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, fin whales and blue whales are among the world’s largest mammals.

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According to the NOAA, fin whales can reach lengths of 85 feet and weigh up to 80 tons. Blue whales can grow to be 110 feet long and weigh as much as 165 tons.

“This type of nature event is a great opportunity to get people excited about nature,” the museum’s executive director, Felicia Van Stolk, told SFGate. “It is a wonderful reminder that the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is the home to some truly amazing creatures.”

Watsonville is approximately 90 miles southeast of San Francisco.

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