Residents of an island community in the Philippines are baffled by a white, hairy “sea monster-looking blob” that washed up on a beach on Wednesday.
Images of the two mystery creatures quickly went viral on social media after the carcasses were spotted on the shore at Cagdianao, Dinagat Islands, south-west of the capital Manilla.
Experts are also divided over the strange sea sighting.
Sufenia Chua of the Cagdianao Municipal Agriculture Office told the Filipino news service ABS-CBN News the creature was likely to be a sea cow.
That was based on skin found near the shore and because of previous sightings of sea cows in the area, ABS-CBN News reported.
The carcass was 4.5 metres long and washed up along the beach at Kantigdaon, Poblacion, Cagdianao, Dinagat Islands, Ms Chua said.
But conservation group Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines believed the “sea monster-looking blob” was “definitely a whale”.
“We suspect it is a decomposing carcass of a sperm whale. But only if we see the skull or do DNA analysis can we confirm that. But definitely a whale,” Director AA Yaptinchay told The New Daily.
Mr Yaptinchay said his group did not have the resources to get to the site but was in contact with local conservationists in the area.
He understood the creature would be buried on Friday.
Municipal authorities would examine the carcass and investigate the cause of death, according to ABS-CBN News.
The carcasses are the latest in a string of unusual sea creatures that have reportedly been spotted on the islands recently.
Giant oarfish have been washing up elsewhere in the country, leading to fears an earthquake may soon strike.
Considered “messengers of the sea”, locals believe the deep sea serpents and other creatures are swept to shore by strong currents that are followed by earthquakes.
At least eight people died and more than 120 were injured when a 6.5 magnitude quake struck in the Surigao province, in the south of the country, earlier in the month.