Though experts have put forward several theories about what the globster of Simberi Island could have been, no one knows for sure.
Locals of Simberi Island in Papua New Guinea were baffled to find a strange glob of white flesh on the beach last month. Ghostly pale and shaped like a mermaid, the “globster” has also stumped experts who have speculated that it could have been anything from a dolphin to a shark.
“Strange dead sea creature shape like mermaid washed on to the shoreline in Simberi Island this morning,” a Facebook post from New Irelanders Only stated (Simberi Island is part of Papua New Guinea’s New Ireland Province). “Anyone with the explanation to identify this creature?”
Though many people commented that the strange globster — an official term that refers to an unidentified organic mass that washes up on the shore of a body of water — looked like a mermaid, experts had some other ideas of what the strange white corpse could be.
“This looks like a long dead dugong [marine mammals also called a “sea cows” which are related to manatees],” Erich Hoyt, a researcher at the UK’s Whale and Dolphin Conservation charity, speculated to the Daily Mail. Hoyt added: “It will have been dead for weeks or longer.”
Jens Currie, the chief scientist of the Pacific Whale Foundation in Hawaii, agreed that the mermaid globster could be a dugong. “My best estimate is that it might be a dugong,” Currie told Live Science. Currie believes that the creature’s head looks too large to be a dolphin or whale. “[T]he amount of blubber also indicates a marine mammal and not a shark,” he explained.
Other experts agreed that the mermaid globster appeared to be a mammal, but stopped short before declaring it a dugong — or anything else.
Helene Marsh, an environmental scientist at James Cook University in Australia, suggested to Live Science that the mermaid globster was an unspecified marine mammal. Sascha Hooker, a marine mammal expert at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, similarly speculated the mermaid globster was a “very decomposed cetacean [a marine mammal like a whale or dolphin]” since their bodies turn white after their skin falls off.
One expert floated the idea that the mermaid globster could have been a shark, but others thought that the shape of the creature’s tail, flippers, and spine weren’t very shark-like.
Marsh, who is supports the mammal theory, told Live Science that it’s impossible to be more specific. “After that it is anyone’s guess,” she said.
And, indeed, it’s difficult for experts to make an educated guess about the mermaid globster without more data. That data — including DNA samples and measurements — is impossible to attain because locals on Simberi Island have since buried the mermaid globster.
The mermaid globster of Simberi Island is hardly the only unusual creature to wash up on shores in recent years. In 2008, the “Montauk Monster” mysteriously washed up on the shores of Long Island, leading to speculation that it had been anything from an alien, to a mutant, to a raccoon (adding to the mystery, the creature mysteriously vanished). And in 2018, locals in the Philippines and Russia reported finding a giant, hairy globster on their shores.
It seems that we’ll never know for sure what the Simberi Island globster was. Maybe it was a dugong, whale, dolphin, or even a shark. Then again, maybe the strange thing was a mermaid. People on Facebook certainly thought so.
“Must be an old mermaid,” one commenter speculated, “came to the time of her passing, so must have died.”