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This article contains information relating to a hoax. According to Cambridge dictionary a hoax is "a ​plan to ​deceive a ​large ​group of ​people; a ​trick."

Zuiyo maru 2

The carcass.

The Zuiyo-maru carcass is a hoax that was believed to be the corpse of a sea monster. The remains of this horrific-looking sea creature were caught in 1977 off the east coast of New Zealand by a Japanese fishing trawler named Zuiyō Maru. The creature's strange and frankly terrifying appearance confused many, which led people to believe that it was the remains of a plesiosaur. The plesiosaur, for those who don't know, is a aquatic prehistoric reptile, which some believe is related to Nessie, or is the species that Nessie belongs to. However, after some later testing of the specimen's tissue remains, it was discovered that the remains were likely not that of a prehistoric sea horror, but rather the decomposing corpse of a basking shark or similar species.


The discovery of this specimen began on April 25, 1977. Sailing 30 miles east of Christchurch, New Zealand, was a Japanese trawler named Zuiyō Maru. However, what should've been smooth sailing for the people on board quickly went sideways when the boat's trawl caught something. Something... unusual. Something... enormous. Something... rotting. The trawl had caught the now legendary Zuiyo-maru carcass, and needless to say, the crew were shocked. They were convinced, no, BELIEVED that the strange specimen was a previously undiscovered and unidentified animal. Despite the potential biological breakthrough, though, the captain of the trawler, Akira Tanaka, thought "Screw this" and decided to dump the decomposing carcass into the ocean again. Apparently, he did not want to risk spoiling the fish they caught that day. However, before the horrendous act of the captain took place, though, the crew scrambled to get some some photos and sketches of the creature, who they nicknamed "Nessie". Measurements were also taken and some samples of the creature, which included parts of the skeleton, skin, and fins, were collected for further analysis by experts back in in Japan. The result of that discovery is what can only be described as an intense "plesiosaur craze" in Japan. For one, the shipping company ordered all its boats to try and find the dumped corpse. Unfortunately, however, there was apparently no success. There was also probably a demand for cute plesiosaur merch...

Description and Explanations[]


A comparison of a fresh basking shark carcass with the creature.

Now, while some greatly insisted that the carcass was, quote "not a fish, whale, or any other mammal", scientists weren't convinced. By comparing the number of sets of amino acids in the muscle tissue of the samples gathered, the analysis led to the conclusion that the carcass belonged to a dead basking shark. As biology death for this species goes; Decomposing basking shark carcasses lose most of the lower head area and the dorsal and caudal fins first, making them resemble a plesiosaur. Reportedly, the corpse was foul-smelling, decomposing, and TOTALLY DEAD. Also reported were its height and weight, the former of which was 13 m long and the latter of which was 1,800 kg. For Americans, that is 42.7 ft and 2,204.6 lbs. According to the crew, the creature had a one and a half meter long neck (Roughly 4.9 ft), four large, reddish fins and a tail about two meters long (Roughly 6.6 ft). No internal organs remained, but flesh and fat was somewhat intact. Despite the unconfirmed identification, the Zuiyo Maru carcass continues to intrigue scientists and enthusiasts alike due to its rarity and unusual circumstances. Its discovery brought attention to the vast diversity yet to be explored in Earth's oceans and reminded humanity of the countless secrets that lie beneath the surface. It also highlighted the importance of preserving marine ecosystems and conducting further research to shed light on the mysteries that still capture our imaginations.