A photo of a Beluga whale taken at a strange angle resurfaced on the Internet, once again unleashing speculation that the marine mammal has what appears to look like knees and legs.
The outline of symmetrical bones protruding from their underbellies creates an illusion that probably baffled many sailors in the early days of nautical discovery.
No, these creatures are not mermaids, nor is any trace of them remotely human.
Throughout history, sailors have mistaken Beluga Wales for mermaids because of their human-like knees. https://t.co/10hDV0aZCm— We Like To Learn (@We Like To Learn)1528073896.0
i can't ever unsee this and that's something i'm going to have to deal with for the rest of my life https://t.co/Fi00NB9dAW— shlee ✌️ (@shlee ✌️)1528210909.0
Mashable settled the debate once and for all, calling the parallel structures in the photo, "blubber" – a primary storage for fat, or vascularized adipose tissue under the skin.
Blubber is attached to muscle and bone through complex networks of tendons and ligaments and are primarily found in cetaceans, pinnipeds, and sirenians. One of its functions includes the storing of energy to add buoyancy while swimming.
@mashable Wow! I really kneeded to know that— 5ELimited (@5ELimited)1528367637.0
Carey Richard, the supervisor of cetaceans and pinnipeds at the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut, told Mashable that the photo making the rounds on the Internet was just taken at a "weird camera angle."
The position of the camera is just such that they caught that blubber moving. I've never seen blubber looking like human anatomy.
The truth, however, didn't set everyone free.
@mashable How am I supposed to just go to work like everything's fine now?— デーレンサン (@デーレンサン)1528369253.0
Another filed the factoid away.
One less worry to keep me up at night https://t.co/jWgyRhYGWm— Linda Andross (@Linda Andross)1528369305.0
Still, others believe in the mythical species lurking in the lower depths of our imagination.
@WeLikeToLearn I truly believe they WERE mermaids 😁 They just had to evolve into "Beluga Wales", and maybe other fo… https://t.co/orFOAUsESp— #spreadloveNOThate💖🌻 (@#spreadloveNOThate💖🌻)1528090692.0
I don't care. I still believe in Mermaids. https://t.co/EiOmQ5Pa3E— LaBlaq SuperCaliSwaggalisticExtraAllThaDopeness (@LaBlaq SuperCaliSwaggalisticExtraAllThaDopeness)1528167792.0
@LoveAndShalom All day, everyday 🧜🏻♀️🧜🏻♀️ https://t.co/O0625cOr5c— Heather Lopez (@Heather Lopez)1528399034.0
The theory that Beluga whales descended from land mammals might have legs after all.
@mashable Ancestors to the modern whale used to walk on land, had fur, 4 legs, and toes. https://t.co/YyNS7ROZEo— Common Sense Concepts (@Common Sense Concepts)1528389595.0
@TruthScarecrow @mashable Like the picture and yet very accurate too. :) Its amazing how early cetaceans made their… https://t.co/SiJk6mcoe7— David garcia (@David garcia)1528395721.0
According to Wikipedia, however, the earliest known ancestor of the Beluga whale is the Denebola brachycephala from the late Miocene period, and the discovery of a single fossil indicated that the species occupied warmer waters off the Baja California Peninsula.
@momma_oso818 @WeLikeToLearn 'They just had to evolve' ...like seriously? Evolution is a natural phenomena.— Sean Powers (@Sean Powers)1528213994.0
@WeLikeToLearn Listen here people I DO know how evolution works so calm down, especially with the name calling 😄😏 M… https://t.co/kyFyh8qZZL— #spreadloveNOThate💖🌻 (@#spreadloveNOThate💖🌻)1528238929.0