This gargantuan, twin tusked carcass created a tremendous stir when it washed up an Egyptian beach in 1950, and it remains one of the most controversial oceanic mysteries to this day.
The Ataka animal has provided us with one of the most fascinating images in the annals of cryptozoology. The now famous photograph showing a colossal beached animal with two gigantic tusks — set against a backdrop of curious spectators — has intrigued both scientists and crypto-investigators alike for over half a century.
The story of this mysterious carcass begins in January of 1950, following a horrific 72 hour gale, which ravaged the banks of the Gulf of Suez. On the day following the epic storm, Egyptian authorities discovered a humongous carcass decomposing on the beach. Almost immediately a team of scientists were dispatched to reveal the creature’s identity.
Described as being “whale-like” in size, probably the most intriguing aspect of this beast – from a zoological standpoint — were its two, huge, walrus-like tusks, which protruded from either side of its large mouth. The animal also seemed to have blow hole atop its head, similar in structure to that of more traditional cetaceans.
This has led some researchers to speculate that the animal may have been an unknown species of marine mammal. Some accounts even include eyewitness reports of a large, whale-like creature swimming in the gulf just ten days before the remains washed ashore.
Although experts of the era could not positively identify this animal, it is common practice among modern skeptics to dismiss the creature as nothing more than a deteriorating whale corpse with its lower jaw bones splayed, creating the illusion of tusks. However, there are those who believe that this beast is truly unknown creature and state that when one looks at the additional evidence found in the photo, one might be forced to reevaluate the assumptions of the academic mainstream.
The supporters of this “unknown creature” theory have stated that it seems both foolish and arrogant to assume that amateur (or professional) marine biologists can ascertain from a single, grainy, black and white photo what top Egyptian scientists were not able to while studying samples of the carcass in question; namely that the Ataka specimen is nothing more than a slightly decayed example of a common whale with its baleen exposed.
They further state that when researching this case one must take into consideration the other identifying factors detailed in the photograph, such as the animal’s apparent lack of eyes and the row of cilia like appendages circling its maw.
These and other unseen attributes are what likely led those initial scientists away from the more socially acceptable verdict that this creature was just an ordinary whale and forced them to the conclusion that — at least by current zoological standards — the animal in question was simply unidentifiable.
In the decades which have followed in the wake of the controversy stirred by the Ataka Carcass, numerous other remains have been discovered bearing uncannily similar traits. Finds such as Mexico’s TECOLUTA SEA MONSTER, the SUWARROW ISLAND DEVILFISH and the recent discovery known as the MENTIGI MONSTER have all fueled the flames of this ongoing debate.
At first glance, one wonders what freak of nature this aquatic monstrosity could possibly be. After further study and the development of the untrained eye, however, much of the mystery is "seemingly" revealed. Cast up by a three-day gale in the Gulf of Suez in January 1950, the creature was not positively identified by experts. Therefore, would it be foolish for us today to take a dogmatic stance regarding the identity of this beached animal? Perhaps. We mustn't, however, ignore evidence.
One identity does fit near perfectly from the visual appearance of this animal, and though a written explanation might suffice, the photograph to the right spells out what may have washed ashore in January 1950, at Ataka, Egypt. After a bitter struggle with a pack of killer whales, this unfortunate baby gray whale (in the baleen whale family) met its fate in the bay of Monterey, California. Sinking slowly down while up-side-down, two large, clearly defined "tusks" can be seen pointing (if the whale were right-side-up) downward. The appearance of "walrus-like tusks" on the Egyptian carcass, in the same way, may just well have been the lower jaws of what some believe to be a large baleen whale. Regardless of what particular species it was, this physical feature is one shared by all whales. Taking a closer look at the carcass, one can even make out a small blowhole near the top-center of the animal.
So, the question must be asked, "Why were many scientists of the day unable to identify it, while we today, only 50 years later, can identify it by simply looking at a photograph?" This is a valid question indeed, one which should make us question our personal evaluations. Perhaps certain physical features deterred the scientists of the day to reach this conclusion. In any case, though it very well could have been a whale, we may never know for certain.