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Mystery Carcasses That Make The News: Internet Is Clueless

Sharon Hill

Complicated biological machine
Joined
Dec 16, 2014
Messages
1,896
Location
Pennsylvania, USA
A thread for decomposing animal carcasses that make the news because people think they are mysterious creatures

It's a common thing for people to post their pictures of odd remains to social media. Sometimes these get picked up by news outlets because curious people love to click on stories with a weird headline so they can see for themselves. Commenters become armchair exotic zoologists. Reporters rarely ask a real zoologist, thought they might bury the reasonable identification at the bottom of the article.

Here's the latest one, from Queensland.

Mystery creature washes up on Qld beach: ‘Exactly like a mermaid’​

A “shocking” discovery on a Queensland beach has left scientists scratching their heads and set social media ablaze with conspiracies.
https://www.news.com.au/technology/...d/news-story/8f7ace5b5f308b5489d8843551562f1f


queensland carcass.jpeg


Except it has no fish tail.
I preferred this article because at least part of the headline was true: Mystery Creature Found At Australian Beach Baffles Social Media, Internet Is Clueless
https://www.ndtv.com/feature/myster...les-social-media-internet-is-clueless-4208629

Identification: Marine mammal - probably cetacean or seal.
 

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That's the default behavior, for sure. It's now a trope to say "alien", "mutant" or "new species" in every one of these mystery carcass comment threads.
Yes, it's almost as though they got hold of a photo and did absolutely no research at all, isn't it? While 'social media' and 'the internet' might have no ideas at all, I'm pretty sure that a half way competant marine biologist could come up with half a dozen...
 
Oh come on it's obviously a mutant bigfoot UFO pilot who crashed in the sea after being brought down by HAARP waves from Lemuria and got half eaten by sea monsters. Where's the mystery in that?
 
I'm tempted to say it's a symptom of the current near-demise of true investigative journalism, but for some reason this phenomenon goes back at least a half century. I've seen stories like this since my childhood. A variant that occurs from time to time is when someone comes across a slime mold or frog spawn and the story becomes "invading blob creatures of unknown origin".

Part of the problem is most news media have no science reporters as such; the best most of them can do is call in the weatherman or - if they have one - the health reporter. While either of these might be trained in enough science to understand an expert with an informed analysis, they may not know who to ask. Just calling the local university and asking for a biologist isn't sufficient; they will try to come up with an answer in their own narrow area of expertise, and if the real answer is not in that area, they'll express doubt that they are right.
 
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I'm tempted to say it's a symptom of the current near-demise of true investigative journalism, but for some reason this phenomenon goes back at least a half century. I've seen stories like this since my childhood. A variant that occurs from time to time is when someone comes across a slime mold or frog spawn and the story becomes "invading blob creatures of unknown origin".

Part of the problem is most news media have no science reporters as such; the best most of them can do is call in the weatherman or - if they have one - the health reporter. While either of these might be trained in enough science to understand an expert with an informed analysis, they may not know who to ask. Just calling the local university and asking for a biologist isn't sufficient; they will try to come up with an answer in their own narrow area of expertise, and if the real answer is not in that area, they'll express doubt that they are right.
That’s true, globsters and mystery blobs are historic attention grabbers but it’s far easier today when “reporters” trawl Facebook for posts that are getting clicks and then turn them into sad excuses for news. It’s soooo easy. But, you know, I would find it far more interesting if they had experts explain what we‘re seeing. Then one might become more informed instead of dumber. But that takes a wee bit of effort.
 
That’s true, globsters and mystery blobs are historic attention grabbers but it’s far easier today when “reporters” trawl Facebook for posts that are getting clicks and then turn them into sad excuses for news. It’s soooo easy. But, you know, I would find it far more interesting if they had experts explain what we‘re seeing. Then one might become more informed instead of dumber. But that takes a wee bit of effort.
Oh soooo true!
 
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I don't think they want us 'informed'. They want us credulously swallowing whatever they feel like telling us.

Sorry. It's been a long day and I've got a headache.
 
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