Photo: AP Images
Many sea animals (and at least one land walker) seem to have lost their way this year, winding up on sandy shores instead of their native ocean home. For the majority of these critters, the story did not end well.
Here’s a look back at all the bizarre creatures, and parts of creatures, that have been discovered on beaches in 2012.
A malnourished finback whale, which are endangered, beached itself on a Breezy Point beach in Queens, New York this week. Rescue workers were unable to save the sickly whale and it died a day later.
Marine biologists were puzzled by the death of 500 Magellanic penguins that were found on a beach in Southern Brazil in July. Magellenic penguins are threatened by oil pollution, but these animals seemed to be healthy and no oil stains were found on their bodies.
A 40,000-pound dead fin whale washed ashore in Malibu near the massive homes of celebrities and millionaires in early December. The body was left to rot for nearly a week while authorities quibbled over who would take care of removing the animal. The decomposing carcass was eventually towed out to sea.
Millions of pea-sized purple sea creatures invaded beaches of O'ahu in Hawaii in July. The mysterious critters were later identified as reef crabs in a larvae stage, though a mass influx like this had never been seen by scientists before.
The carcass of a 50-foot-long Southern right whale temporarily closed beaches near Cape Town, South Africa, when it washed ashore in October. The whale appeared to have been attacked by Great White sharks since large chunks of the whale's tail were missing.
A swordfish was named as the likely source of a grapefruit-sized eyeball found on a Florida beach in October that initially baffled wildlife experts.
A dog walker discovered more than 40,000 pounds of dead herring on a Norwegian Beach at the beginning of the year. It's not clear what caused the mass death, but some people thought a giant fish or killer whale chased the herring to shore.
Several butchered dolphin corpses have washed up on the shores of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama over the past year. Authorities believe this is the work of human killers since dolphins don't mutilate each other.
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