REMAINS FROM WHALE THAT EXPLODED
Taiwan Apple Daily via Reuters
Blood and guts litter this street in Tainan, Taiwan, after decomposing organs in the sperm whale in background caused it to explode.
msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 1/29/2004 11:48:33 AM ET 2004-01-29T16:48:33

Residents of Tainan learned a lesson in whale biology after the decomposing remains of a 60-ton sperm whale exploded on a busy street, showering nearby cars and shops with blood and organs and stopping traffic for hours.

The 56-foot-long whale had been on a truck headed for a necropsy by researchers, when gases from internal decay caused its entrails to explode in the southern city of Tainan.

Residents and shop owners wore masks while trying to clean up the spilt blood and entrails.

"What a stinking mess. This blood and other stuff that blew out on the road is disgusting, and the smell is really awful," a BBC News report quoted one Tainan resident as saying.

TRUCK CARRIES THE CORPSE OF SPERM WHALE
Taiwan Apple Daily via Reuters
The sperm whale was being carried by truck through Tainan.

The whale had died on Jan. 17 after it beached itself on the southwestern coast of the island.

Researchers at the National Cheng Kung University in Tainan said enough of the whale remained to allow for an examination by marine biologists.

Once moved to a nearby nature preserve, the male specimen -- the largest whale ever recorded in Taiwan -- drew the attention of locals because of its large penis, measured at some five feet, the Taipei Times reported.

"More than 100 Tainan city residents, mostly men, have reportedly gone to see the corpse to 'experience' the size of its penis," the newspaper reported.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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