MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's a sign the birth of a whale calf may have taken place in Hawaii waters, whale experts say.
A mysterious floating mass (that could've easily been mistaken for a white, wet bed sheet in the water) was found off of Maui last week.
What is it? A presumed whale placenta, according to the Pacific Whale Foundation.
They say it's a rare find that serves as an indicator the Humpback whale population may be growing.
"It is generally accepted that humpback whales migrate to Hawaii's waters to breed and calve their young, however an actual birth has not yet been documented," the foundation said in a press release.
"Humpback whale placenta would perhaps be the next best evidence of the birthing process taking place."
Scientists say whale placenta is easily dislodged during whale birth. After the birth takes place, the placenta simply floats away.
It was not immediately known what time or exactly where the placenta was discovered, but whale watchers found it during a whale watching journey out at sea.
Hawaii's whale season runs from November to May. Peak months for whale activity in the islands is January through March.
The mammals migrate to Hawaii during those times in favor of warmer waters for calf births and to raise their young.