Ta oxide nanotubes (NTs) were formed by the anodization of Ta at 15 V in a solution of concentrated sulfuric acid containing 0.8-1.0 M hydrofluoric acid. To study the initial stages of NT formation, FESEM images of samples anodized for very short times were obtained. The results contradict the existing explanation of the current-time data collected during anodization, which has persisted in the literature for more than two decades. In addition to providing a first-time morphological study of Ta oxide NT formation at very early stages of anodization, we also propose a new interpretation of the i-t response, showing that pores are already present in the first few milliseconds of anodization and that NTs are formed well before present models predict. This behaviour may also extend to the anodization of other valve metals, such as Al, Ti, Zr, W, and Nb.