Marine Biology

Unusual Sea Life Carcass Washes up on Spanish Beach

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"Unusual Sea Life Carcass Washes up on Spanish Beach"
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A mysterious horned sea monster had the world baffled after it recently washed up on a beach in Spain. Already decomposed, the corpse of the unknown creature appeared on the Luis Siret Beach in the Andalusian village of Villaricos. It had been initially found by a beachgoer who had been swimming.

It was mysterious looking and possessed two horns. Upon looking at it, no one was quite sure what exactly it was that had emerged from the waters. Was it a horned monster or a dragon? Some other mutant creature? Or did the Loch Ness Monster have a cousin no one knew about?

A report published by the Independent used the descriptive words "sea devil".

Theories were varied, but one thing everyone agreed on was that the find was an oddity. The creature's remains were found in several pieces. First, the swimmer had stumbled upon the dual horns, and subsequently found the body a bit further down the shore.

According to Gawker, the remains were about 13 feet in length (four meters) and was emitting a terrible odor. The aroma was so bad, the carcass was buried in the sand for what was described as health and hygiene reasons.

"A lady found one part, and we helped her retrieve the rest," Civil Protection coordinator Maria Sanchez was quoted as saying, according to NBC News. "We have no idea what it was. It really stank, as it was in the advanced stages of decomposition."

“Promar experts are trying to find out what it could be," Sanchez added.

Promar is Spain's Programa en Defensa de la Fauna Marina-Sea Life Defense Program, described in media reports as a marine­ protection society.

For days scientists and authorities mused over what it could be using photographs and samples that were taken on the beach before the mystifying creature was buried. Some researchers theorized it was a type of fish, others said shark. A widespread thought was it was an oarfish, which lives in deep, tropical waters and can grow up to dozens of feet long.

While an affirmative answer may never be known for sure since no DNA testing or other physical tests can be performed, it appears a consensus has been reached about the mystifying creature. Experts believe the remains come from a type of shark.

"That is definitely a shark skeleton," Florida State University ichthyologist Dean Grubbs told NBC News. "The elements toward the back were confusing me, but those are the lower caudal fin supports. The ‘horns’ are the scapulocoracoids, which support the pectoral fins."

Grubbs specializes in marine biology, particularly sharks.

At least two other experts agree with Grubbs, according to Grind TV.   

While experts have not conclusively said, many media reports suggested some theorized the carcass to be that of a thresher shark. Because of the inability to examine the carcass to see if it possessed cartilage or bone, it is hard to come to an affirmative conclusion. Additionally, the two horns also are puzzling, and some reports indicate it may not have come from the same creature or may not be horns at all, but bones or a portion of a tail.

Unfortunately, the world will likely never know for sure.

More about this author: Leigh Goessl

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