Officials found the rotting, smelly corpse and tried to identify it. They quickly noted “horns” near the top of what must be the creature’s head.
Photos from Ideal.es Ameria Facebook page
That was all it took to send speculation into the stratosphere. Fortunately scientists quickly entered the fray and determined that the 13-foot carcass was that of a shark.
According to Dean Grubbs an ichthyologist at Florida State University, “That is definitely a shark skeleton. 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.”
Another scientist, David Shiffman who is a marine biologist, said, “It’s hard to tell, but the official guess that it could be a thresher shark seems plausible.” He added, “I freely defer to Dean Grubb’s expertise in any question related to fish morphology.” Here’s what a thresher shark looks like when alive:
That would seem to lend even more credibility to Grubb’s assessment that this carcass is indeed that of a badly decomposed shark. A third scientist, Dr. Chris Lowe of the Cal State Long Beach Sharklab emailed GrindTV Outdoor to report, “I tend to agree with Dean on this one. The lower elements do look like elasmobranch (shark) vertebrae. Probably some type of shark.”
It’s easy to see why everyone got excited and was thinking this was the definitive proof of some wonderful sea monster, but when viewing these things we have to remember that decomposition is an ugly, deforming, transforming process.
Turns out this was nothing more than the rotting corpse of a basking shark. The whole article can found here:
Fortunately we have science to guide us in determining what washes up on shore. But don’t be discouraged – I still firmly believe that there are big, huge, crazy creatures lurking in the depths of our oceans. It’s only a matter of time before we, and science, discover them.
Til the next time!