Photos and video of a strange sea creature apparently washed up on a Georgia beach launched wild speculation: Was it an ancient monster? Dinosaur? Star Wars alien come to life (and death)?
The photo and video were sent by Waycross, Ga., man Jeff Warren to several media outlets near Savannah, Ga. Warren originally thought the carcass, found at Wolf Island National Wildlife Refuge, was a dead seal, reported First Coast News.
There were some birds pecking at it, but they flew away when he approached and realized it was something else, he said in an email to the Savannah Morning News and others.
Scientists aren’t exactly sure what it is - but they’re pretty sure it’s not a monster or a dinosaur.
An expert from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service told Action News Jax it may have been a partially decomposed basking shark., which he said looks significantly different from the shape of the shark’s body when it was allowed. Tara Cox, an associate professor of marine sciences at Savannah State University, told the Savannah Morning News she agreed.
On the other hand, it could also be totally bogus.
Scientists at Georgia Southern and the University of Georgia both told the Savannah Morning News the creature looked fake. Other researchers at Jacksonville University also labeled the creature a hoax, reported News4Jax.
The reason? The creature bears a striking resemblance to the Altamaha-ha, or ‘Altie,’ a legendary creature said to live in the brackish waters of coastal Georgia.
“We see sturgeon sharks all the time that swim in groups along the top of the water that many people think is the Altamaha-ha,” fishing boat captain Dwight Gale told First Coast News. The creature’s body was not recovered.