A giant horned fish carcass that washed ashore has authorities puzzling over the mysterious creature, wondering whether it’s the remains of an oarfish, a shark or even a Loch Ness monster type animal, NBC News reported on Aug. 21.
Everyone loves a good mystery, especially when it involves strange, unidentified creatures, and this giant horned fish is no exception.
The 13-foot long, ripe carcass of the possible oarfish was discovered on Luis Siret Beach in the Andalusian village of Villaricos in Spain last week. Locals had no idea what the stinky carcass was, except that it was giant, appeared to be horned, and was a fish of some sort.
Identification of the sea creature could get tricky because apparently the decomposing fish carcass has already been buried by sand, with only photos left to show that the mysterious sea creature wasn’t just a figment of someone’s imagination.
Images of the giant horned fish went viral, and people around the world weighed in on what it could be, with some saying oarfish and some guessing a shark of some kind, such as a thresher shark. Others let the imaginations run more wild, suggesting it was a relative of the Loch Ness monster.
The presence of what appeared to be horns on the creature led some to suggest an oarfish, since they have dorsal fin rays on their heads that can look hornlike. But others said it was possible that the horns are actually bones or segments of the creature's tail.
Late Wednesday night, it appeared that the giant horned fish mystery had been solved, when Florida State University ichthyologist Dean Grubbs emailed NBC News that he believes it to be a shark skeleton, not an oarfish.
"That is definitely a shark skeleton," Grubbs told NBC News in an email. "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."
Do you agree? What’s your best guess? Oarfish? Giant horned fish? Or the Spanish version of the Montauk Monster?