Dead 'Sea Monster' Is Just a Shark Skeleton

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Everyone freaked out last week when the white, rotting corpse of an apparently horned sea beast washed up on a beach in Spain. Nobody knew for sure what it was, but some ideas included "Loch Ness monster," "water dinosaur" and "sea dragon." Perhaps disappointingly, none of those guesses were correct. The mysterious creature is just a dead shark, according to NBC News.

Experts' initial attempts to identify the creature were hindered because the carcass had to be buried due to public health risks, so analyses were made based only on photographs of the body. Most agreed that it was a fish, although some identified it as a giant oarfish, a species that has inspired whisperings of "sea monster" in the past.

According to Florida State University ichthyologist (fish expert) Dean Grubbs, it's not an oarfish. "That is definitely a shark skeleton," 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."

Other marine biologists deferred to Grubbs' expertise. "If not the leading shark morphology guy, Dean's certainly [in the] top five," tweeted David Shiffman, a shark researcher at the University of Miami.

Mystery solved!


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