Sea serpent? Alien fish? Just what is this thing?
A very strange-looking creature, just under seven feet long washed ashore in New Zealand on Monday. The body resembled an eel or snake, but the head was something out of a science-fiction movie.
Veterinarian Maria Lombard posted the photos of the alien-looking find on Facebook where they've caused a small stir. But before speculations of a sea serpent or other monster could even get going, the animal was positively identified as a New Zealand smooth skate (Dipturus innominatus) by the Museum of New Zealand Papa Tongarewa.
The New Zealand smooth skate is a strange-looking, bottom-dwelling sea creature that is similar in appearance to a stingray.
Apparently, the one found on the beach has already heavily decomposed. The strange "head" is actually all that is left of the strange animal's brain case. The species is currently considered threatened in New Zealand due to over-fishing.
It just goes to show that it pays to always check with the experts first. It may not be a sea serpent, but you would never guess that on a first glance at the strange carcass.
Images via Facebook.