ANDALUSIA, Spain — A 13-foot long sea creature washed ashore in Spain that appeared to have horns has bemused viewers of the photo, who have joked it may be the Loch Ness monster or the cutest flying dog ever, Falkore the luckdragon from “Never Ending Story.”
Experts however, have suggested the decaying carcass that ended up on an Andalusian beach may be that of an oarfish or thresher shark. The rarely sighted oarfish, a scaleless fish, can grow to a confirmed 36 feet in length. The thresher shark, or fox shark, has a long caudal fin that is used against prey.
NBC News reported one expert was confident the skeleton belonged to a shark.
"That is definitely a shark skeleton," Florida State University ichthyologist Dean 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."
A woman discovered a part of the creature on the Andalusian beach. She reported it to authorities, who were able to retrieve the rest of the smelly, decomposed body. Spanish news site Ideal reported Civil Defense buried the body after taking pictures for identification.
Program in Defense of Marine Animals is working to identify the remains from the image.