Beach goers in New Zealand got a grim look at a toothy, emaciated carcass that washed ashore recently, prompting speculation that the rotting remains belonged to some sort of mysterious sea monster or pre-historic creature.
The creature was found by a group driving along the beach in four-wheeled vehicles along the Bay of Plenty near Pukehina, about 250 km southeast of the capital Auckland.
A YouTube video posted April 28 reports that the creature was found on the beach the week before.
The YouTube user, Elizabeth Ann, wrote, "This strange marine creature washed up dead on Pukehina Beach in the Bay of Plenty last week after some violent storms.
Can anyone identify what it is? It is has a huge head and teeth with rudimentary flippers. It seems about 9 meter in length but the lower part of the body is probably mainly entrails from an attack."
After marine biologist Anton van Helden inspected the 9 meter creature, he deflated the local's speculation that the carcass was from pre-history.
Based on an examination of the creature's flippers, van Helden determined the carcass belonged to an orca. Killer whales, also referred to as orca, are common in the Bay of Plenty.
New Zealand, along with Canada, Florida and Newfoundland, are among the most common places in the world for such "sea monsters" to wash up.
Often the washed-up creatures are so badly decomposed that they bear no resemblance to any known animals, often prompting many people to think they have spotted a sea monster or some sort of dinosaur.