Tuesday 6 May 2014

Scientists puzzled by odd creature found on South African beach

Cape Town : South Africa | May 04, 2014 at 11:12 AM PDT

Leandra Visser posted the above photo on Facebook during her holiday at De Kelder near Cape Town, South Africa. Her caption read, “Can someone please tell me what the hell this is? We picked it up on the beach at De Kelder. It’s the real thing!!”

The weird looking creature is fish-like but with huge teeth and its head appears far too big for its tiny body.

According to the Afrikaans daily Die Burger, Visser denies that the image is a joke and the newspaper took it on themselves to send the photo to the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB) in Grahamstown for verification.

The paper quotes Alan Whitfield, chief SAIAB scientist as saying that just because the creature was found on a beach, does not necessarily mean it is a fish. Whitfield drew attention to the fact that the creature in the image has no fins.

According to the experts, theories vary. Some speculate that the creature could be some kind of mutated species. Others say that as the head and jaws are so out of proportion with the creature's body, it could be made up of several different creatures. The example they gave was a puffer fish that had eaten a mussel (as it looks like a mussel shell in Visser's hand in the photo).

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