Mysterious Marine Monster
Publisher's Note: Found this fascinating little article on the FoxNews website concerning the possible discovery of a sea monster. Thought you would enjoy reading about it also. Dirk
Written By Benjamin Radford / Published March 29, 2012 / Discovery News
Marine monster mystery on South Carolina beach.
A bizarre creature that washed ashore last week in South Carolina. (Discovery News)
A bizarre creature that washed ashore last week in Folly Beach, S.C., sparked speculation in the area and on the Internet that a dead sea monster might have been discovered.
The tan-brown animal with greenish patches was strange enough, but what really baffled beachgoers was its massive size and the dinosaur-like bony plates on its sides. It's not clear just how long it was, but photos suggest it exceeded 10 feet.
Like many washed-up carcasses it carried both a salty stench and an air of mystery. Speculation ran rampant, with commenters suggesting that the creature was everything from a dinosaurian sea monster to a toxin-spawned mutation to a chupacabra.
Scientists, however, were somewhat more skeptical.
One of the first to identify the monster was Dr. Shane Boylan of the South Carolina Aquarium. Two big clues allowed Boylan to identify the fish more or less immediately: the animal's shape and distinctive bony plates.
The marine monster was in fact an Atlantic sturgeon. Part of the reason the giant fish's identity was difficult to determine is that sturgeon are not normally the strange brownish tan color but instead lighter colored and silvery. The South Carolina monster's flesh color had changed as it baked in the sun. The dinosaur identification was actually pretty close to accurate; sturgeon are among the oldest bony fish in existence.
It's not surprising that the sturgeon scared and confused people; Atlantic sturgeon have been known to reach 15 feet long and weigh over 500 pounds; seeing the beasts close-up is not for the faint of heart.
Read more: www.foxnews.com/scitech/