Monday, November 29, 2021

Mysterious crocodile-like creature washes up on Welsh beach


A mysterious crocodile-like creature washed up on a Welsh beach, causing quite the debate before a marine biologist provided an answer.

Beth Jannetta was walking her three dogs near Rhossili, Swansea, when she came across the decomposing creature with a long tail and large head, which she estimated to be around one metre long.

Bearing a strange resemblance to a crocodile, the 41-year-old placed a photo of the animal on Facebook, with many weighing in with their theories of what it could be.

“I was going for a run with my dogs when I came across it. It looked like a well rotted cetacean to me. I put it on Facebook and it caused a big discussion.

“Other people think it is something different, like a crocodile. It would be very interesting to find out what species it is,” she said.

Dr. Dan Forman, of the Swansea ecology research team at Swansea University’s department of biosciences, has now offered his view on what it could be.

He said: “Its jawline suggests it is like a cetacean whale or a dolphin. We get a reasonable amount of whales and dolphins, a lot which are dead and decomposed in places like Pendine and Rhossili.

“From the data around carcasses washed up, there seems to be a cluster this time of year around June and July. The jaw is thin in places and it looks from the picture like it is upside down.

“When you look at it the first time you may think it is a crocodile, but it is certainly not. There is a big bulge on the base of the skull which is characteristic of a cetacean.”

Mark Hipkin, National Trust area ranger, collected the creature from the beach on Thursday and confirmed it was a porpoise, adding: “It is only about five foot long. We picked it up on a Land Rover at around 8am this morning and reported it to the council.

“We have porpoises washing up quite regularly, as well as dolphins and seals and sometimes sheep.

“It has not been very stormy weather lately, but there has been a lot of dog fish in the last couple of days.” Dr Forman advised anyone who finds a dead stranded animal to contact the UK Stranding Network.

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