‘Salish Sea Monster’, strange animal found in WashingtonThursday 21st December 2023
A strange creature has washed up on a beach in Washington. It was found by Eric Evans, who is convinced the animal is real. Experts who have taken a look at the pictures of the creature seem split on its identity, with some believing it to be a hoax and others saying it is a decomposed ragfish.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife said: “I shared the images and video with both fish and wildlife biologists in our department and we’re similarly stumped! Basically, the conclusion from our biologists is that this is unfortunately too far decomposed to identify.”
Casey Cook, from the Marine Life Center at Bellingham said that some parts of the animal looked to be shark liked, however other parts had more whale like features. She further thought that the fish could be a hoax, based on the mesh-like material which can be seen through the body, but that this could have been something the animal had eaten, she said that:
“Long story short – the big picture is very conflicting and I have no answer for you.”
Ali Redman of the Marine Science Center in Port Townsend, also had a look at the strange creature and said that:
“It took me a little while to even see that it is a fish. A lot of the features used for identification aren’t visible or are missing, and my eyes might be deceiving me on some others.
I can’t figure out the skin texture. In some places it looks like plates, in others like desiccated skin. I think I’m seeing abdominal pelvic fins which is an ancestral trait and rare in modern bony fish. That narrows it down a lot.
If the skin does not have scales or plates I’d go with a ratfish or chimera as my best guess.”
However, Jessie Huggins, from Cascadia Research, did not think the fish was a marine creature at all. But, she did past the photo onto Jeff Bradley and Katherine Maslenikov, from the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle. Who disagree and believe the fish to be real:
Jeff said: “It took some squinting, but those are definitely fins – one on the side, and one on the end. Katherine eventually admitted it looks like a ragfish – the bony parts sticking out of the end appear to be the skull, but at a weird angle. Ragfish are pretty rare in the Salish Sea, so this was an unusual find.”