A mysterious sea creature, with a furry tail and long dolphin-like beak, has marine experts scratching their heads after it washed up on the shore of Russia’s Sakhalin Island.
The Siberian Times published photos of the as-yet unidentified sea animal, according to the Inquisitr.
Images show the carcass bloodied with bones exposed after being partially eaten by predators. The strange-looking creature has a matted coat of fur on its tail and is about the size of an adult human being.
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Marine experts have been unable to identify the animal’s species thus far, but they note its similarity to the dolphin.
“Judging by the appearance of the head, this is clearly some big dolphin,” Nikolay Kim, Deputy Head of the Forecasting Department of the Sakhalin Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography, told The Siberian Times. “According to a characteristic of the skin, it is a rare species.”
Professor David Smith, a marine expert at Essex University, said that the creature could be a “pre-historic specimen frozen for thousands of years in the permafrost,” according to MailOnline.
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The thick fur has baffled scientists, who say that even though the creature resembles a dolphin, the 40 dolphin species found around the world have none.
“I can confidently say that this is some kind of a dolphin,” Kim said. “However, it has fur. It's unusual. Dolphins do not have any fur.”
Pictures of the carcass were posted on social media, where one user joked that the animal got lost and made it to Russia.
“Probably, our summer is so cold that even the Indian Dolphins getting into local waters, are covered with fur,” one user wrote.
Others noted the resemblance of the creature to the Ganges River dolphin, but experts pointed out that these dolphins would not be able to survive in the salty ocean on their way to Sakhalin Island.
Alex Rogers, professor of conservation biology at Oxford University, believes the animal is a giant-beaked whale.
Photo Credit: SakhalinMedia via The Siberian Times