Oarfish, thresher shark or devil sea monster?
SPECULATION continues to surround the discovery of a 13ft horned "sea devil" on a beach in south east Spain.
The creature, which was stumbled upon by an unfortunate swimmer, was found on the shores of the Almanzora caves near the Luis Siret beach in Villaricos (Almería).
The horns of the so far unidentified creature were separated from the rest of the carcass and lay nearby.
Experts from the country's marine protection society, Promar, are now analysing the "sea monster" in a bid to identify it. Samples were taken and the rest of the body was buried for hygiene reasons.
Civil protection coordinator Maria Sanchez told Digital Spy: "We have no idea what it was, but it smelled bad because it was so badly decomposed."
She added: "A lady found one part, and we helped her retrieve the rest...We have no idea what it was. It really stank, as it was in the advanced stages of decomposition".
A spokesman for the Marine Biological Association said: "A few people have said it could be the backbone of a shark with the rest of it decaying away.
"Really we would need a vertebrae to properly identify it. If it was a shark it would have cartilage skeleton as opposed to bone.
"As for the horns - it's pretty inconclusive. No one knows of anything with horns in the sea. From the picture you wonder if it is even part of the creature."
Another suggestion has been that the animal could be an oarfish - large elongated fish found in all temperate tropical oceans.
David Shiffman, a University of Miami shark researcher told NBC "the official guess that it could be a thresher shark seems plausible."
He also suggested the fish might be a giant oarfish. Oarfish sightings often prompt tales of sea serpents and the animals are rarely captured on video or camera.
Shiffman suggested that the 'horns' of the creature could actually be bones or segments of the animal's tail.