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An unidentifiable monster found off the coast of Japan (1 of 2)
A decayed carcass accidentally netted by a Japanese trawler near New Zealand in 1977 has often been claimed by creationists and others to be a likely plesiosaur or prehistoric "sea-monster." Plesiosaurs were a group of long-necked, predatory marine reptiles with four paddle-like limbs, thought to have gone extinct with the dinosaurs about 65 million years ago. However, several lines of evidence, including lab results from tissue samples taken from the carcass before it was discarded, strongly point to the specimen being a shark, and most likely a basking shark. This should not be surprising, since basking sharks are known to decompose into "pseudoplesiosaur" forms, and their carcasses have been mistaken for "sea-monsters" many times in the past. Unfortunately, the results of scientific studies on the carcass data received less media attention than the early sensational reports, allowing widespread misconceptions about this case to continue circulating. Therefore, a thorough review of its history and the pertinent evidence is warranted...(more)