March 20 (UPI) -- Experts said a Lock Ness monster-like "legendary" creature that washed up on a Georgia beach was likely a badly decomposed shark.
Jeff Warren said she and his son came across the carcass near Darien on Saturday and a close look revealed it wasn't a seal, as they initially thought, but rather some sort of sea creature that resembled a baby Loch Ness monster.
Fishermen at Skipper's Fish Camp in nearby Darien dubbed the carcass Alty in honor of Altamaha-ha, a Nessie-like sea monster rumored to live near the Georgia coast.
"My son, who is twelve, thinks it is the child of the legendary Altamaha-ha and has now decided he wants to be a marine biologist," Warren told the Savannah Morning News.
Chantal Audran of the Tybee Island Marine Science Center, who saw a photo of the creature, said it may have been a shark in an advanced state of decomposition.
"It looks like a deep sea shark, like a frilled shark. Although I don't see gill slits," Audran said.
Tara Cox, associate professor of marine sciences at Savannah State University, suggested it appeared to be a former basking shark.
"I did some digging, and yes, a basking shark looks surprisingly like a mythological/prehistoric sea serpent when it decomposes," she said.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe agreed that a basking shark was the likely culprit, as they have been known to decompose in such a way that they start to resemble prehistoric and legendary creatures.