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'Prehistoric sea monster' washes up on shore - and baffles visitors

Mirror logo Mirror 10-11-2016 Marc Walker
Credits: GEtty © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: GEtty

A bizarre-looking skeleton found on a beach went viral after being identified as a "sea monster" that lived more than 250 million years ago.

But scientists now believe the creature is the remains of a "suicidal dolphin" that deliberately beached itself in a bid to end its life.

It was thought the bones belonged to an Ichthyosaurus - which stalked the oceans millions of years ago and was one of the top predators during the Triassic and early Jurassic periods.

Experts now say that the skeleton discovered on the beach in the village of Illyinskoye in the far eastern Russian Sakhalin Oblast region is actually that of the depressed aquatic sea animal. 

The image [click here to see it] shows the decaying remains of the huge creature, where the bones can clearly be seen despite being partly covered in sand and seaweed.

When it was wrongly said to be an Ichthyosaurus, the snap went viral.

But local scientist Nickolay Kim, from the Sakhalin Research Center, said it was more likely a suicidal dolphin that had deliberately beached itself.

Credits: Getty © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Getty

He said: "Judging by its beak, I think we can say with certainty that it is a skeleton, and its position up the beach is not unusual as dolphins and whales have been known to leap onto the beach to kill themselves, although it is not known why.

"Its body is almost rotten, so it is hard to define the exact species, but there is no doubt it was a dolphin."

One online wag posted: "Dolphin or not, it looks creepy, and I bet it smells awful too."

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