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How did the Loch Ness Monster of Scottish legend manage to wash ashore at Wolf Island National Wildlife Refuge off the Georgia coast in the U.S.? The short answer is that it didn’t; this sea creature is not the world famous mythological beast sought out by cryptozoologists from across the globe. However, it sure does resemble sketches of Nessie and has locals wondering if it might just be their very own Altamaha-ha, a sea monster believed to lurk in the marshes near the mouth of Georgia’s Altamaha River.

Action News Jax reports that boater Jeff Warren discovered the bizarre-looking carcass while exploring the Golden Isles with his son. He says he initially thought it was a dead seal, but upon closer inspection, noted its looks — which feature a long neck and very small head — were more of a “Loch Ness-type thing” or even a Jurassic-age animal, such as the plesiosaur.

According to Savannah Now, Warren described his discovery to folks at the nearby Skipper’s Fish Camp in Darien. Locals have taken to calling the creature “Alty,” a.k.a. Altamaha-ha, a mythological sea monster rumored to lurk in the coastal marshes near Georgia’s Altamaha River. Interestingly, Patch notes that this region was originally settled by Scottish Highlanders, who likely brought their Loch Ness Monster legend with them.

Experts, however, tend to pooh-pooh monster talk. Dan Ashe of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service told Action News Jax that basking sharks may decompose in a such a way whereby they end up looking like a prehistoric creature.

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Similarly, Chantal Audran of the Tybee Island Marine Science Center told Savannah Now, “It looks like a deep sea shark, like a frilled shark. Although I don’t see gill slits.” Her colleague, Mark Dodd of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, agreed but said that without a body to necropsy they can’t do a proper analysis.

“The body was unfortunately not recovered,” said Audran. “Boy, if I could get my scalpel on that guy, the awesome things I could learn!”

Still, other people think this “monster” sighting is a hoax. Nessie would be so proud.

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