WATCH: Whoa! A Prehistoric Fish Just Washed Up In North Carolina
If you thought all the prehistoric creatures were gone you'd be wrong.
If you thought all the prehistoric creatures were gone you'd be wrong. Just ask the residents of Ocracoke Island in North Carolina's Outer Banks.
Just a few weeks ago, Mona Aly was walking along the beach when she spotted what appeared to be an alligator partially buried in the sand. However, as she dusted off the creature she found something much more perplexing. So, she snapped a photo of it and posted it to Facebook in the hopes someone could help her identify it.
"I had never seen them before," she said in an interview with McClatchy. According to Aly's post, she believed the creature was at least three or four feet long. Finally, someone came to her rescue and identified the mysterious animal. It was, as she suspected, something prehistoric.
According to the Ocracoke Current, Aly had snapped a photo of a washed up Atlantic Sturgeon.
"These fish are considered living fossils, so all the folks who commented that it looks like some prehistoric creature were on point," the paper wrote.
According to the Current, sturgeons are identifiable by the rows of bony plates on their backs, otherwise known as scutes. They aren't the only sea-dwelling creature to come with scutes as they are also found on sea turtles. The fish's tail looks something like a shark's while its whiskers make it resemble a catfish just a bit.
The one Aly spotted was likely a juvenile as adult sturgeons can grow up to 14 feet in length and weigh up to 800 pounds. And, perhaps most impressive of all, the Current noted, the fish can live for 60 years.
While Atlantic sturgeon may be considered ugly on the outside their eggs are anything but. In fact, they nearly went extinct in the late-1800's when people went in search of sturgeon eggs to fill their desire for caviar. Now, however, they are protected under the Endangered Species Act within U.S. waters. Though this mystery has been solved it does have us thinking — what else is lurking just below the water's surface?