KEY POINTS

  • The creature was spotted on Broad Haven South beach in Pembrokeshire
  • It was about 23 feet long and was in the early stages of decomposition
  • Experts said it might be a basking shark 

A mysterious-looking creature, with its head missing, washed up on a beach in Wales last week, baffling experts. 

The organism, which resembled a "large blob," was dead and was in the early stage of decomposition when it was found on Broad Haven South beach in Pembrokeshire, reported  Wales Online. It was about 23 feet long.

Pictures of the mammoth creature showed that it has an object, a roll of something, inside its body. Scientists from the Marine Environmental Monitoring, who arrived at the spot to investigate, initially thought it was a whale.

"Also, within one of the pictures we had been provided, it looked like there was a possible large roll of something within the stomach. Due to this, we decided to attend. On arriving, it became clear that it was not a whale and instead some form of large fish - around 7m in length. Also, the thing that we thought was a large roll of something turned out to be just one of its vertebrate[sic]," they said. 

The team sent pictures of the creature to the Natural History Museum. "All evidence currently points to it being a basking shark”. “We have taken several photos of key parts and taken some samples so that we can try and confirm that it is a basking shark," the organization said on its Facebook page.

A spokesman for Marine Environmental Monitoring says basking sharks are present in the waters around the British coastline, but it rarely washes up ashore in Wales.

"The basking shark is the second-largest shark, with the adults growing to around eight meters in length, which is possibly how long this one was when it died. The whale shark is the only one that grows larger. Like the whale shark, the basking shark is a filter feeder with a greatly enlarged mouth," the Facebook post read. 

This was the second time in the last few months that a basking shark had washed up on a Welsh beach. 

"We did try and find the one at Newport to take samples but failed to locate it due to it being taken out by the tide and deposited in different locations each day," the organization said.

beach Representational image Photo: AFPTV / Jonathan KLEIN