In late May, a Peninsula resident found the remains of a mysterious creature that had washed ashore, looking unlike any familiar animal. Today photos have emerged that appear to put an end to the mystery.
The creature was discovered on Island View Beach by Nathan Eyre and April Hollihan, who were out for a walk. The carcass was too badly decomposed to identify easily, but had a number of unusual looking features. It had skin that resembled a dolphin’s, had a snout that looked like a crocodile’s and appeared to have teeth or sharp hooks running down its long tail.
Theories ranged from a shark, to a rare creature, to even – could it be – the reclusive Cadborosaurus?
Brian Timmer, a biologist in the Juanes Lab at UVic analyzed the photos and thought it was most likely a longnose skate (Raja rhina) or possibly a big skate (Raja binoculata). However, it was difficult to tell as the wings were missing, either chopped up by a fisherman for a tasty meal or eaten by marine scavengers.
Now photos have emerged, taken May 4, of the creature around three weeks before it was found in a decomposed state. There were actually three of them, all washed ashore within a few feet of each other and all missing their wings.
Thanks to the new photos, Timmer’s original prediction is confirmed as a skate. Timmer had speculated that fishermen might have cut the wings off the animal, as they taste similar to scallops, and then dumped the carcasses overboard. This seems to be a distinct possibility as the new photos show all three animals missing their wings, while the rest of their bodies are otherwise intact.