The discovery of a decaying “modern day dinosaur” left bemused fishermen on-board a vessel holding their noses – due to the stench the corpse was omitting.
The 30ft discovery was reeled in on a Japanese fishing boat named Zuiyo Maru back in 1977 off the New Zealand coast, and the creature is still creating conversation 46 years later.
The creature was huge, weighing in at about 1,800 kilograms with a long neck, four big red fins, and a tail over two metres long.
But the boat captain, Akira Tanaka, decided to throw the creature back into the sea due to its strong, unpleasant smell.
Before doing so, the crew took pictures and collected samples of its skin, fins, and bones – for further analysis.
Scientists debated what the creature could be. Some thought it might be a sea serpent or an ancient sea creature called a plesiosaur.
This sparked a lot of interest, even a “plesiosaur craze” in Japan. They searched for more evidence but didn’t find anything.
However, not everyone was convinced. One scientist, Hans-Christian Bjerring, questioned the findings and suggested looking at the samples under a microscope.
After studying the evidence, it was later believed that the creature was likely a basking shark or a similar kind of shark.
As these sharks decompose, they can look like ancient creatures. This discovery highlighted the importance of careful scientific investigation to understand the truth.