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Montauk Monster: Mystery animal corpse becomes web sensation

Posted on 10:43 PM by Sameer Shah



The identity of this creature, which reportedly washed up on a New York beach last month, has captivated the blogosphere and is dividing animal experts.

* Have your say: What is the 'Montauk Monster'?

The beast, dubbed the Montauk Monster after the Long Island resort where it was discovered, has a hairless, leathery body, sharp teeth and what appears to be a beak.

A photo of the animal appeared on the gossip website Gawker earlier this week under the headline “Dead Monster Washes Ashore in Montauk”, and the story has since been picked up by US networks Fox News and CNN.

The woman who claims to have taken the original photo on Montauk beach on July 12 says she had no idea what the creature was.

"We were looking for a place to sit when we saw some people looking at something," said Jenna Hewitt.

"We were kind of amazed," the 26-year-old added, "shocked and amazed."

Other locals have now come forward to say they saw the animal, which has been variously identified by blog commenters as a dog, raccoon, and shell-less sea turtle.

The dog theory, which depends on the creature's beak actually being a nasal cavity, currently appears to have most support.

An initial theory that the image may be a hoax produced as part of a viral marketing campaign has been undermined by the number of witnesses.

It is unclear what happened to the corpse. Michael Meehan, a waiter at a beachside restaurant in Montauk who also claims to have seen the beast, said that animal control were called, but others say it was removed before they arrived.

"They say an old guy came and carted it away," Ms Hewitt told New York magazine. "He said, 'I'm going to mount it on my wall.'"

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