Veterinarians know a lot about animals. After all, they spend years studying everything they can in order to be able to help our furry, feathery, and scaly friends in need. Since they spend every working day interacting with and treating animals, it’s rare that they’d come across something that completely puzzles them.
Still, that’s not to say that it’s impossible! No matter how much knowledge they acquire, there are still going to be the odd couple of head-scratching cases that completely stump them.
One veterinarian in Australia had been enjoying her day off when she spotted something on her property that left her speechless. When you see it, you’ll understand why she was so positively flummoxed…
Maria Lombard of Australia was walking to her mailbox when she made this impressive find. Although Maria is a trained and licensed veterinarian, she was completely stumped when it came to identifying the skeletal remains she found on her driveway.
As a veterinarian, Maria assumed that she was more than qualified to identify the mystery creature… but even she had to admit that she was truly baffled. The best she could do was document her find, taking many photographs of this strange discovery.
Once that was done, Maria took action! She uploaded all of the photographs she’d taken. Then she sent those photos, including this close-up of its skull, to marine biologists, looking for answers and hoping they could explain this strange find. And boy, did the good people of the internet have the answer! Here’s what they had to say…
Initially, it seemed like the marine biologists were stuck… but they eventually determined that this was no mysterious water dragon. It was likely the remains of a smooth skate, a sea creature that is native to Australia’s waters.
Sea skates are a type of cartilaginous fish, meaning that it is characterized by its cartilage. There are more than 20 different types of sea skates that live in Australia’s waters. The smooth skate is just one of them!
This is the skeleton of a juvenile smooth skate. It may look very different from what Maria found in her driveway, but that’s because that particular skeleton was most likely damaged during the fish’s time in the water, as well as in the process of winding up in her driveway.
By the time this smooth skate skeleton wound up in her driveway, it barely looked like itself! That said, if you know what to look for and you closely compare the head (as photographed below) with the skeleton above, the similarities are impossible to ignore.
The damaged condition of this smooth skate meant that researchers and scientists all over the world were temporarily flummoxed by its discovery. It was such a unique find they couldn’t stop themselves from sharing it.
The smooth skate is a really unique-looking member of the skate family. It skeletal remains seem so incredibly different from its living form to begin with, that it’s no small wonder that they had such a difficult time identifying the damaged remains.
It might not be a mythical creature, but that doesn’t make it any less cool! How did it find its way into her front yard? Well, that will probably remain a mystery.
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