shark maine beach
A strange and disgusting looking sea creature has washed up on a Maine coastline, leading some people to speculate that beach dwelling aliens or even some sort of fantasy flying dog had landed for a spot of sunbathing.

The bizarre animal was photographed by Amy Cesar during a Thursday morning stroll along Higgins Beach. The image soon sparked great media interest, with people taking to social media to ponder what abnormal sea creature it could be.

"Isn't that the flying creature from the 'Neverending Story'?" one person asked.

Meanwhile, another Twitter user labelled the creature a "sort of ocean alien unicorn sea beach thing."

But experts from Marine Mammals of Maine have stepped in to help identify the 600-pound carcass. According to the agency, the rotting remains were actually once a species of shark.

George Burgess, a shark scientist of the Florida Program for Shark Research, also stopped the rumour mill in its tracks by giving people a more plausible explanation than those being bandied about online.

"I can almost tell you what it is before even looking at it," Burgess told Live Science. "It's a basking shark," he added.

The body of the dead skeletal shark was eventually hauled away from the sandy coastline by an excavator truck.