The skeletal remains of a mystery animal spotted hanging halfway out of an iceberg that floated past the coast of Newfoundland last week has researchers scratching their heads, CanWest News Service reports.
Photos of the remains were taken by iceberg watcher Donna Norris on May 27 and sent via e-mail to Fisheries and Oceans research scientist Gary Stenson the following day. The iceberg has since drifted away or melted, and without a DNA sample to work from, Stenson and his colleagues can only guess as to the origin of the eight-foot-long skeleton and how it became lodged in the ice.
Stenson e-mailed the photos to fellow marine mammal colleagues, some as far away as Norway and Greenland. They narrowed it down to the seal family.
Known as pinnipeds, that family consists of three groups: walrus; sea lions and fur seals; and hair seals, such as harp, grey or bearded seals. "If it's a pinniped, it's big one," said Stenson. "The suggestions have been that perhaps it's a large bearded seal or a walrus, which is also very large."