A CARCASS found washed up on a beach in North Devon which initially was suggested could be the remains of the ‘Exmoor Beast’, has been officially identified as that of a grey seal.
The skull (pictured) of the creature found in Croyde Bay was taken away for examination by the Centre for Fortean Zoology, which is based in North Devon and investigates reports of ‘unknown’ animals.
Centre director Jon Downes and colleagues studied the skull and other evidence to identify it as quickly as possible.
They concluded it was a grey seal with ‘abnormal nasal cavities’ which gave it more a ‘beast’ appearance.
Mr Downes said: “The story is solved. It was a seal which may have had slightly abnormal nasal cavities.
“We are now in a position to be able to state this as incontrovertible fact.
“The CFZ went out and got the skull, and will be keeping it in our museum because of the minor position which it will always hold in the history of cryptozoology.”
Photographs of the corpse were also sent to be studied by Tetrapod Zoology, which agreed with the conclusion.
Zoologist Darren Naish said: “Without doubt it is a grey seal after all.
“Short nasals and a deep nasal cavity are both characteristic of Halichoerus, the grey seal.
“The skull definitely belongs to that taxon, case closed.”