Thursday, 8 January 2009

'Exmoor Beast' or 'grey seal' debate over carcass found on beach

CLAIMS that the remains of the ‘Exmoor Beast’ may have been washed up on a beach have been dismissed by animal experts.
The carcass of a creature was spotted on rocks at Croyde, in North Devon, by people out walking on Tuesday and the police were alerted.
Although badly decomposed, the body of the ‘beast’ was described as being ‘the size of a calf’ but with jaws containing ‘canine teeth’.
The creature was five feet long with black fur and its teeth were said to make it look ‘quite beastlike’.
Opinion on the identity of the remains has been divided, with initial excitement generated by suggestions it could be the fabled ‘Beast of Exmoor’, which first hit the headlines 30 years ago after a series of mysterious sheep killings.
But now experts believe it is more likely to be a marine creature, possibly a seal or a sea lion
Its size and dental formula with a mammalian teeth structure and the spacing of the ribs and skeletal bones pointed to it being a grey seal, and certainly a marine-dweller.
Exmoor Zoo education officer Stephen Eddy said: “My guess is a seal, looking at its teeth and shape of the limbs.”

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