Ahh, a romantic stroll on the beach. There’s moonlight, a warm breeze, soft waves lapping at your toes and a putrid, rotting carcass that smells so bad you can’t help but throw up. So. Romantic.

For some people, this is an unfortunate reality. All around the world, unlucky beachgoers have stumbled across the bodies of mysterious creatures that no one can explain. Some look like they’ve been rotting for 5 centuries, while others appear to be the offspring of an everyday farm animal and something you’d see from a whale watching boat. Whatever they are, they’ve been baffling scientists for decades. And they’re gross.

Montauk Monster

Credit: Wikipedia

Two women found this lovely carcass on a beach in Montauk, New York. It’s rumoured to be a hoax because the body was conveniently never made available for testing (it’s supposedly rotting in an unnamed person’s backyard), but still. It’s cool. Those who believe it’s real think it’s a diseased dog (weird), a raccoon (not as weird) or a sea turtle (really weird). This is what a sea turtle looks like, in case you've forgotten. Please compare.

Credit: earthsfriends.com

Panama Creature

Credit: telemetro

A year later, this tasty treat was discovered in Panama. According to the rumor, two kids saw it hanging out near a cave and beat it to death. That’s a big fat lie because an autopsy determined it was the decomposed, bloated body of a hairless sloth. Please notice the resemblence (especially the claws):

Credit: unknown

Ontario Beast

Credit: dailymail.co.uk

In the town of Kitchenuhmaykoosib, Ontario, two ladies were out for a pleasant morning hike when their dog decided to fetch the grossest thing possible. He dropped this weird beast at their feet and they, along with the rest of the world, had no clue what it was. Despite its resemblance to the offspring of a rat and a boar, most think it’s a raccoon. Whatever it is, it has lovely fur.

Credit: pictureshunt.com

New Zealand Dinosaur

New Zealand(62478)
Credit: gennet.org

While trawling for mackerel off the coast of New Zealand, a Japanese fishing boat pulled up something that was definitely not mackerel. According to a guy from Japan’s National Science Museum, it’s not a whale, a fish or even a mammal, so by default it’s a dinosaur. A plesiosaur, to be exact. How can a dinosaur stay somewhat preserved for hundreds of millions of years, you ask? Well, it might have been mummified on the bottom of the sea and eventually floated to the surface. Or, it might have been alive the whole time. Too bad we’ll never know because the fishermen threw it back in the ocean. But either way, it does look a heck of a lot like this artist’s representation of a plesiosaur:

New Zealand(62479)
Credit: discoverynews.us

Scotland Mystery

Credit: dailymail.co.uk

A woman out for a beach walk (typical scenario for finding yucky creatures, it seems) stumbled upon this 30-foot skeleton in Aberdeen, Scotland. Most people thought it was some generic Nessie-type monster, while others believe it’s a plain old pilot whale. Decide for yourself:

Credit: cms.int

Russian Sheep Shark Thing

Credit: englishrussia.com

Russian soldiers found this tasty treat in the most eastern part of Russian. At first glance it looks like an alligator, but it actually has skin with fur, and what appears to be sheep’s head. Like most monsters, the corpse was whisked away for “in-depth studies” and nobody has heard anything since.

China Monster

Credit: thesun.co.uk

This gnarly sea monster washed up on the shores of China in June 2011. It’s 55 feet long, and despite its deflated appearance, it still weighed in at 4.5 tons (i doubt they flopped it on a scale, so I’m not sure how they arrived at that number). The main theory is that it’s a coelencanth, which is more commonly known as a dino-fish. Coelencanths were thought to have gone extinct 65 million years ago but were rediscovered—alive—in 1938. Actually, its fossils were discovered well before a live specimen!

Credit: berkeley.edu