WEIRD NEWS
05/31/2011 08:24 am ET | Updated Nov 16, 2011

Mystery River Creatures Surface On Both Sides Of The Atlantic

Was it an unknown marine monster that raised its head above the surface of the River Mersey in England on May 25? And what was the mysterious 7-foot-long creature that washed ashore near New York's famous Brooklyn Bridge on May 21?

Creature sightings, like UFOs, certainly create a sense of wonder and excitement -- until they're actually identified, stripping away the sense of something truly unexplained.

First, let's look at the "Mersey monster," so called because it was photographed by Mark Harrison as it broke the River Mersey surface near Seacombe Ferry.

"At first, I thought it was a seal," Harrison told the Liverpool Echo.

"Then it disappeared under the water for a few minutes, coming back up further upstream and quite a bit closer," Harrison recalled. "It was quite long and looked to be moving around slowly."

When Harrison posted his "Mersey monster" images online, he said, "Now look -- I'm that bloke who thinks he's seen Nessie, " referring to the legendary Loch Ness Monster of Scotland.

One expert, Paul Renolds of the Blue Planet Aquarium, studied the photos and suggested the "monster" was merely a basking shark or a small species of whale or dolphin, because there are numerous species of these creatures around the United Kingdom.

And Danielle Gibas, an officer with the Sea Watch Foundation, leaned more toward the harbor porpoise theory.

"Harbor porpoises are notoriously difficult to spot," she said. "They surface fleetingly, and have such a small dorsal fin that it is often confused with ripples or waves in the water."

And what about that odd-looking thing that washed ashore across the pond in New York City?

At the South Street Seaport's Pier 17, on the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge, the carcass of a 6- or 7-feet-long, 2-feet-wide creature was discovered.

As reported by NY1, experts from the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation identified the animal as a bony-plated Atlantic sturgeon.

Two fish tales -- no monsters.

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Cryptozoology