ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - Images of a mysterious sea creature found on a St. Simons Island beach have been shared all over social media with many wondering what the animal might be.
But Jacksonville University marine biology experts say, "Not so fast."
They're calling the creature a hoax.
Dr. Quinton White of the Marine Biology Institute at JU said he's seen the photo and video of the creature and the consensus at JU is that it's a fake.
The Georgia Department of National Resources is trying to determine if anyone has the creature's carcass, so state experts can examine it.
Officials said they got no calls about the sea creature, but would like to hear from anyone who has information. The ranger hotline is 800-241-4113.
Jeff Warren said he and his son were at Wolf Island National Wildlife Refuge when they stumbled upon the carcass last Friday.
News4Jax contacted Warren to see if he might know where the creature's carcass is now, but we have not heard back.
A local writer and novelist contacted News4Jax saying he believes the mysterious sea creature looks exactly like the legendary Altamaha-ha, a river monster of the Altamaha River located just west of Wolf Island.
Taylor Brown, author of "The River of Kings," said he grew up on St. Simons Island and heard stories about the sea creature, known as a survivor of the Mesozoic Era.
Taylor adds "Altie," as it's commonly called, still swims on a green billboard near the visitor's center of Darien, Georgia, urging interstate travelers to stop for a visit. There is also a full-size replica in the visitor's center.
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