Experts identify human tongue look-a-like sea creature as sea squirt

A photo of a mysterious sea creature caught off the coast of Australia last week is going viral.

The photo was posted to Facebook by a man who said he reeled it in near South Fremantle, Australia, in hopes that the online community may have some answers for this underwater animal's identity.

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A view of the Loch Ness Monster, near Inverness, Scotland, April 19, 1934. The photograph, one of two pictures known as the 'surgeon's photographs,' was allegedly taken by Colonel Robert Kenneth Wilson, though it was later exposed as a hoax by one of the participants, Chris Spurling, who, on his deathbed, revealed that the pictures were staged by himself, Marmaduke and Ian Wetherell, and Wilson. References to a monster in Loch Ness date back to St. Columba's biography in 565 AD. More than 1,000 people claim to have seen 'Nessie' and the area is, consequently, a popular tourist attraction.

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Former Royal Air Force pilot Tom Dinsdale displays a model he made of the storied Loch Ness 'Monster.' Dinsdale claims he saw the 'monster' and even made movies of it when he was at Loch Ness, Scotland, last April 23rd. He said he shot fifteen feet of film at a distance of about one mile showing the monster swimming and diving, in the waters of Loch Ness. The film was shown on television June 13th. Dinsdale said he thought the monster could be a type of large reptile, possibly an evolved form of Pleiosaur, an aquatic dinosaur that existed more than 60 million years ago.

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Bigfoot

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VANCOUVER, CANADA
A series of 3 plaster casts taken from footprints suspected to have been made by a bigfoot in Vancouver, Canada. Never-before seen pictures show new evidence that the legendary Bigfoot exists and that they could build nests. Two pictures were snapped last month when experts on the creature - also known as the Sasquatch - came together for the first time in Russia. Dr John Bindernagel, 69 from Canada, was one of several world-renowned bigfoot experts invited to the week-long conference in Russia. He and others from the USA and Sweden met with their Russian counterparts to join forces and share evidence for the first time. During a two-day expedition through to the Kemerovo region of Siberia, wildlife biologist Dr Nindernagel and other members of the team examined two trees apparently twisted out of shape. The area is well known for sightings of the 'Wildman' - the Russian name for Bigfoot. Dr Nindernagel, who has studied Bigfoot for 40 years and has penned two books on the creature, said the trees corroborated with a new and emerging theory from North America that the Bigfoot might build nests using branches like orangutans and gorillas. Other pictures show evidence gathered by Dr Bindernagel over the years.

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Unicorn

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Mermaid

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Mermaid

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Loch Ness monster 

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Vintage engraving of The Kraken, as Seen by the Eye of Imagination, 19th Century. The Kraken is a legendary sea monster of large proportions that is said to dwell off the coasts of Norway and Greenland.

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Werewolf

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Dragon

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Roman frieze showing centaur, mythological creature with the head, arms, and torso of a human and the body and legs of a horse.

(Photo by: Arterra/UIG via Getty Images)

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But most users who weighed in couldn't help but marvel at the creature's tongue -- which has an uncanny resemblance to that of a fish.

"Ewww it really looks like a cut out tongue," one user commented on the post, while another person wrote, "the cow's tongue, must have been eaten by a shark."

Another user guessed the "tongue" was instead polished coral.

But creature's identity was ultimately revealed by the Western Australian Museum Head of Aquatic Zoology, Dr. Jane Fromont.

Dr. Fromont told WA Today identified the obscure creature as either "an ascidian or sea squirt."

SEE ALSO: Fish with 'human-like teeth' found swimming in Michigan lake

"This particular specimen is a colonian ascidian meaning that it has numerous individuals within the dark pink oval jelly casing seen in the image," Dr.Fromont said. "Each little whitish flower like shape indicates an individual."

Dr. Justin McDonald, the principal biosecurity scientist at the Department of Fisheries, added the that the sea creature had begun the process of going into hiding but had not been able to reach completion after being discovered.

"When you disturb the animal they retract and close their openings and essentially start to shrivel up – the colonial ascidian has retracted but not yet shriveled," he said.

Sea squirts are a relatively common finding off the West Australian coast.

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