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Georgia’s Own Loch Ness Monster?

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Recently, the Georgia coast was abuzz with news that a strange sea creature had washed ashore on a beach in the Wolf Island National Wildlife Refuge. The “Loch Ness-type thing” was discovered by a local fisherman, Jeff Warren, and his son, who captured footage of the remains and alerted local media outlets. The animal was said to be four to five feet in length with two fins and tiny teeth.

Photo Credit: Yahoo!

Theories came forward almost immediately that this unique looking creature bears a striking resemblance to the mythical Altamahaha, Southeast Georgia’s very own river monster. The Altamahaha is typically described as twenty to thirty feet long with a bony ridge down its back, two front flippers and a swimming pattern similar to a dolphin.

Stories of the Altamahaha date all the way back to the Muskogee indians. In 1830, Captain Delano of the schooner Eagle and 5 of his men reported a seventy foot long monster, as big around as a hogshead of sugar, off the shores of St. Simon’s Island. Timberman on the Altamaha River in the 1920’s reported  a large snake-like water monster. The Altamahaha was seen twice in 1980, once stranded on a sandbar near Catshead Creek and again in Smith Lake.

Sightings still occur today. In 2002, something twenty feet long and six feet wide surfaced next to a man towing a boat near Brunswick. In 2010, video footage of a mysterious looking creature was captured in the channel off Fort King George Historic Site in Darien. Most sightings are around Darien and Butler Island, just a few miles inland from Wolf Island.

Photo Credit: Frontiers of Zoology

So, was the Wolf Island sea creature the same cryptid believed to inhabit the murky waters of the Altamaha River Delta?

The professional consensus is…probably not. John “Crawfish” Crawford, a naturalist with the University of Georgia Marine Extension, is “convinced the ‘sea creature’ is a constructed model of a baby Altamahaha Monster.”  Former US Fish and Wildlife Service director, Dan Ashe, said that some sea animals, including large basking sharks, can decompose in a way that can resemble the prehistoric creature, Plesiosaur. Unfortunately, because the remains of the animal were never collected for analysis, this is likely the best answer we’re going to get.

So, I’ll let you decide. Was the Wolf Island sea creature the famed Altamahaha?

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