A woman was shocked to discover a "mass of something organic" while on a beach walk in Cornwall – that turned out to be part of a whale's stomach.
Helen Marlow said she was on Marazion Beach near Penzance walking her dog when she came across a large white mass covered in seaweed, but as it looked so abnormal and had no obvious nasty smell, she had "no idea" what it was.
In a bid to identify the object, she shared a picture of it to the British Marine Life Study Society's Facebook page.
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However the comments – which suggested the item could be anything from ghost fishing nets to a placenta – left her none the wiser over what the item was, CornwallLive reported.
Helen said: "I discovered it on the beach at Marazion, at around midday as the tide had gone out. I had no idea what it was, it just looked like a huge mass of something organic.
"My dog went wild, it seemed quite fresh with no distinctive tears or damage and had no nasty smell. I really had no idea.
"After putting it on the Facebook group, there were several opinions that had been suggested [as to what it could have been] but there was no definite conclusion. It was seemingly whale innards or intestine."
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Experts were also unsure of what the strange object was at first.
But brains at the Marine Strandings Network – part of Cornwall Wildlife Trust – later identified the strange object as part of a decomposed whale stomach or gut that had died along the coast.
Marine Conservation Officer, Abby Crosby, said: "Local marine biologists thought it could have been whale placenta, which would have been a very exciting discovery if it meant that a whale was born off the coast of Cornwall.
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"However, experts at the UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP) identified that it was more likely a gut or stomach from a whale.
"We often get marine mammals such as dolphins, whales, and porpoises – collectively known as cetaceans – sadly washing up dead on our beaches at various stages of decomposition.
"So, this unfortunately wasn't an entirely unusual discovery but it is a reminder that these animals live along our coastline and can become stranded."
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