The remains of a giant spine found on a beach in South Uist have led to speculation that it could be that of the Loch Ness Monster.
Polly Burns shared an image, taken by her sister Hannah, on social media of the huge spine on the wind-swept Hebridean beach yesterday.
The tweet has received over 17,000 likes with over 1,100 comments suggesting what the mystery animal could have been.
Responding to the post, one user joked: “OMG No! It’s Nessie.”
While another Twitter user wrote: “Yes, I can categorically confirm this is the skeleton of the Loch Ness Monster, thank goodness you found it, the Scots will be relieved.”
However, the theory was quickly ruled out and a number of locals and marine experts confirm that a sperm whale had indeed been stranded in that area last year.
Miss Burns explained: “‘My sister Hannah, who has just moved to the island with her boyfriend Jon and dog Bonnie, sent me the picture of the skeleton after they came across it on a walk.
Edit – it was an adult sperm whale. First time I’ve been down to look at this. The long structure is about 30foot long…
“I knew it was a whale of some kind, but didn’t know the type.
“As a marine scientist on Twitter I knew someone in my network would probably be able to help so offered to tweet it, and included a lecturer on marine mammals I’d had at university, Ben Wilson.
She added: “I had no clue how many people would see and engage with it!
“Whale strandings occur fairly often, but something about this one has just sparked people’s creativity when it comes to the answers on identification.
“We now know the skeleton had been there for over a year and is a sperm whale.’
Earlier this year, Uist Sea Tours also stumbled upon the remains and estimated the length to be around “30ft”.
They shared the images on their Facebook page, writing: “First time I’ve been down to look at this.
“The long structure is about 30foot long and the smaller bit is 6foot long. Still a bit of flesh on it and a smell too. Wonder what it was? ”