A massive object covered in barnacles of an alien-like appearance has washed up on a New Zealand beach and captured the imagination of locals.
Melissa Doubleday, who spotted the creepy object while she was driving along Muriwai Beach near Auckland, snapped pictures of the object and posted it on Facebook, The Daily Mail reports.
“Just curious to know if anyone knows what this is?” she asked the community on Facebook in the post she published on Dec. 10. “I drove past and was like what the?”
The images of the alien-looking object went viral and both baffled and captivated social media users who were quick to suggest the object was a Maori canoe, a dead whale, a shipwreck, a Caribbean walrus, artwork, or an alien time capsule.
“I actually thought it was a washed up whale as I approached it, so weird,” Doubleday said.
One Muriwai citizen said she had never seen anything like the object, in all her years of walking the beach.
“This is the biggest one I’ve seen. It’s got a putrid smell when you’re down wind and when you look closely, it looks like wiggling worms,” she said, Stuff New Zealand reports.
The New Zealand Marine Sciences Society stated they were “almost positive from looking at the images” that it was a large piece of driftwood covered in gooseneck barnacles.
Gooseneck barnacles are crustaceans that feed by filtering the water and attach themselves to hard surfaces of driftwood or rock.
The “Muriwai monster” fits a pattern of driftwood and rock — covered in limpets, seaweed and barnacles — stranded as the result of a recent 7.8 magnitude earthquake that lifted the New Zealand seabed by six-and-a-half feet.