Someone said it looked like a beach Christmas tree. Another said it might be part of a shipwreck. Someone else thought maybe it was a Rastafarian whale.
Those were just some of the suggestions offered when Melissa Doubleday posted photos of a strange object she saw washed up on a New Zealand beach.
"Just curious to know if anyone knows what this is??! Washed up on Muriwai Beach," Doubleday wrote on a local Facebook group on Dec. 9.
Her post prompted locals to head to the beach, eager to investigate and snap their own photos of what has been dubbed the "Muriwai Monster," according to Stuff.
Online, people made their guesses, ranging from sea monster and alien time capsule to a creepy walrus.
But it turns out that real life isn't quite so creative.
The intriguing object is likely just a big piece of driftwood covered in gooseneck barnacles, the New Zealand Marine Sciences Society told Stuff. Officially called percebes, the barnacles with the fitting name are a delicacy in Spain and Portugal, and are very tasty, but incredibly expensive.
But it doesn't look like anyone will be dining on these particular barnacles. A couple days after she first spotted the mysterious object, Doubleday returned to the spot to check it out again.
"Everything on it has died now, and it smells really bad. Went up there yesterday to have another look!"