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Man discovers "alien" creature's corpse washed up on Australian beach

Mystery animal corpse appears in Australia
Mysterious animal corpse surfaces on beach in Queensland, Australia 00:18

A man stumbled upon what he called an "alien" creature's corpse during a walk on a beach in Queensland, Australia, last week, sparking hundreds of internet theories about what the strange-looking creature with the "humanlike hands" and "long lizard tail" could be. 

Alex Tan, who is a pastor, told CBS News on Friday that he wasn't scared when he first caught a glimpse of the animal. He first believed he saw a "three-meter flatty," another name for flathead fish in Australia.

"Then as I got closer, I was just really interested to what the heck was this?" he said, describing the animal to be around three feet long. 

He initially recorded clips of his encounter with it on March 21 at Maroochydore Beach, over 60 miles away from Brisbane, according to the social media video service agency Storyful. He told Storyful that the animal had "humanlike hands, long lizard tail, nose like a possum and patches of black fur." Tan went on to upload his videos to his Instagram page on Tuesday that showed the creature laying on the beach. 

"I've stumbled across something weird," he said in one of the videos. "This is like one of those things you see when people claim that they've found aliens." 

"Looks like a deerhead possum, but different than anything I've seen," he said in another clip. 

Instagram user Alex Tan filmed a mysterious creature's corpse during a walk in Queensland, Australia.  Alex Tan via Storyful

From "mini-Chupa-cabra" to "extinct marsupial," hundreds of Instagram users dropped guesses about what they believed the creature to be. Stephen Johnson, an associate professor at the University of Queensland, told the Courier Mail that the animal was likely a swollen, waterlogged brushtail possum that lost its fur. 

"The skull and hindlimb give the clues," he said. "The animal was probably washed down into the ocean during the floods."

Tan agrees with Johnson's hypothesis and said he's willing to make a friendly bet of "chicken parmi" that the animal is indeed a possum. But like everyone else, he just wants to know. 

"I think this is something everyone is so invested in and we just want answers," he told CBS News. "The people want answers."

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