A giant sea serpent with a massive head has been discovered by scientists in Australia.
The Australian Museum said it was one of the biggest, most bizarre animals ever found in the Pacific Ocean.
The fossilised skull is about 18m (56ft) long and 20m (65ft) high.
Scientists said the fossilised skeleton was found in an area known as the southern ocean.
It is believed to have been around 30 million years old and lived in the waters of the eastern Pacific.
It’s thought the animal’s enormous head and tail might have been made of a thick, hard material called “mud”.
Its name means “Sea of Secrets” in Chinese.
The museum said the specimen was originally believed to be a new species of sea serpent found off the coast of Japan.
However, new research by the university of Melbourne has revealed it may have belonged to a previously unknown species of the giant sea monster.
The fossilised remains were found by the Australian Museum in 2016, after the university spent months examining the fossils and the mud.
The giant sea creature was found by a researcher named Tim Schumann who is studying the evolution of sea reptiles and sea creatures.
Dr Schumann told New Scientist the fossil was the largest sea serpent ever found.
He said the creature’s head and body were almost completely covered in mud.
He described the specimen as “the biggest specimen of a sea serpent that we have ever seen”.
“It’s a giant monster, it’s about as big as a walrus,” Dr Schumann said.
“It was about 25m long and the tail was about 40m long.”
The specimen was described as “a new species”.
He said its fossilized remains were part of a large group of giant sea creatures known as marine reptiles.
Dr Thomas Schleicher, from the University of Adelaide’s School of Earth Sciences, said the fossils were a bit of a mystery to scientists.
“This is the first fossilised specimen that’s been found so close to the sea,” Dr Thomas Schlickhoff said.
Dr Tim Schmecher, of the University’s School, said it appeared to be about 20 metres long.
“The body is just a little bit shorter than the head, which means it had the head down and the body up and was about the size of a walrusk,” Dr Tim Schlickerhoff said, adding it was an unusual size.
“I don’t think anyone has ever seen anything like it.”‘
It’s not an animal’The Australian museum said it had been researching the giant creature for about five years and it had “the right size, shape and size”.
“We were lucky enough to find one of these specimens in one of our collections,” said curator Pauline Langer.
“These sorts of fossils are usually in very deep, rocky sediments and it’s very difficult to see them.”
Dr Schmecker said he was sure the specimen could have belonged in a museum in Japan.
“In Japan, it would have been one of those monsters that you would find in the depths of a cave,” Dr Dr Schmecher said.
The team described the creature as “probably the biggest animal ever to have existed on land”.
“I think it’s the biggest of its kind to have ever been found in Australia,” Dr Langer said.