Leticia Gomes Santiago and her boyfriend Devanir Souza were taking a romantic stroll on the beach when they happened upon it.
The pair filmed the hand — found in the sands of Ilha Comprida, São Paulo State, Brazil — next to Santiago’s flip flop as a size reference, noting how “big” it was.
“We think it is not human because of the size and amount of bones,” Santiago said. “What could it possibly be?”
It could have belonged to some sort of aquatic mammal, or, they mused, something not of this world. So, of course Santiago sought out social media experts to discover the truth.
“We don’t know what animal it is, and if it’s an alien, even worse,” she posted to her followers.
One commenter proceeded to joke that it could be the beloved extraterrestrial from Steven Spielberg’s beloved 1982 film about a pint-sized alien, or perhaps it belonged to a creature from prehistoric times.
“Looks like ET’s hand,” one person quipped.
“[It’s a] mermaid hand!” argued another.
“Might as well be a dinosaur bone!” stated someone else.
“Take it to a biologist, because this isn’t normal,” one sane person advised — and that’s just what they did.
Eric Comin, a marine biologist, claimed the eerie hand probably belonged to a cetacean, a group of sea mammals which includes dolphins, porpoises and whales, hence the size, Jam Press reported.
His deductions were made upon first glance, noting that more testing would be necessary to exactly determine which creature of the sea the mysterious flipper belonged to — although he’s convinced it’s probably a dolphin.
Solely based on the images he’s seen, the rate of decomposition told the biologist the mammal was most likely dead in the water 18 months ago.
People who discover remains, he added, should report it to the Cananéia Research Institute (IPEC).
Odd or unknown animals of the sea — or parts of them — are known to wash up on shores, like last month, when an unidentified “globster” was discovered on an Oregon beach.
The mysterious creature from the deep looks like a massive blob and smelled like “decomposing mammal,” according to the local who stumbled across it.
“We always prioritize leaving the bones on the beach so it does not interfere with the cycling of nutrients within the ecosystem,” Henrique Chupill, the spokesperson for IPEC, told Jam Press.
“Eventually, when there is some scientific interest, we collect them to be used in studies. If they are recently-deceased animals, we collect them to perform necropsies and identify the cause of death.”