'Human leg' shaped object found washed up on beach: 'Messed up'

The weird object is believed to be something very different than what it first seems.

A rotting, leg-shaped object has washed up on a beach and hundreds of people are trying to work out what on earth it actually is.

The strange find, said to be around the size of a human's leg, was found on February 7 on a beach in the US but the photo has been shared with people across the globe. "Found in Galveston Beach [Texas]. No smell, animals were not interested in it, it appeared to be a hard material. What is it?" a person asked alongside the image online.

Image of the beach find some think looks like a human leg.
While some thought it could be a human leg, others thought this unusual beach find might be a dead cactus. Source: Facebook

Plenty of speculation over what 'leg' could really be

Hundreds responded trying to guess what the object could be, with some going so far as to say authorities should be called. "That looks way too much like a human leg," one person said.

Others pointed out why it couldn't possibly be from a human, stating it was missing a "knee cap" and "tibia" and "the smell would be horrific". "That would be the most messed up ankle to ever exist," someone else added.

More guesses included a "prosthetic leg", and a dead cactus. "150% dead cactus, you can tell by the inside fibres," one person was convinced.

Image of an Opuntia ficus-indica, known as a Prickly Pear cactus.
An expert has confirmed with Yahoo the unusual discovery is likely an Opuntia ficus-indica, known as a Prickly Pear cactus. Source: Getty

Plant expert believes it is a rotting cactus

President of the Cactus and Succulent Society of Australia Inc (CSSA Inc.), Peter Breyley, has confirmed with Yahoo News Australia the unusual discovery is likely a cactus.

"That appears to be a rotting Opuntia ficus-indica or similar," he said. "Apparent fibrous interior structure and the three distinct pad/branch segments".

Known as an Indian fig or prickly pear, it can grow up to seven metres tall. The pads are bluish-green with sporadic, or no short spines. The yellow flowers appear in late spring or early summer and the fruit is egg-shaped to oval with a depressed top. Ripe fruit may be yellow, orange, red or purple.

While found in Australia, it is thought to be native to southern North America due to how slowly it spreads, it has "never caused problems", according to NSW Department of Primary Industries.

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