Mystery surrounding 'alien' creature on Queensland beach deepens

The mystery surrounding an “alien-like” creature that washed up on a popular Queensland beach this week has deepened, with experts offering conflicting reports about what it actually is.

Alex Tan said in a video posted to Instagram on Tuesday night he stumbled across the decomposing animal while going for his morning walk on Maroochydore Beach.

“I’ve stumbled across something weird,” he says in the short clip.

Alex Tan and the decomposing animal.
Alex Tan said he stumbled across the decomposing animal while going for his morning walk on Maroochydore Beach. Source: Alex Tan/Instagram

“This is like one of those things you see when people claim they’ve found aliens.”

Mr Tan then pans the camera to the hairless animal as flies swarm around it.

“How weird is that,” he continues.

“I dunno, it looks like a de-haired possum, but different to anything I’ve seen — extra-terrestrial.”

Mr Tan said in the video’s caption that he is “genuinely keen to figure out what creature little buddy is”.

As it turns out, so are experts from around Australia — but even they have differing opinions.

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Brush tail possum or kangaroo?

Associate Professor Steve Johnston with the University of Queensland’s School of Agriculture and Food Sciences told Yahoo News Australia on Wednesday he believes the animal is a brush tail possum.

“After confirming with colleagues from the Queensland Museum, we suggest a brush tail possum that has been washed out to sea in floods,” he said referencing the heavy rainfall plaguing southern Queensland and northern NSW.

However, Associate Professor Bill Bateman, from Curtin University’s School of Molecular and Life Sciences, told Yahoo News Australia the creature is “definitely a kangaroo of some sort”.

Although he is not sure what species it is, Prof Bateman said “it has the body shape for a kangaroo”.

“The long tail and back legs and shorter forearms. And Kangaroos have a very distinctive skull with a dent in the lower jaw and specific kind of teeth,” he said.

A kangaroo and a brush tail possum.
Experts are conflicted about whether the creature is a brush tail possum or kangaroo. Source: AAP

The professor said he was sure it was a kangaroo as soon as he looked at the skull.

“It is showing the typical pattern of something that has been submerged in the water for some time,” he added.

“It’s bloated up and has lost all its fur.”

Prof Bateman said every animal body that goes into the water starts rotting from the nose and mouth first.

“Sometimes the frontal bones on the skull drop off and then people see this thing wash up, and it looks so different than what they’re used to,” he said.

“It looks so different from what a live animal would look like that people would get confused.

Obviously with the floods, people are going to start seeing unfortunate animals that didn’t survive.”

Professor Johnston said he doesn't believe the skull is from a kangaroo because there is no “gap between front and hind teeth”.

“Some of the bottom jaw is missing but top jaw has a number of teeth in this region — possum-like," he said.

"The hind foot is possum-like. Also Tree-kangaroos are restricted to North Queensland so what the heck are they doing here?

"My money is on a possum — although it admittedly looks large — but this could be the photograph and the fact that it is swollen. Some exact dimensions and a closer look would help confirm."

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