NASA estimates there are about 372,000 miles of coastline in the world. That provides a LOT of space for bizarre things to wash up. 2016 did not disappoint when it came to bizarre stuff washing ashore. Here’s a list of some of the strangest beach finds of 2016.
1. Unidentified Carcass – Possibly Giant Squid
Every so often, video surfaces of some unfortunate lump washed ashore. This particular lump was unidentified as of being reported on in March 2016. Some speculate it could be the remains of a giant squid or whale. Of course, considering how much of the ocean we have yet to explore…who knows?
2. Giant Snowballs Form on Siberian Beach
On a remote beach in Siberia in November 2016, locals were surprised to find their beach suddenly covered in perfect snowballs, ranging from about the size of a tennis ball to upwards of a meter across. Bizarre! But, no metaphysical explanation needed: turns out the snowballs are formed by a natural process. Small pieces of ice get rolled around on the beach by the wind and waves, wearing them down into spherical shapes. Still, very, very cool.
3. Atlantic Sturgeon
If you can’t stomach creepy-looking sea critters, you might want to avoid this link. But, it is an interesting beach find. Apparently, Atlantic Sturgeon have been around for about 120 million years–not bad! One of these extremely rare, endangered fish washed ashore in Carolina in 2016, and you can see it by clicking here.
4. Civil War Canon Balls Revealed by Hurricane Matthew
Hurricane Matthew moved around a lot of water and sand, revealing these canon balls on one South Carolina Beach, leftover from the American Civil War. Apparently they had to be “rendered safe” by a bomb squad, whatever that means! So, if you stumble upon some crusty old canon balls on a beach, don’t go playing catch with them. They might just blow you to smithereens.
5. Dinosaur Footprints!
One of my personal favorites from 2016: Australian beachgoer Bindi Lee Porth was collecting shells when she felt the strange indentations underfoot. Apparently, these 100 million year old footprints were made by the carnivorous dinosaur, Megalosauras.
6. Thousands of Pink Bottles Wash Ashore in Cornwall, UK
The weirdest thing about this one is that we no longer think of it as weird that tons of plastic debris is washing ashore all the time. But this particular disaster is so visually striking because all the plastic is the same color: bright pink. This spill is a great example of how difficult it is to track down polluters and hold them accountable. At the time the BBC reported on this story in January 2016, no one had been pinned down. Amazingly, the burden for cleaning up this mess and mitigating the impacts on wildlife from the spilled contents of the bottles (some kind of detergent / surfactant) falls to us civilians and our tax dollars, while the perpetrators–well, I guess you could say they get to wash their hands of it.