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Aug 13, 2015 12:05 PM EDT

'Sea Monster' Figurehead of 15th Century Ship Found Underwater South of Sweden

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Researchers identified a figurehead from an ancient shipwreck pulled from the ocean south of Sweden.

According to Reuters, the "sea monster" figurehead once belonged to a ship named "Gribshunden," which sank 1495 due to a fire. It was a Danish warship and certainly had an appropriate figurehead, appearing to be a dragon or some other mythical creature.

''It's a sea monster - and we have to discuss what kind of animal it is,'' Johan Ronnby, a professor of marine archaeology at Sodertorn University, told BBC News. ''I think it's some kind of fantasy animal - a dragon with lion ears and crocodile-like mouth. And there seems to be something in his mouth. There seems to be a person in its mouth and he's eating somebody."

Sandekjer, head of the Blekinge Museum, stated the ship belonged to the Danish King Hans and likely resembled the Santa Maria, the 15th-century ship Christopher Columbus sailed to the New World.

"It may depict the very 'Grip Dog' that the name of the ship - Gribshunden - reflects," Sandekjer said in a statement, according to Discovery News.

The researchers will continue to investigate the wreck and will probably be able to bring back more artifacts, Reuters reported.

"The ship comes from a time just when Columbus was sailing across the ocean and Vasco da Gama also went to India, and this is the same period and we can learn very much about how the ships were made, how they were constructed since there are no ships left from this time," Sandekjer said. "It's unique in the world and I think there are going to be more excavations around here and we're going to find some more unique objects. But this... today is just fantastic."

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