The bizarre remains of a slinky-looking animal have been confusing locals in Turkey for over two years.
The odd mummy was found in a cellar by Abudllah Ozturk, a locksmith from Niğde, Anatolia. Although the perished creature is stuck in a slightly curled position, it is said to measure around 1 meter (3.3 feet) from nose to tail.
The skeletal remains were found two years ago, but Dr. Aydın Topcu, a natural history expert from University of Niğde, has now been brought in to try and identify the animal, according to news outlet Türkiye Gazetesi.
“We are examining pictures of the skeleton and it seems to be a carnivore,” he said. “But we need more time to conduct further tests. After the examinations, we will be able to tell what species it belongs to and of which period of time it is.”
Ozturk also told Türkiye Gazetesi, “I called two archaeologist friends, who came and examined the skeleton. They told me that it belongs to a very old species that is probably extinct. But they couldn't identify it and they didn't know which species it belonged to.”
The most likely explanation is that the specimen is the mummified remains of some kind of species from the family Felidae – the “cat family.” While mummies are most closely associated with Egypt, the culture and practices of the ancient civilization – where cats were seen as sacred and magical – often hopped across the Mediterranean Sea. There have been a surprising amount of mummy discoveries in modern-day Turkey, including two 11,000-year-old mummified cats found in Aksaray.
Whether this is an extinct species, or just a “well-aged” domestic cat, is hard to say.