On Sunday, someone happened to catch the barricade under the Robert Street Bridge in St. Paul at just the right angle.
Or the wrong one, if you're squeamish about the occasional dead animal mystery.
There, wedged between the wooden slats just off Shepard Road, was a mostly complete skeleton. The expired creature's legs were pretty much gone, but the spine, rib cage, and pelvis sat suspended in mid-air.
Its pointed skull peeked out between two beams, as if inspecting whatever lay on the other side.
A local Reddit user posted a photo of the macabre display, and commenters were naturally curious.
“What is this animal?” one asked. “It’s not a dog, is it?”
“It looks like a seal?!? Wtf,” another said.
“Chupacabra,” a third answered helpfully.
Nobody had any concrete answers, let alone theories as to how it got there. The Minnesota Department of Transportation was unaware of any reports of a skeleton creeping arond the bridge, and at first glance, Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officials were also puzzled.
“Are you sure it’s not photoshopped?” spokesperson Steve Carroll asked.
In the end, wildlife managers were able to come to a consensus that the bones belonged to “some kind of waterfowl,” likely a grebe or a cormorant. Spokesperson Harland Hiemstra says it’s hard to tell from the photo.
“Waterfowl of all types get washed into these grates every year,” he said in a statement.
This spring, the Mississippi River crested around 20 feet in St. Paul, spilling over banks and swallowing up parts of Harriet Island Regional Park. It’s not hard to imagine some unfortunate bird—perhaps already dead—getting caught up in the swell and ending up stuck in a higher-than usual place.
Still, it’s sad to see.
“Is it ok?” a Reddit user asked.
“Had a pretty bad day at some point,” another commenter answered. “But it’s ok now.”