CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The University of Texas Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas is constantly scouring beaches, looking to typically help stranded sea turtles. Well, every so often, they’re surprised about “other things” they find on the beach.
This is part of Jace Tunnell’s job with the UTMSI, to conduct weekly beach surveys. He usually looks for stranded animals or more natural issues. From time to time, he also finds objects from around the world that have found their way here.
“We found bales of rubber that were from 1944 off the coast of Brazil," Tunnell said, the reserve director for UTMSI. "We find fish aggregating device beacons that are from the west coast of Africa. There's always something new washing up."
Tunnell said his most recent discovery, is his most interesting ever.
"Look at that. A leg," Tunnell said in a video of him making the discovery.
It was sitting in the sand around mile marker 34 on Mustang Island.
"I don't know if it's from a mannequin or if this is — like, a prosthetic leg," said Tunnell in his video.
There’s no serial numbers on the artificial leg, which leads Tunnell to believe it’s from a mannequin.
You may ask, where in the world this comes from? Tunnell suspects it was the doing of Hurricane Ian, the storm that hit Florida on the other side of the Gulf of Mexico.
So what do you do with such an unusual finding?
“Whenever we find something strange like this, we typically keep it," said Tunnell. "We have a fundraiser where we’re raising money for the AMOS Rehabilitation Keep, which rehabs sea turtles and birds.”
Not long ago, Tunnell made another creepy discovery with parts of dolls on the beach. But this leg, takes the cake as the weirdest find.
“That’s always kind of my worst nightmare of kind of thinking that I'm going to find a body. Because we’re on the beach so much. Luckily, that has not happened yet,” he said.
UTMSI holds their annual auction in March.