It was not a human hand. Authorities say item that washed ashore Florida beach was sea life instead

Colin Warren-Hicks
Pensacola News Journal

An object found on Navarre Beach in Pensacola over the weekend that was originally thought to be a severed human hand has been determined to be some kind of sea life, the Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Office announced Monday.

Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson told the Pensacola News Journal that a beachgoer spotted an item that appeared to look like a human hand on Sunday and called law enforcement.

The find looked convincing enough to prompt the sheriff's office to send it to the Medical Examiner's office for dissection and DNA testing.

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"They cut into it looking for bones to collect DNA," Johnson said. "But there were no bones."

An object that was first thought to be a severed human hand washed up on Navarre Beach over the weekend. Examination later identified the object as sea life.

Mistaken identification not uncommon

Cases of mistaken identity involving sea debris are not uncommon, according to  District One Medical Examiner's Office director Jeff Martin.

“Just by looking at the pictures, it appeared as if it could be a palmar surface, if you were to take away the digits of the hand and just had the palm and part of the wrist,” Martin said. “The color wasn’t too off from something that could be possibly be human that had been in the water for a long time.”

“We’ve had these types of cases before where a passerby sees something on the beach that they believe to be human,” Martin told the News Journal. “Not long ago, someone found what they thought to be a thumb on the beach.”

Colin Warren-Hicks can be reached at or 850-435-8680.