AN AUSSIE crocodile farmer discovered an orthopaedic plate possibly belonging to a missing person in the stomach of a 4.7-metre crocodile.
The plate, complete with six stainless steel screws, was uncovered during a routine check of the dead croc’s stomach contents and its origin remains a mystery.
John Lever, owner of the Koorana Crocodile Farm in Rockhampton, said it was “a remarkable find” and is determined to identify its origin.
The Queenslander said he’s contacted an orthopaedic surgeon in England to find the manufacturer of the 10cm-long plate for its identification.
Speaking to 7NEWS he said: “The first thing we want to do is identify the plate and see whether it was used in the veterinary industry or the human surgical industry.
“The crocodile has eaten something … it’s either a human or a pet.”
Over the crocodile farm’s Facebook page, he joked: “No staff and no pets are missing here! So, for now it’s a mystery.”
Mr Lever said the plate has been identified as Swiss made.
He believes it is probably decades-old and would have been used to help orthopedic surgeons mend bones or put bones together to help the bones mend themselves.
Once the results come back, he says he will offer the plate to police for forensic testing.
He added: “I’d let them have a look at the plate to see if they wanted to do any forensics on it.
“That’d be our desire – if we can help solve a cold case.
“If we could put some minds at rest, it would be absolutely delightful.”
MOST READ IN NEWS
Any identification code on the plate has now been worn away by the animal’s stomach acid.
The croc, affectionally known as MJ, had been at the farm for around six years but was previously living in the wild.
Mr Lever estimated the 700kg beast was around 50 to 70 years old and the plate had remained in its stomach “for decades”.
It’s not uncommon for crocodiles to eat all sorts of food – including humans.
In April, a crocodile emerged from a river with a missing man clenched in its jaws after killing him by biting his groin.
Darlin Uti, 30, was diving in the murky water to clear an underwater pipe near his home in Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia, when the large crocodile “suddenly pounced”, according to local media.
And in March, NHS statistics revealed at least seven people were attacked by crocodiles and alligators in England last year.
The number of Brits bitten or “struck” by the the prehistoric predators has more than doubled since the year before – up from three – according to an annual report into hospital admissions.
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online news team? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0207 782 4368 . You can WhatsApp us on 07810 791 502. We pay for videos too. Click here to upload yours.