What MJ ate: Croc farmer sheds light on mysterious autopsy
IN his years working and running the Koorana Crocodile Farm, John Lever has never found anything quite like what he discovered during the autopsy of MJ, a 4.7 metre croc.
John and his team were conducting the autopsy last month after the crocodile died, and when they cut MJ open they found the usual collection of things you'd expect to find inside a crocodiles stomach; rocks, plastic bags, fishing hooks, and one they did not - an orthepedic plate.
"We've found onion bags, broken bottles, plastic bags, lures, a whole raft of different things," he said.
"Nothing like this, ever."
When the story of MJ's autopsy hit yesterday, social media lit up with suggestions that the crocodile had eaten a human, and the plate could potentially solve a missing person case.
When the team at Koorana first saw it, they had a similar reaction.
"I think it had been there for a long time," John said.
"There were no identifying marks on it and for that kind of plate you'd expect it to have a code or something."
Now, after consulting a number of people, they believe it is more likely the plate came from an animal.
"There has been a lot of good information come in from people who deal with this sort of stuff," John said.
"We've actually identified the plate and it's manufacturer.
"It's an older plater and it's made by a Swiss manufacturer."
MJ was estimated to be between 50 and 70 years old, so it wasn't totally unexpected when he passed.
"Whenever a big croc dies we always do an autopsy," John said.
"He hadn't eaten in six months and was sick before that.
"He had a broken jaw and hole in the top of his jaw. He wasn't the prettiest of crocs."
Before settling in CQ, MJ was from Innisfail and John and the team have tried to make contact with the owners of the crocodile farm he came from to see what MJ may have gotten up to when he was up north.
Police are not involved at this stage.