updated 9/7/2010 5:14:31 PM ET 2010-09-07T21:14:31

Bahamian police said Tuesday they are trying to identify human remains found in the stomach of a tiger shark caught off the Exuma islands.

Forensic investigators were conducting DNA tests on the two legs, two arms and severed torso found inside the 12-foot (3.6-meter) shark, said Assistant Police Commissioner Glenn Miller.

He said the remains appeared to be a couple of days old, but that it was not clear whether the person was dead or alive when consumed by the shark.

The tiger shark can migrate long distances and has been known to attack people.

Miller said at least two people have been reported missing recently on the archipelago. He also didn't rule out the possibility that the remains are those of an impoverished migrant whose boat might have capsized during a risky sea journey to Florida.

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Three fishermen made the grim discovery Saturday after hooking the tiger shark about 35 miles (56 kilometers) south of New Providence, the most populated Bahamian island.

One of the fishermen was Bahamian investment banker Humphrey Simmons, according to The Tribune newspaper, which quoted Simmons as saying that the remains were those of a man.

"He had neither clothes nor any identifying marks," Simmons said.

Marie Levine, executive director of the Princeton, New Jersey-based Shark Research Institute, said that for all the hoopla about shark attacks, they're relatively few and fatalities are even fewer.

"With tiger sharks, it's unusual for them to attack someone when alive," Levine said. "They don't tend to go after something that's alive and can fight back."

She said tiger sharks, which have clean-edged, serrated teeth, are known to travel through Bahamian waters quite a bit.

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