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An Australian family went to the beach to collect sea shells, but instead stumbled across a gigantic jellyfish that has piqued the interest of scientists.

The pancake-like creature measured 4ft 11in across and was previously unknown to science, according to Australia's federal-run Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.

The denizen of the deep was found by Josie Lim and her family as they walked along a beach near Hobart on the island of Tasmania.

"This was something else. We've just never seen anything like it," Lim told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Scientist Lisa-Ann Gershwin told the paper that the Lims' find was "amazing". She believes it was a previously undiscovered type of lion's mane jellyfish.