Crazy Ocean Discovery: 18-Foot Serpent-Like Fish
Snorkeler spots oarfish carcass near California's Catalina Island
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 15, 2013 3:23 PM CDT
Updated Oct 15, 2013 3:41 PM CDT
This photo released courtesy of the Catalina Island Marine Institute shows helpers holding the 18-foot-long oarfish found in the waters of Toyon Bay on Santa Catalina Island, Calif.   (HONS)

(Newser) – A marine science instructor snorkeling off the Southern California coast spotted something out of a fantasy novel: the silvery carcass of an 18-foot-long, serpent-like oarfish. Jasmine Santana of the Catalina Island Marine Institute needed more than 15 helpers to drag the giant sea creature to shore over the weekend. Staffers at the institute are calling it the discovery of a lifetime. "We've never seen a fish this big," says the captain of CIMI's training ship. "The last oarfish we saw was 3 feet long."

Because oarfish dive more than 3,000 feet deep, sightings are rare, and they are largely unstudied. The obscure fish apparently died of natural causes. Tissue samples and video footage were sent to be studied by biologists at the University of California, Santa Barbara. It will be buried in the sand until it decomposes, and then its skeleton will be reconstituted for display. Oarfish can actually reach 50 feet in length and are thought to be responsible for sea serpent legends throughout history. (Click to read about the discovery of a fossilized mosquito that still has blood.)

Copyright 2016 Newser, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Crazy Sea Find: 18-Foot Fish is...
6%
48%
3%
37%
5%
2%
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Comments
Showing 3 of 15 comments
fractal
Oct 19, 2013 11:40 AM CDT
A 50 oarfish IS a sea serpent. What else could possibly qualify, if not that?
NSA-CIApuppet
Oct 16, 2013 1:31 AM CDT
1- where is the Crazy Ocean? 2- why did the author of a fantasy novel know about this?
bubbahotep
Oct 15, 2013 11:32 PM CDT
Why do people love posing with dead things?