A snorkeling marine science instructor found what’s being called a discovery of a lifetime off the Southern California coast. It took 15 people to drag the carcass of an 18-foot sea creature known as an oarfish, a rare ocean dweller even scientists know little about.
When Jasmine Santana saw a silver shimmer 30 feet beneath the surface during a staff trip with the Catalina Island Marine Institute (CIMI), she knew she had stumbled upon something special.
It was special not just because because of the size, but because of the mysterious nature of the oarfish, a species that regularly stays 3,000 feet underwater. This monster catch, though the fish had already died of natural causes, is the largest the CIMI has ever seen.
Photo via AP/Catalina Island Marine Institute
Santana dragged the massive beast 75 feet before getting help from more CIMI staffers after finding the oarfish in Toyon Bay at Santa Catalina Island, approximately 24 miles from the mainland.
The carcass was put on display on Tuesday, October 15, 2013 for gradeschoolers studying at the CIMI, and will eventually be buried beneath sand to decompose. Afterwards the skeleton will be preserved for permanent display.
The CIMI said the species can grow up to 50 feet, and is known as the longest bony fish in the world.
The pelagic oarfish is given credit for many of the legendary sea serpent stories of oceanic lore.