The big story coming out of California on Wednesday was monstrous and more in line with a science-fiction novel, the discovery of the carcass of an 18-foot long serpent-like fish worthy of a Jules Verne story.
Jasmine Santana, a marine science instructor with the Catalina Island Marine Institute (CIMI), was snorkeling off the southern California coast on Sunday, when she spotted something straight out of a story book. It was the carcass of a silvery, serpent-like creature called an oarfish.
It took more than 15 people to help her drag the 18-foot long oarfish, with eyes the size of half-dollars, out of the water after she had managed to wrestle it about 75-feet toward the shore.
The fish was found during a staff diving trip in Toyon Bay at Santa Catalina Island, about 24 miles from the mainland. Mark Waddington, senior captain of the Tole Mour, CIMI's sail training ship said, "We've never seen a fish this big. The last oarfish we saw was three feet long."
Oarfish can grow to over 50 feet in length and are able to dive more than 3,000 feet, making them rare and mostly unstudied, according to the CIMI. The oarfish is more than likely the culprit responsible for the sightings of sea monsters throughout history.
The carcass will be buried in the sand until it decomposes and then the skeleton will be reconstructed so that it can be put on display, Waddington said.