A giant oarfish – the greatly elongated but rarely seen sea creature – may be what washed ashore on a Spanish beach last week, prompting questions about a prehistoric looking sea serpent, reports NBC News on Aug. 21.
Sailors for centuries have been searching the waters and claiming tales of mysterious sea monsters. Perhaps the oarfish, which can grow to lengths of 50 feet or more, may provide some tangible explanation to this odd find.
This particular fish, found on Luis Siret Beach in the village of Villaricos, Spain, was in an advanced state of decomposition. The fish’s flaked scales and protruding cartilage made it appear as if it had horns, fueling rumors that the fish was some never-before-seen creature.
David Shiffman, a University of Miami shark researcher, commented on the fish and said “it’s hard to tell,” as to what it actually is. As to whether the fish could also be a thresher shark, Shiffman said it “seems plausible.” The skeletal structure would seem to resemble a shark's.
Most researchers thus far feel the strange creature is an oarfish.
“Certainly the tail looks oarfish-y,” Shiffman said.