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Weird prehistoric fish caught: Scientists unable to identify Florida catch

A strange-looking, unknown fish was caught off a Pensacola pier earlier this week. It is the second fish described as prehistoric caught in a few weeks. A rare goblin shark was caught earlier in the month off the Florida Keys.
Arkyan, Creative Commons

A very strange-looking fish was caught off a Pensacola, Florida, pier this week. What made the fish even more memorable was that nobody seemed to be able to identify its species. And when it was sent to experts for identification, they were at a loss to put a label to the bizarre fish as well.

The Inquistr reported May 18 that the angler that caught the fish in Pensacola recognized it for being somewhat unusual, so he sent his catch to the Florida Wildlife Commission's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. But resident scientists and ichthyologists were unable to discern the species of the strange fish.

To help determine the species, researchers from the Institute took DNA samples of the fish.

Described as looking prehistoric, a photo of the fish shows it to be smooth, scale-less, with protruding eyes bulging from the top of its head. It also has an elongated tail, much like that of an eel.

Scientists were also having a difficult time establishing the fish's place of origin. Was it oceanic or was it a product of nearby waterways swollen by recent heavy rains, flushed out because of the flooding?

The weird Pensacola pier fish is the second prehistoric-looking fish caught off the Florida coast in just a few weeks. At the beginning of May, a shrimper hauled in a rare pink goblin shark within his shrimp nets just off the Florida Keys. It was only the second such goblin shark ever caught in Florida. It was also the first of its species seen since 2000 and only the 58th ever spotted.

Back in November, another Florida fisherman caught a monster-sized stingray that was described as a "dinosaur" fish. Weighing an estimated 800 pounds, the catch left the fisherman who hauled it in puzzled as to what kind of fish it actually was. A veteran of hundreds of catches, he admitted he had never seen anything like it.

Scientists are hoping to identify the prehistoric-looking Pensacola catch in a few weeks.

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