The recent discovery of a monstrous fish off the Southern California coast had people buzzing. Photos of people holding a long piscine monster spread around the Internet; there are of course many fake “big fish” photos floating around, but this one was not a Photoshop job, nor a hoax.
As a Discovery News story noted, “The staff and kids at a Southern California educational facility got quite a surprise when an 18-foot-long (5.5 meters) serpentlike sea creature washed up near the shore. While swimming in about 20 feet (5 meters) of water, dive instructor Jasmine Santana saw a large, silvery, slender figure on the sandy bottom on Sunday.”
It took 25 people to pull the bony monster with reddish fins out of the water and pose it for photographs.
The creature was a rare animal called an oarfish. Because they typically live deep in the ocean, little is known about them, though scientists believe that they can grow to be twice as long as the most recent specimen.
Seeing the photograph led many to wonder if an oarfish is responsible for sightings of Scotland’s famous Loch Ness monster through the years?