Oceanside, CA -- A new "sea serpent" was found in Southern California on Friday by beachgoers at Oceanside Harbor. The rare oarfish was discovered on the north side of the south Oceanside jetty around 5 pm local time.
Oceanside police officer Mark Bussey stated that the silvery sea creature caused commotion and drew a crowd of up to 75 people while police contacted SeaWorld San Diego, The Scripps Research Institute, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
UT San Diego reports that a NOAA representative responded to the inquiry and retrieved the body of the oarfish, which she measured at 13 and a half feet long. The massive carcass was cut into sections and removed for study using coolers.
The sea serpent's discovery was highly unusual, as oarfish are rare creatures that normally dive more than 3,000 feet deep. However, Friday's discovery was the second time in a week that an oarfish washed ashore in southern California.
Jasmine Santana, a science instructor for the Catalina Marine Institute, discovered the body of an oarfish last Sunday while snorkeling off Toyon Bay, notes NBC News.
The fish was an impressive 18 feet long -- too big for Santana to carry ashore by herself. In the end, it took 15 people to bring the massive sea serpent ashore. While the two oarfish seem massive to us, they are actually pretty small by the fish's standards. The oarfish is the largest bony fish in the sea and can grow up to 50 feet in length.
Little is known about the fish species, because it is usually found at least a few hundred feet under water. However, the two specimens discovered this past week could help scientists understand the massive creature a little bit better, and hopefully solve the mystery of how the sea serpents came to be so close to shore.
[Image via Wikimedia Commons]