This snakelike sea creature, captured off the coast of California near Los Angeles, is 18 feet long — so long that if you unfurled it out a second-story window, it would probably drag on the ground a little. And combined with that dead giant squid we saw, it is incontrovertible evidence that the monsters of the deep are rising up against us, and then dying of natural causes. Better luck next time, monsters!
OK, so it’s just an oarfish — “it’s always an oarfish,” Grist managing editor Ted Alvarez said wearily when he heard this story. But for starters, legends of sea serpents and other snakey mysteries probably did originate with oarfish, so this is legit. Also, it’s really really super-big even for oarfish. The last oarfish seen in this area was three feet long; this one’s six times its size.
This awe-inspiring tribute to the End Times was found by marine researcher Jasmine Santana while she was out snorkeling. (Can you imagine parting a clump of reeds and having THAT looking back at you? Even though it was already dead, that had to be a shock. Maybe especially since it was already dead.) Right after being found, it was on display at the Catalina Island Marine Institute to horrify fifth, sixth, and seventh graders, and now it will be buried until it rots, at which point CIMI will try to work out some kind of Jeremy Bentham situation and have it preserved so it can start traumatizing children again.