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Are Beached Oarfish Trying to Tell Us Something?

Discussion in 'Tin Foil Hat Lounge' started by tulianr, Oct 23, 2013.

  1. tulianr

    tulianr Don Quixote de la Monkey

    Fishy Mystery: Are Beached Oarfish Trying to Tell Us Something?
    by Kevin Bailey Oct 23, 2013 5:45 AM EDT
    A pair of giant, bony fish—one 18 feet long—have washed up on California beaches this week. Are they climate change victims? Prophets of doom? Scientist Kevin Bailey on what we know.
    Two sea serpents washed ashore in southern California shores last week, startling local beachgoers, puzzling marine biologists—and giving rise to countless creepy conspiracy theories.

    This Friday Oct. 18, 2013 image provided by Mark Bussey shows an oarfish that washed up on the beach near Oceanside, Calif. This rare, snakelike oarfish measured nearly 14 feet long. (Mark Bussey/AP)

    The first sighting of the oarfish was an 18-footer that surprised a diver off Catalina Island. She dragged the dead beast, estimated to weigh 400 pounds, out of the water with the help of friends on October 13. The second, logging in at 14 feet, washed up at Oceanside Harbor five days later.

    Beaching of the oarfish is a very rare occurrence—the last time it happened was 2010—so two in one week is certainly an oddity. In fact, the creatures dwell so deep in the ocean that they’re rarely seen at all. (One eerie video which surfaced in June was something of a viral hit.)

    So what’s behind these spooky events? We may never know.

    According to Japanese mythology, the oarfish is a messenger from the dragon god of the sea. In concordance with the messenger theme, in the two years preceding the Tohoku earthquake in March 2011, an unusual number of oarfish stranded themselves on the coastal beaches of Japan. The Japan Times on March 6, 2010, reported that in folklore the fish comes to the beach as an omen of an earthquake. With that in mind, is “The Big One” about to hit southern California, splitting it off from the rest of the continent and tipping into the sea?

    Of course, the Internet is abuzz with other possible reasons. The sea serpents’ demise coincides with reports of Fukushima radioactivity working its way across the ocean. Then there are reports that offshore oil wells in southern California have been surreptitiously engaged in fracking the sea bottom to extract more petroleum. Or how about powerful sonar blasts the U.S. Navy is using in the waters off southern California? Climate change, old age, disease? A broken ocean? Could the pair have had a lovers’ quarrel that went south?

    The oarfish is the largest living bony fish, reaching up to 35 feet in length. Certainly the beast sighted on the surface by sailors gave rise to the lore of sea serpents. It has silvery blue skin and a red dorsal fin that runs the length of its body. There are several long fins extending from the top of its head like antennae, and they may have lures at the end. It positions itself vertically in the water with the head pointed upwards and swims up and down like an elevator from more than 1,000 feet deep to near surface by means of undulations of the dorsal fin.


    Fishy Mystery: Are Beached Oarfish Trying to Tell Us Something? - The Daily Beast
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