As breathtakingly beautiful as David Attenborough and the Blue Planet crew can make the ocean and its creatures seem, the reality is the depths of our seas and the things that lurk in them are pretty freaking strange. Take, for example, this giant, weird-looking, blobby fish that just mysteriously washed up on a California beach, baffling scientists who are trying to figure out how it ended up there.
Last week, an intern at University of California Santa Barbara's Coal Oil Point Reserve came upon a truly bizarre sight on the beach: a huge 7-foot fish that had washed up in the tides. After she alerted her colleague Jessica Nielsen, a conservation specialist, the fish was initially thought to be a fairly inconsequential discovery of a particular sunfish known to regularly swim in the waters off that area. However, a closer look revealed it was actually something quite different; specifically, a hoodwinker sunfish, which has never been seen anywhere near the Americas.
A rare sunfish sighting may not seem as startling as a spotting a dead humpback whale in the Amazon jungle, but researchers are nonetheless shocked.
“This is certainly the most remarkable organism I have seen wash up on the beach in my four years at the reserve," Nielsen told UCSB's The Current in an interview.