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WILD & WEIRD: Giant Sea Serpent Found Off California

Enormous sea serpents — cousins to dragons — have slithered through legend for millennia. But unlike dragons, sea serpents (of a sort) sometimes still pop up in real life. In a 2001 study, cryptozoologist Bruce Champagne noted that dozens of sightings of unidentified leviathans have been reported in the past two centuries alone.

In October 2013, snorkeling off the coast of Southern California, a marine science instructor spotted the carcass of what may well have been characterized as a legendary monster: an 18-foot-long, serpentine "oarfish," longest of the bony fish species. It took more than 15 people to drag the gargantuan creature's body ashore. 

Oarfish often dive to depths greater than 3,000 feet and are very rarely seen — dead or alive — by humans. And while an 18-footer is surely large enough to call up images of mythical sea serpents,s giant oarfish of far greater lengths have been recorded — some stretching more than 55 feet. That's longer than your average school bus.

Watch footage and learn more from the Los Angeles Times; then check out this wild, weird and funny oarfish music video.



This video appears on the Center's YouTube channel and was originally made by Jonathan Mann.

Photo © Paul S. Hamilton