This sucker was filmed in the Gulf of Mexico swimming among the oil rigs!!! It propelled itself with undulations of its dorsal fin and looks a lot like a sea serpent. In fact, it is said to be “the origin of the sea serpent myth” but I’m not quite sure what the difference is between being “the origin of the story of a 30 foot long fishy snaky thing with an undulating dorsal fin” and being a “30 foot long fishy snaky thing with an undulating dorsal fin” …




The Gulf Serpent Project is here.

Mark Benfield is Here.
Hat Tip Grrrrrl Scientist. Oh, and while visiting Grrrl Scientist, look at this: Posts and hosts are neexed for Scientia Pro Publica

* Note: Whales are not fish. That was a joke.

Comments

  1. #1 NewEnglandBob
    February 11, 2010

    Very cool standing wave motion on the dorsal fin.

  2. #2 Jason R
    February 11, 2010

    <pedant> Longest fish in the world is the whale shark (Rhincodon typus). Longest bony fish in the world is the oarfish (Regalecus glesne). </pedant>

  3. #3 Jared
    February 11, 2010
    The oarfish does get longer than the Whale Shark, sorry, but Megalodon is hypothesized to have been the same length (or a little longer) as the oarfish
  4. #4 Spiv
    February 11, 2010

    Yeah, I think this is specifically “longest.” Most massive is still Whale Shark. Which reference means “biggest” I guess is your call. Perhaps we could get a third category with “most luminous” or something.

    So, uh, what’s the most luminous fish in the sea?

  5. #5 Jared
    February 11, 2010

    Spiv, the flashlight fish and lanternfish, of course!

  6. #6 Azkyroth
    February 11, 2010

    Length listed for the King of Herrings oarfish species is 11 or 12 meters for the longest specimen depending on the resource consulted; greatest confirmed length for a whale shark is 12.65 meters.

  7. #7 Greg Laden
    February 11, 2010

    Well, the headline was meant to confuse and startle the reader with inaccurate information. Like, parody. Or, maybe to get Blastulistas mad at me.

    But in truth, I think this fish is said to be “one of the largest boney fish” which reflects some uncertainty.

    Yes, that herring is the largest fish because the largest ones are that herring, but that may be a red herring!

    Which is bigger … brown bears or polar bears? (Grizzleys are brown bears). The answer is: The largest specemin is a polar bear, way bigger than any brown bear. But, the average Kodiak (regional/subspcies of brown) bear is bigger than the average polar bear.

    I’m thinking with the fish people they say “one of the largest bony fish” rather than “second largest” because it is more accuate.

    Whale sharks are not bony fish.

  8. #8 Patsy Monteleone
    February 11, 2010

    How about “most massive bony fish”? Wouldn’t that be the ocean sunfish?

  9. #9 mark
    February 11, 2010

    How about “Biggest fish that is not eaten raw as a delicacy.”

  10. #10 MadScientist
    February 11, 2010

    Looking at the depth, you can probably discard this animal as being the inspiration for a “sea serpent”. For a human to see it, it would have to come to shallow water and drop dead and float to a beach or something. Besides, there are marine snakes (a genuine sea serpent) and there are eels (a fish) – I’m sure they’re more than enough inspiration for giant sea serpents.

  11. #11 Greg Laden
    February 11, 2010

    that is not eaten raw as a delicacy …. yet.

  12. #12 Jared
    February 11, 2010

    MadScientist, they are seen on the surface occasionally (when they are dead or dying).

  13. #13 Michael Cargal
    February 13, 2010

    In 1968 or ’69, I was second license on am 85-foot sportfishing boat out of San Diego. We were in Cabo San Lucas bay for the night. This was long before the inner harbor was dredged, and the main outside anchorage was full, so we were anchored out near the drop-off, where it goes from 10 fathoms to 1000 nearly vertically (20 meters to 500 meters) and then straight back up again.

    We put 1000-watt lights over the side to attract mackerel, which the night watch would catch for bait the next day. In the middle of the night, the watch woke the crew to show us a creature swimming around under the light. It was an oarfish I swear as long as the boat. It swam around a few minutes and then glided back down.

Current ye@r *