Animals, Science

Rare Five-Metre-Long Oarfish Discovered In California

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Image: Tim Evanson
An oarfish hangs in the Smithsonian. Image: Tim Evanson

A marine biologist, who was snorkelling off the coast of California, has made a fantastic discovery.

Jasmine Santana found a dead oarfish so long that she needed 15 people to help her drag it out of the ocean.

Santana works for the Catalina Island Marine Institute. She was snorkling when she saw something shimmering.

It was the body of an oarfish. But it wasn’t just any oarfish–this one was more than five metres (18 feet) long.

Oarfish are plankton-eaters. They are rarely seen by humans, because they live deep in the ocean–up to 1,000 metres down.

They are long, like a “sea serpent.” In fact, oarfish may have been the mythical sea serpents of legend.

The last oarfish anyone at Santana’s institute had seen was just one metre long.

So a five-metre oarfish is a rare and incredible find.

Image: LT DeeDee Van Wormer
In 1996, a seven metre oarfish was found off the coast of San Diego. Image: LT DeeDee Van Wormer

So incredible, that Santana knew she’d have to get the oarfish’s carcass to land or no one would believe her.

She dragged it through the water as far as she could, and then she called to people on the shore to help her bring it the rest of the way.

The oarfish apparently died of natural causes.

The carcass will be put on display and then buried in the sand so it will decompose and the skeleton can be preserved for study and display.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Have you ever found something incredible, astonishing, or amazing? What was it? Describe the excitement you felt? Who did you share your discovery with?

Reading Prompt: Extending Understanding
Today’s article explains that the oarfish Santana found was more than five metres (18 feet) long. But just how long is that? Use a measuring tape or a metre stick to discover just how big the oarfish was. How does this add to your understanding of today’s story.

Primary
Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge and experience, to other famil- iar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Junior
Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Intermediate
Extend understanding of texts, including increasingly complex or difficult texts, by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Grammar Feature: Compound Nouns
There are many different names for the many different types of fish that live in lakes, seas, rivers, etc. Some fish names are compound nouns. That is, they are two nouns that are put together to create a single proper noun (a specific name). Examples of compound proper nouns for fish are, “sunfish,” “trunkfish,” “clownfish,” “triggerfish,” “catfish,” and “zebrafish.”

Create your own fish using a compound proper noun. Draw a picture of your creation and tell a little bit about it (e.g. its size, who discovered it, what it eats).