Off the northeast coast of Taiwan last month, a massive deep-sea oarfish was discovered swimming in very shallow seas.
Amazed divers filmed the incredible scene as others got next to the creature for context, which shows how giant the fish is.
The beast, well over six feet in length, showed signs of being bitten several times.
The creature was, in a sense, a fish out of water. Oarfish are deep-sea fish that lives in the mesopelagic zone, which extends from about 200 to 1,000 meters (658 to 3280 feet) below the ocean’s surface. They are notoriously difficult to spot, and sometimes they are spotted swimming close to the water’s surface.
Oarfish are typically included in local myths and tales because of their enigmatic nature and the fact that they are rarely seen in coastal waters. The fact that these animals may grow to be over 36 feet long suggests they may have had a role in perpetuating the myth of the sea serpent.
The oarfish symbolizes impending catastrophe in Japanese culture, where it is honored as a “Messenger from the Sea God’s Palace.” Their existence is interpreted as an omen of impending earthquakes and tsunamis.
National Geographic reports that six oarfish were discovered in the area days before a devastating 2017 earthquake in Surigao, Philippines.
Experts in the scientific community have written off these assertions as urban legends since they have found no evidence to back them up.
After analyzing 336 recorded sightings of the fish and more than 220 earthquakes that occurred between 1928 and 2011, Japanese researchers revealed their results in 2019.
Yoshiaki Orihara said they began their research believing that witnessing the deep water fish in shallow waters could be critical information for disaster preparedness and prevention. Orihara is an associate professor of Solid Earth Geophysics at Tokai University.
He notes that people shouldn’t “freak out” if one suddenly emerges. His goal is for
people to be ready for earthquakes every day because of the difficulty in forecasting them.
The hope is that this is a way of predicting a disaster in advance.