Oarfish Origins, and a Very (Un?)likely Sea Serpent

Posted by: Karl Shuker on December 30th, 2014

One of the world’s most fascinating, spectacular, and mysterious sea creatures must surely be the giant oarfish Regalecus glesne.

And the giant oarfish is indeed spectacular. What other fish can boast a silver-skinned, scaleless, laterally-compressed, ribbon-like body of illusively serpentiform appearance known to measure over 30 ft long (and with plausible if unconfirmed lengths of up to 50 ft also documented); a blood-red erectile crest composed of the first few greatly-elongated rays of the dorsal fin and memorably compared to a Native American’s head-dress by science-fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke; an equally erythristic but shorter-rayed remaining dorsal fin running the entire length of its body; a horse-like head with protrusible toothless jaws; and a pair of very long, oar-shaped pelvic fins that earn this singular species its most frequently-used common name?

Oarfish-public-domain

Not surprisingly, this distinctly serpentiform creature is commonly cited by mainstream scientists and cryptozoologists alike as a likely explanation for at least some reports of alleged sea serpents. What IS surprising, conversely, is that this explanation incited scathing scepticism from none other than the Father of Cryptozoology himself, Dr Bernard Heuvelmans. But why – and was his scepticism justified?

Further details, including links to some very dramatic videos of living oarfishes, can be obtained here on my ShukerNature blog.

Karl Shuker About Karl Shuker
My name is Dr Karl P.N. Shuker. I am a zoologist (BSc & PhD), media consultant, and the author of 25 books and hundreds of articles, specialising in cryptozoology and animal mythology. I have a BSc (Honours) degree in pure zoology from the University of Leeds (U.K.), and a PhD in zoology and comparative physiology from the University of Birmingham (U.K.). I have acted jointly as consultant and major contributor to three multi-author volumes on cryptozoology and other mysterious phenomena. I am the Life Sciences Consultant to The Guinness Book of Records/Guinness World Records (Guinness: London, 1997-present day), and was consultant to Monsters (Lorenz Books: London, 2001), as well as a contributor to Mysteries of the Deep (Llewellyn: St Paul, 1998), Guinness Amazing Future (Guinness: London, 1999), The Earth (Channel 4 Books: London, 2000), and Chambers Dictionary of the Unexplained (Chambers: London, 2007). I appear regularly on television & radio, was a consultant for the Discovery TV series Into the Unknown, and a question setter for the BBC's quiz show Mastermind. I am a Scientific Fellow of the Zoological Society of London, a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society, a Member of the Society of Authors, and the Cryptozoology Consultant for the Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ). I have written articles for numerous publications, including Fortean Times, The X Factor, Paranormal Magazine, FATE, Strange Magazine, Prediction, Beyond, Uri Geller's Encounters, Phenomena, Alien Encounters, Wild About Animals, All About Cats, All About Dogs, Cat World, etc. In 2005, I was honoured by the naming of a new species of loriciferan invertebrate after me - Pliciloricus shukeri.





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