Oarfish - A Real Sea Serpent
The origin of sea serpent stories is quite literally based on sea serpents. The oarfish (Regalecus glesne) is a remarkable fish. Its long body undulates like a snake, and according to the Encyclopedia Britannica Online, the oarfish can grow to the length of 9 meters (30.5 feet) and weigh as much as 300 kilograms (660 pounds).
These deep water fish of the tropics and subtropics are rarely seen, and usually only dead or dying specimens are found washed ashore. A team of U.S. Navy SEALs in 1996 found an oarfish on
off the coast of
See a picture of the oarfish at the U.S. Navy SEALs website. This oarfish was 24 feet long and weighed 300 pounds.
The distinctive red dorsal fins that the oarfish can raise like a bird's crest give it the dragonesque appearance that no doubt impressed ancient seafarers. They described their sightings of sea dragons and thereby contributed to the dragon lore of many cultures.
The book "Dragons: A Natural History" claimed that oarfish have been seen that were 60 feet in length. Perhaps this figure cannot be confirmed, but centuries ago before the oceans of the world were gutted of life by over fishing, many sea animals grew to greater sizes than seen today. For example, just over the past 50 years, bluefin tuna that were once routinely caught in the 1,000 pound size are only found at about 300 pounds or less today. Reason supports the theory that oarfish of extraordinary sizes were once seen and declared serpent dragons of the deep.
"Oarfish." Encyclopedia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 6 May 2007
"Dragons: A Natural History." 1995. Dr. Karl Shuker.
. Page 33.
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