A deceased 18-foot long Oarfish was discovered lying on the seabed under the waves near Catalina Island, south of Los Angeles.

Catalina Island Marine Institute science instructor Jasmine Santana was snorkeling in Toyon Bay when she found the lengthy sea creature that’s thought to have inspired the nautical legends about “sea serpents,” reported NBC News. With the help of a few colleagues, Santana extracted the fish from the water and onto the shore. Despite being an undersized version of the largest bony fish known to researchers (they can grow to over 50 ft.), the oarfish weighed roughly 300 pounds and required 15 people to lift once on land.

Oarfish are very infrequently found either alive or dead, as their natural habitat is hundreds of feet below sea level. The incredibly long bony fish was first captured on camera in its watery abode by Louisiana State University researchers in 2010, roughly 360 feet from the surface.

After finding the Oarfish, Santana had it brought back to CIMI, where experts are keeping the sea creature on ice until as much biological information can be gathered as possible. "We have a fairly well-known biologist we're trying to call out to do a dissection of the fish," CIMI's marketing director Kent Woodsn told NBC News. After the biologist, Milton Love, analyzes the Oarfish, its bones will provide the latest skeleton to join CIMI’s vast array of marine life skeletons.

– Chelsea Regan

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