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www.wmfd.com - Usually elusive animals are washing up on beaches in California, and it's got some people wondering just what's going on. }}" />

Unusual Sea Life Washing Ashore Off Southern California

Story By: Larry Stine



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  Original Published: 10/27/2013 Usually elusive animals are washing up on beaches in California. And it's got some people wondering just what's going on. Casey Wian talks to scientists to find out. It started when a snorkeler came across this 18-foot creature that's likely an example of what ancient mariners called sea serpents. "They seem kind of sea-monsterish, and so it catches a lot of attention," says Jim Dries of the Natural History Museum of L.A. County. "And it's exciting for the scientists too." Normally found only in the deep ocean, this oarfish was in just 15 feet of water off Catalina Island. Two days later, and this bizarre looking mammal washed ashore across the channel on Venice Beach. It's believed to be a rare saber tooth stejneger's beaked whale and it's usually found in much colder waters, and almost unheard of in Southern California. "They're never seen around here and to have something this unique wash up, which is a once in a lifetime so far experience for me, was a real treat," says Nick Flash, education specialist for Heal The Bay. Manhattean Beach surfers are used to seeing great white sharks but not this many. "Well I've been seeing an abnormally high quantity of great white sharks out here lately, so i figure I'd take my standup paddle board out, put my Go-Pro camera on my head and see if I can get some footage," says one surfer. Did he ever. "There he is right there swimming right up to me," he added. "Holy (bleep). He's checking me out. Oh my God, right under the board. Oh my God look at that, I'm (Bleeping) shaking like a leaf." So what's going on here? "I'd say something along the lines of global climate change," says Alex Aronoff, a surfer. "The temperature of the ocean current is definitely changing up a bit," he added. "I don't know, it sounds scary though, especially with the great whites," Courtney Bellig, a surfer. "I have four little kids here and I tell them not to go in the water." "Scarier than any shark sighting for Southern California is a theory about the oarfish," says CNN's Casey Wian. "Japanese legend holds that oarfish actually beach themselves to warn of an impending earthquake." And, in fact, dozens of them did just that in Japan about a year before the devastating Fukushima quake and tsunami in 2011. "Usually, there is some truth behind every legend, in that particular instance, I don't know, it seems a little far-fetched," says Dines. Scientists don't know why all this is happening. For now, the Catalina oarfish has been dissected, cut in pieces and frozen, so its flesh can be boiled off later and it's skelton reconstructed, and mounted. Wonder if that will keep the earthquakes away?
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