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One nightmarish sea creature is fun, but is two an invasion?

Another giant, ugly oarfish appears on a California beach. Experts say this is unheard of. What do these fish want from us?

2 min read
What do they want from us? CBS News/Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

I can see the movie now.

"Revenge of the Giant Oarfish" will star Kevin Costner as the grizzled old fisherman tasked to save America from ugly, angry sea creatures that not only appear on our shores, but somehow manage to squeeze their way into our sewage systems and bathroom sinks.

Pre-production seems inevitable after a second oarfish washed up on a Southern California shore.

After the discovery of an 18-foot specimen off Catalina Island last week, what were the chances that another one, this time 14 feet long, would turn up Friday in nearby Oceanside?

Yet, as CBS News reported, here were little children, wide-eyed with fascination at the arrival of another of these serpent-like creatures. For this menacing-looking specimen was discovered by a bunch of third-grade students on a beach study trip.

"I was thinking 'I have no idea what that is,'" young Alexandria Boyle told CBS News.

If those aren't words from a horror movie, I don't what they are.

Suzanne Kohin from the National Marine Fisheries Service was equally astonished. She told CBS News, "These two events that we heard of in the last few weeks are the only ones I've ever heard of."

She will be played by Amy Adams.

Oarfish are generally thought to live around 3,000 feet deep in the ocean, so it's not as if many people had the chance to study them or understand their movements.

Some have speculated, though, that these must be mere babies, as oarfish allegedly grow to some 50 or even 60 feet in length.

This has been pooh-poohed by Rick Feeney, ichthyology collections manager at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, who told the LA Times that giant oarfish around 27 feet long were the maximum ever witnessed.

The most natural explanations for their appearance on our shores have varied from disorientation to injury to death.

But what's most sparkling about these fish is how little is known about them.

I wonder what we might discover and when we might discover it.

Cue the movie music from the deep and sonorous string section.