Watch freaky oarfish frolic in the Sea of Cortez

Oarfish are freaky sea dragons. You might remember them from the beaching incidents last fall, when two oarfish turned up on the coast of California within a week. That's a big deal, because the fish usually live far down in the ocean — at depths up to 3000 feet. It's relatively rare to catch them at a depth where humans have easy access. In this video, you can see tourists with a Shedd Aquarium travel program interacting with a couple of 15-feet-long oarfish in the Sea of Cortez. Definitely stick around to about 1:40 in the video, where you get some stunning underwater close ups of the oarfish.

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  1. That fish looks like she is having a shitty day to me for some reason.

  2. When perfectly normal human organs are suddenly visible, my innate reaction is that something is very wrong. In the same way, watching these guys swim around in a place that's usually deadly to them, gives me a sense of nausea. I feel something terrible has happened, we just don't know what yet. It seems quite plausible that in addition to breaking the atmosphere, humans have also broken the oceans. And we won't do anything different until its been proven beyond the shadow of a doubt, and such proof will never be presented.

  3. I try to reassure myself that there seem to be records of deep sea creatures surfacing throughout recorded history, and that in early times these sightings became the source of legends of sea monsters. And I try to reassure myself that the only reason we seem to be hearing about them more often is just because there are more people with cameras, and news gets around faster these days.

    I try to reassure myself, but it doesn't do much good. Even if the distress that caused these creatures to move to shallow water has nothing to do with human activity the fact is we've still done, and keep doing, a lot of damage to the oceans.

  4. Bingo.

    The more immediate threat from increased CO2 is not global warming, as bad as that is, but ocean acidification. Just like adding CO2 makes soft drinks fizzy and acidic, so adding CO2 to the atmosphere makes the oceans more acidic.
    Among the immediate effects of more acidic oceans is to make many warm, deep zones inhospitable to life. This has already happened near Long Beach, Ca.

    If you have the time, this public outreach lecture from the National Academy of Science by the Dr Brewer of the Monterey Bay Aquarium lays out clearly what is happening, including some pretty depressing videos of what is currently occurring at depth offshore of California.

    If this acidification effect has taken hold near Baja, as it has near southern California, then one would expect the long-lived keystone species such as Oarfish to leave the depths in search of food.

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