Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Odd sea creature discovered in South African; baffles scientists

A woman was walking along a beach in Cape Town, South Africa, when she came across an odd sea creature that had a serious set of fangs.
Leandra Vissr of Worcester used a muscle shell to pick up the freaky fish from the seashore, snapped a photo, and posted it on Facebook with a question:
“Can someone please tell me what the hell this is? We picked it up on the beach at De Kelder. It’s the real thing!!”
Some thought it was a dead puffer fish, some questioned whether it was a fish at all, and others thought it might be some sort of joke, according to News 24 and The Citizen of South Africa.
Vissr insisted it was real.
“I promise I’m not lying,” she told The Citizen. “I would never joke. It was very small and very smelly.”

Alan Whitfield, chief scientist at the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity, doubted it was a fish at all because it didn’t have fins, tail or scales.
“The head and jaws seem out of proportion with the body,” he told The Citizen. “In fact there is a question mark whether the creature may have been created from part of different animals.”
He added that just because it was picked up on a beach doesn’t mean it is a fish.
However, Griffiths, a professor of biological sciences at the University of Cape Town, offered a more plausible identification, telling The Citizen he believes it to be a rocksucker, or Chorisochismus dentex, that has dried up.
We tend to agree.
According to Fish Base, a rocksucker is a harmless fish that feeds on sea urchins , mussels, and limpets, and is found in the Southeast Atlantic, including parts of South Africa.
Griffiths explained that rocksuckers use their teeth to crack limpets and mussels.
Whitfield wasn’t totally convinced since it had no fins, adding that it will be impossible to know for certain without doing tests on the bizarre sea creature.
And that will be impossible, since Vissr didn’t keep the freaky fish.
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