A massive, odd-looking fish was found washed ashore on a beach in Australia and it has captured the attention of many, with some suggesting it could be the ancient and mysterious coelacanth. What is it?
John and Riley Lindholm were strolling along Moore Park Beach in Queensland, Australia when they chanced upon a strange creature on the shore. It was a massive fish with an estimated length of about 2 meters and weight of about 150 kilograms. It had a gray and silver color, with a large gaping mouth.
The monster fish did not appear to have any injuries, so the couple believes that the fish might have just died and ended up on the shore.
Incidentally, Mr. Lindholm is a charter skipper, but even with his experience with different fish species, he could not identify the mystery fish. He thought that the fish could have been a groper, but wasn't entirely convinced.
The couple took photos of the creature and posted it on a social media forum in hopes of possibly identifying the creature. Some suggested that it might be a cod, a groper, or a tripletail.
The couple went back to search for the fish the next day, but it was already gone.
Fish and chips anyone? This mystery fish washed up on a beach on #Bundaberg’s coast in #Qld: https://t.co/raFKutnxgG @abcnews pic.twitter.com/6nkh6O61Fx — Jess Lodge (@jess_lodge) March 8, 2018
What is it?
Interest in the creature spread rather quickly and people naturally gave their insights on what the fish could be. Some have suggested that it could be the ancient coelacanth, an ancient fish species that was believed to have gone extinct along with the dinosaurs 65 million years ago until it was rediscovered in 1938 by a South African museum curator.
However, though the living fossil does share several characteristics with the mystery fish such as its massive size and wide mouth, authorities believe another fish to be the likelier culprit.
The Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol consulted experts at the Queensland Museum in hopes of identifying the fish. According to the QBFP, although it's quite difficult to determine the fish species, it appears to be a Queensland groper, one of the largest bony fishes that have been implicated in fatal attacks on humans.
The Queensland Groper
In Queensland, the groper is a no-take species, meaning that it is a protected species and that catching or possessing it is prohibited. If the mystery fish is, indeed, the Queensland groper, authorities can no longer determine its cause of death.
"If accidentally caught, protected species should not be removed from the water - they should be immediately and carefully returned to the water," said a spokesperson from the QBFP.