|Florida's giant eyeball mystery solved: It belonged to a swordfish|
October 15, 2012
he mystery surrounding an enormous eyeball that was discovered on a Florida beach last Wednesday, prompting many wild theories and educated guesses as to what kind of creature it had belonged to, has been solved. Scientists who examined the colossal blue orb say it most likely came from a swordfish.
Genetic testing will be performed to confirm the identification.
"Experts on site and remotely have viewed and analyzed the eye, and based on its color, size and structure, along with the presence of bone around it, we believe the eye came from a swordfish," said Joan Herrera, a researcher for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. "Based on straight-line cuts visible around the eye, we believe it was removed by a fisherman and discarded."
The eyeball, about the size of a softball, was found by a fisherman on Pompano Beach. News of the discovery, along with colorful photos, spread around the world.
Marlin, swordfish, giant squid, whales and bigeye thresher sharks were mentioned as marine species with large eyeballs.
George Burgess, a shark expert with the Florida Museum of Natural History, seemed to be onto something when he ventured: "I'll bet the eye is from a bigeye thresher shark (Alopias superciliosus). They are caught off Florida in moderately deep water but are protected species. My guess is that a fisher did a bit of dissection at sea then was reminded it was illegal to possess even 'parts.'
Of all these species mentioned, little else made sense. But to keep the guessing game going one person, commenting on the FWC's Facebook page, stated, "A giant squid ripped out a whale's eye."
For now, it seems, this case is solved.
What remains mysterious, however, is how the eyeball washed ashore so perfectly intact with all of the predators in and flying above Florida's waters.