For centuries, the Sea Serpent persisted as the most captivating cryptozoological mystery in the world. Sightings of these mysterious, and often frightening, creatures have occurred plentifully throughout history, even up until the early twentieth century. From northern European waters to the Eastern North American coast, tales of serpentine, aquatic beasts of colossal proportions dot the globe. Their descriptions vary, ranging from horse-headed creatures to massive snakes.
Cryptozoologists speculate that various misidentified animals can account for Sea Serpent sightings. However, one elusive species is a particularly likely source for many of these accounts. The oarfish (or ribbonfish) is a massive, elongated fish found worldwide. It is the longest of all bony fish, the largest recorded being 17 meters (56 ft) in length. Oarfish typically dwell in the deep ocean, but are occasionally washed ashore in storms, and linger at the surface near death. A live oarfish was filmed for the first time in 2001, demonstrating its rarity and reclusive nature.