After a humpback whale was discovered in the Amazon rainforest, far from where any humpback should have been this time of year, another huge sea creature is puzzling scientists.
A 7 foot-long hoodwinker sunfish washed up on a California beach on Wednesday, in the first time the species has ever been spotted in the Northern Hemisphere.
Sunfish are massive, oddly shaped ocean creatures that can weight over 2,000 pounds. The hoodwinker species is especially rare, and was only discovered in the last 125 years.
It's name is a nod to how it was often mistaken for more common types of sunfish, and "hoodwinked" marine biologists.
Normally, hoodwinkers spend their days in the oceans off New Zealand’s coast, so it’s anyone’s guess what this specimen was doing on the wrong side of the planet.
Because it was carried onto a beach in UC Santa Barbara’s Coal Oil Point Reserve, researchers were quick to spot the sunfish and study it.
Marianne Nyegaard, a sunfish expert from Australia’s Murdoch University, was stunned to hear about the discovery.
"I literally, nearly fell off my chair (which I was already sitting on the edge of!)," she told NBC 4.
While experts can say for sure the sunfish had already passed away when it washed up on shore, they hope to figure out its exact cause of death, and explain how it wound up on an American beach.
It’s possible that because these fish are so rare, experts still don’t understand just how far their habitat extends. But this specimen will teach them much more.
[H/T: NBC 4]