Do you have remarkable, almost God-like powers of eyeball identification?
Than the Orlando Sentinel needs your help: a massive eyeball washed ashore on Pompano Beach, Florida yesterday, and no one can figure out what kind of creature it came from.
The huge eyeball is blue, larger than a softball, and almost certainly has to have formerly belonged to an aquatic animal of truly astonishing size—giant squid and various species of whale are currently front-runners.
A local man found it while walking along the beach and wisely took it to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. (Admit it, you might just have taken the eyeball home and had it preserved in alcohol and prominently and proudly displayed it on your desk at work. OK, that might just be me).
Read more from GlobalPost: Giant squid found off coast of Australia
The eyeball has been preserved and is being send off to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg for identification, but the public is also invited to get in on the action.
If you think you know what the eyeball is, do drop a line to the Orlando Sentinel at: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call with all eyeball related inquiries at 954-356-4535.
Please, avoid prank-calls regarding Nessie, The Abyss, and horrifying genetically-altered monstrosities at this time. Serious inquiries about mystery eyeballs only.
Since I have your attention about giant squid eyeballs at the moment and would be an utter fool to squander it, here's some fun facts:
- The colossal squid has the largest eyes found in nature, says the Museum of New Zealand, and possibly the largest that ever existed in planetary history—yes, that includes dinosaurs.
- The eyeball of a Colossal Squid is about 27 cm across. That's the size of a soccer ball. Using a giant squid eyeball as a soccer ball would be unspeakably gross; please don't do this.
- Why do squid require such grossly enormous eyes? It all comes down to light: creatures that have to operate in dark environments, like colossal squid, need bigger eyes (and pupils) to suck in the minimal amount of light available to them. One of the reasons we know so little about colossal squid is due to their fondness for living and hunting in the darkest depths of the planet's oceans
- Other animals with unusually huge eyes—all of which, not coincidentally, spend most of their time in the dark—owls, bush babies, and tarsiers, to name a few non-aquatic beasties. Seriously, check out tarsiers, they're a bit ridiculous.