February 09, 2005

2/9 - Look What the Tsunami Washed In: A little hoaxing?

I got the same e-mail from two different non-marine biologist friends today (showing long lists of people having forwarded them) that had a collection of about 25 photos of amazing deep sea fish and invertebrates with the heading of, "Deep sea creatures washed in by the Tsunami." Which certainly sounds kewl and the creatures are an all-star line up of deep sea weirdos, but ... are we really supposed to believe that this wave that a lot of scuba divers at 50 depth survived, somehow reached a mile down in the ocean, brought these things up, and deposited them on shore? I did a deep sea dredging cruise to Scotland in 1992 where we hauled up a lot of these same fascinating animals from 2 miles depth. Kinda hard to figure out how the tsunami could do this. Plus look at the photos -- they look like they were taken in the same sort of on-board ship laboratory that we worked in. I think some deep sea biologist decided to ride the wave of attention the tsunami generated. Or maybe I'm wrong.



Fish Tales: did the tsunami deliver these whoppers?

Posted by Randy Olson at February 9, 2005 03:29 AM

Hi Randy, I got a bunch of those emails too. the creatures are actually from the NORFANZ deep sea expedition (New Zealand) as you predicted. It's already up on the urban legends site http://www.snopes.com/photos/tsunami/creature.asp

cheers, Mike

Posted by: Mike Hirshfield at February 9, 2005 04:02 PM

Very nice. Someone deserves kudos for "opportunistic marine science education."

Posted by: Randy Olson at February 9, 2005 06:42 PM

I got your blurb emailed to me, those fish were so odd I thought I'd come check you out. Great site! Even though the fish weren't from the tsunami, I had no idea they existed. I'm impressed! Good site! Just wanted to let you know, there are people spreading this story with your link, hope you get lots and lots of action.
Renae in Oregon

Posted by: Renae at February 13, 2005 08:00 PM