WEIRD NEWS
11/20/2013 11:08 am ET | Updated Nov 21, 2013

Knifenose Chimaera, Arctic Mystery Fish, Is Even Weirder Than It Looks (PHOTO)

A university researcher in Canada claims he knows the identity of a mysterious sea creature that was recovered by a fishing boat in the Arctic Ocean.

Some people postulated that the Arctic mystery fish was a goblin shark, but Nigel Hussey, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Windsor who's made a name for himself discovering hybrid manta rays, says it belongs to the long-nosed chimaera family -- fish with cartilage skeletons that have lived in the oceans for more than 350 million years.

The photo went viral after it was posted to CBC North's Facebook page Nov. 10.

"Only one of these fish has previously been documented from the Hudson Strait," Hussey told the CBC. "Potentially, if we fish deeper, maybe between 1,000 and 2,000 meters, we could find that there's actually quite a lot of them there. We just don't know."

In an email to The Huffington Post, Hussey said although he's only been able to identify the fish through the photo, he and other researchers are trying to acquire the specimen. He also clarified that he is now fairly certain the specimen is a "knifenose chimaera."

"We think this species is a knifenose chimaera (Rhinochimaera atlantica). There is another species which they call the longnose so we don't wish for confusion!" Hussey wrote.

The knifenose chimaera is a member of the family Rhinochimaeridae, which stems from the Greek words for "nose" and "monster." That monstrous, paddle-shaped proboscis is loaded with numerous sensory nerve endings that the animal uses to find food, such as small fish, according to Hussey.

But that's not its only peculiar feature -- the chimaera also has a poisonous spine on its front dorsal fin.

The long-nosed chimaera lives in tropical and temperate waters around the world, at depths of up to 6,600 feet. They typically grow 2 to 4.5 feet long. Here's some footage of a long-nosed chimaera in action in the Indian Ocean:

And by the way, this is a goblin shark:

Yikes.

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