Mystery giant eyeball belonged to swordfish

5:50 PM, Oct 19, 2012   |    comments
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Photo Gallery: Giant eyeball washes up on Florida beach
This photo made available by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission shows a giant eyeball that washed ashore and was found by a man walking the beach in Pompano Beach.

St. Petersburg, Florida --  You could say the once proclaimed "Mystery Eyeball" discovered in Pompano Beach captured the imaginations of people around the world.

After all, it's not every day one walks along the beach in Florida and discovers a giant, lone eyeball washing up on shore.

"We didn't know where it came from initially," said Kevin Baxter, a spokesman with Florida Fish and Wildlife, or FWC.

When FWC posted the picture of the bright blue eyeball on its Facebook page last week, they knew it would draw interest, but had no idea it would go viral worldwide.

Much speculation focused on it possibly being from a giant squid or undiscovered creature. Unfortunately for those with vivid imaginations, genetic testing showed it wasn't so spectacular.

"It turns out, it's just an eyeball from a swordfish, an animal that we know there's lots of out there. It was probably taken out by a fisherman who threw it out into the water and it washed up on the beach... it's not some sort of sea monster or anything," said Alfred Thomson, Collections Manager at FWC in St. Petersburg.

FWC says the eyeball likely came from  a pretty averaged sized swordfish, estimated by experts to be about 200-250 pounds.
To put that into perspective for you, FWC tells us the record catch for a swordfish in Florida is 612 pounds and the fish can get bigger than that, making the once "Mystery Eyeball" a little less than average.

But it's not all a loss.

"It'll get catalogued in our specimen collection. We have a collection of about 20,000 fish specimen here. The collection is used for research, not only our own internal research, but other external research will come here and do projects," explained Baxter.

So it's possible one day down the road, the mystery eyeball could help a scientist down the road unlock a mystery behind a question or theory they may have about eyes.

FWC says this will be one of very few lone eyeball specimens in their collection.

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