Marine biologists on Monday are performing a rare dissection on an oarfish at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center.
You could smell the fish before you could see it, but they did not seem to mind. They learned the 14-foot fish was pregnant with at least hundreds of eggs.
Suzanne Kohin, who was working with the team, went to Oceanside on Friday after the dead fish washed ashore.
She and the others said it was a privilege to learn about the fish, which was once believed to be a mythical creature. Scientists say it can live thousands of feet below the ocean's surface, so it is rarely seen dead or alive.
"It's just so cool," said Kohin.
It is even more unusual that another oarfish turned up dead off Avalon about a week before. Marine biologists like Kohin are working to understand why.
They told 10News the fish that washed ashore in Oceanside had bite marks from a cookiecutter shark. They also learned it had very little in its stomach.
Those are just some of the clues that may shed some light on the dark depths of ocean life.