A lot of weird things have surfaced on beaches, but this one may be the oddest in the cornea-copia.
Gino Covacci was taking his usual stroll on Pompano Beach, when he noticed a bizarre ball-like object on the high tide line. He kicked it over and realized that he was staring at the largest eye that he had ever seen. Covacci brought the eye home, placed it in a plastic bag, and put it in his refrigerator.
"It was very, very fresh," Covacci said to reporters. "It was still bleeding when I put it in the plastic bag." He called a police officer, who provided him with the number for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Wildlife officials placed the eyeball on ice. It will be kept in formalin, a mixture of formaldehyde and water, and then will be sent to the Fish and Wildlife Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida, according to Carli Segelson, a spokeswoman for the commission.
No one is sure yet about which animal is missing an eye. Florida has many animals in its waters that are large enough to possess an eye that size, including swordfish, tuna, sharks and whales. Some species of squid are known to grow eyes that large in order to collect the maximum amount of visual information in the murky waters of the deep.
Chris Messing, a professor at the Nova Southeastern University's Oceanographic Center, said to the Orlando Sentinel that the animal in question was probably a swordfish, which are common off the coast of Florida.
Robert L. Pitman, on the other hand, a marine biologist at the National Marine Fisheries Service, said to National Geographic that it was a probably a squid eye. "Other things with eyes that big (fish, cetaceans) have them [embedded] in hard tissue. Squid eyes are in relatively soft tissue and more likely to dislodge as in the photo you sent. A quick DNA analysis could easily sort it [out] for you," Pitman wrote in an email.
But Segelson doubts it; because of the presence of bones around the eye, she says that it could not be a squid.
Though no one knows to whom the eye belongs, the commission says that they should have preliminary test results by the end of the day today.