Middle School Mind Blown: Warm-Blooded Fish Exist
I don't remember a lot about biology, but there are a few unalienable truths that I took with me: There are creepy bugs that live in your eyelashes, DNA sequences are...a thing, and fish — like reptiles and amphibians — are cold-blooded. But now scientists have discovered the opah, the world's first warm-blooded fish, essentially breaking all of biology. So there's that.
The opah, sometimes called the moonfish, generates heat by constantly flapping its fins, then conserving it in specially designed blood vessels in its gills. Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, which published a paper detailing its findings on Thursday, compared its specially developed system to a car radiator.
And here's the thing: Scientists didn't just discover this absurd-looking, biology-defying fish. People actually eat it! It's regularly caught by fishermen in the U.S. and New Zealand. Here's a recipe for seared opah with vine-ripe tomato garlic butter! Should we really be eating biological anomalies?
Researchers at the NOAA knew that the opah was a particularly special snowflake. Most fish that live hundreds of feet deep tend to be slow moving. But the deep-water predatory opah has a large heart, a lot of muscles, and big eyes, which are typically associated with active predators and desirable Tinder matches.
"Before this discovery I was under the impression this was a slow-moving fish, like most other fish in cold environments," Southwest Fisheries Science Center's Nick Wegner told USA Today. "But because it can warm its body, it turns out to be a very active predator that chases down agile prey like squid and can migrate long distances."
Can you imagine that giant frisbee chasing down a squid? The opah weighs about 100 pounds and is approximately the size of a car tire.
Researcher Heidi Dewar told The Washington Post:
I think that it’s really exciting that we spend so much time studying especially these larger fish to find something that’s completely unique and has never been seen before in any fish.
What Dewar means is that it's really exciting to shake the foundations of understanding. Burn your textbooks, kids. They're all full of lies about science that will one day be debunked by even more science. Biology, like everything else, is a circle as flat as the opah. Give up now. The world is futile.