The ocean sunfish or mola mola is doing its best to survive. However, Scout Burns made a now-viral Facebook post that said it shouldn’t even exist in the first place. In her rant, Burns explained why she believes the sunfish to be the world’s most useless creature, saying that, “God must have accidentally dropped while washing dishes one day and shrugged his shoulders at because no one could have imagined this would happen.”
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As VICE pointed out, it’s understandable why someone would think so little of the sunfish. The mola mola has many nicknames — schwimmender kopf (“swimming head”) in German, putol (“cut short”) in the Philippines, and “toppled car fish” in Taiwan—belie its absurd reputation — and they’re not doing it any good, too. That last one is an especially accurate insult, since the mola mola grows to roughly the size and shape of a trash-compacted car.
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To explain this amusing text, Andy Lister, a marine biologist from Lincolnshire, UK. Lister called the rant “fantastic” for its artistry, “It’s well thought through for the most part, but largely flawed.”
“A lot of what Scout posted is accurate but her viewpoint on it all is somewhat biased against them,” the scientist said.”[But] apart from the fact that sunfish are decently powerful swimmers using those massive fins, it isn’t far off the mark at all.”
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According to Lister, the sunfish is actually pretty well suited to survive. “Jellyfish aren’t exactly motorized so it can eat its way through them pretty well. Coming to the surface to be cleaned by birds is actually pretty smart. Similar idea to the Rhinos and Oxpeckers. As much as they can get to 5,000 pounds too, it is very unlikely that will happen now. Similar to saying Humans can reach over 7 feet tall,” he explained. “Whilst they may not be stupid as f**k, they certainly are, however, dull as f**k.”
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The comment section below Burns’ rant was full of praises
However, not everyone agreed with her
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David Masad asked a biologist friend what they thought about the post. The response was as intense as the rant itself.
“[She] has no idea what she’s talking about!” his friend Zenia Sherman said. Furthermore, she explained that any animal that eats mainly jellyfish is helping the environment, because overfishing of the ocean has led to a huge increase in the number of squidgy jelly animals. They even fact-checked all of Burns’ arguments and came to similar conclusions as Lister, highlighting that sunfish aren’t drifters, but active swimmers instead, controlling where they go with as much thrust as penguins. “Not bad for a 5,000-pound fish head with wings.”
“The fact that ocean sunfish utilize birds to rid them of parasites is actually quite clever,” the biologist said. Sunfish have also been proven to have learning behaviors, which means they can adapt to their changing surroundings (also smart).
However, that doesn’t mean that Zenia disliked the post altogether. “I thought the rant was pretty funny, honestly,”. “My friend asked for my thoughts on it, and I’ve always loved fish and thought sunfish are pretty neat because of their odd body shape, so I was happy to ‘defend’ them in an equally humorous way; it was a nice distraction from studying. He asked to share it, and we were both very surprised when it went viral.
“Even though Zenia hasn’t been able to spend that much time researching them because of school, she did come to the conclusion that the ocean sunfish is so wonderfully weird. “Nothing else looks like it, and it’s been around for millions of years! That indicates a pretty successful survival ability, I think. I hope they can be in our oceans for many more millions, and that humans don’t ruin those chances.”