Updated at: 10/12/2012 2:35 PM
By FREIDA FRISARO
(AP) MIAMI - Word that a giant eyeball washed up on a South Florida beach has created a buzz on the Internet and in the marine biology community.
The huge, blue eyeball may have come from a deep sea squid or a large sword fish, said Heather Bracken-Grissom, an assistant professor in the marine science program at Florida International University in Miami.
A man found the eyeball while taking a morning stroll along Pompano Beach just north of Fort Lauderdale. He contacted state wildlife officials, who took possession of the softball-sized eyeball.
As soon as pictures hit the Internet on Thursday, Bracken-Grissom said she started talking with her colleagues.
"Any time something weird and crazy washes up on the beach, it’s definitely interesting," she said.
The professor and her colleagues concluded that the eyeball’s lens and pupil are similar in shape to that of a deep sea squid. She noted that a deep sea squid’s eyeball can be as large as a soccer ball and can easily become dislodged.
The mystery likely won’t be solved until testing on the eyeball is completed at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg.
"It’s going to be very interesting to see what the genetic analysis shows," Bracken-Grissom said.
She said news of the giant eyeball traveled quickly. Relatives from California even called, asking her opinion.
"Something like this gets the public very excited about the mysterious realm of the ocean," she said..
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)