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Florida man digs up, stares down mysterious giant eyeball

From Christine Theodorou, CNN
updated 11:41 AM EDT, Sat October 13, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Gino Covacci finds a blue-tinged softball-size eyeball on Pompano Beach, Florida
  • State experts are looking at the eyeball to try to determine what species it came from
  • "I find many different things ... but not something like this," Covacci says of his walks

(CNN) -- When Gino Covacci walks on the beach, he always keeps his eyes peeled for shells, fish and whatever else washes up.

But it's not every day that he comes across something that seemingly looks right back at him -- as happened this week.

Covacci's discovery: a blue-tinged softball-size eyeball. Even scientists don't know quite where it came from, beyond the sands of Pompano Beach.

"I find many different things," he said of his daily walks by the sea, "but not something like this."

On Wednesday, Covacci said, he was walking along the southeastern Florida beach with a friend visiting from Greece when he spotted something protruding from the sand.

He picked it up, cleaned it off, turned it around and realized he was staring into a giant eyeball.

Excited about his find, Covacci flagged down a police officer and eventually got in touch with researchers based across the Sunshine State.

"The only thing is, I had to give it up," he said Friday of the eyeball.

Carli Segelson, a spokeswoman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, confirmed Covacci's account and said members of her agency ended up with the specimen.

"Staff have been looking at the eye to ID what it is," she said.

Experts didn't know late Friday what species the eye belongs to. Segelson said a conclusive finding on its origin could come early next week.

For the time being, the wildlife commission spokeswoman said, "the front-runner is some type of large fish."

But having peered closely into the mysterious eye, Covacci has other ideas.

"It is a squid; it's not a fish," he speculates. "Prove me wrong!"

Dead whale found in Boston Harbor now drifts toward sea

CNN's Greg Botelho and Joe Sutton contributed to this report.

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