Vallejo Times-Herald, 1985-10-23

PRIVAS, France (AP) -- A government spelunker said Tuesday he had found a school of pink, eyeless, fish-like creatures with dolphin-like heads in an underground well deep inside a previously unexplored cave in southeastern France. They were all dead.

The state-run National Center For Scientific Research said the creatures were endowed with two respiratory systems, apparently allowing them to live either on land or in the water. But after initial examination, it was not immediately clear why the creatures had died.

Andre Vermorel director of the Forestiere caves in France's Ardeche region, said he found the creatures while wading through the well, which he previously had been unable to reach. It was made accessible when a drought in south- eastern France dried up many of the underground streams that run through the caves.

He described the creatures as pink, about six inches long, with heads shaped like a dolphin and having only traces of slits for eyes. The bodies were eel-like.

The National Center for Scientfic Research said it had not determined whether the creatures represented a new variety of fish or a mutant eel.

Vermorel said he came upon the well about a mile inside the cave.

It was not immediately known whether Vermorel or the scientists thought any more of the creatures might exist.

(Reprinted from Shavertron #25)