If we said “name the weirdest, most mystical & inexplicable creature on earth” you would rightly say “80s English footballer Peter Beardsley”. But pause for a moment to consider instead the ‘umble eel, a fish(ish) so unknown and unknowable that no human has observed one shagging in the wild. In fact no-one’s totally sure that they even DO shag in the wild. A bit like Peter Beardsley.

It’s an astonishing tale, the eel’s, at the heart of which is a simple question that’s confounded thinkers big and small for centuries: where do eels come from? Mad cap attempts to find out have been almost as wild as the fact that people like eating the poor sods in a ‘jelly’ of their own skin and sweat.

We delve into the deliciously, reassuringly bonkers story of the eel and its origins, a story that in October 2022 partially revealed itself to modern science. Which doesn’t strike us as a necessarily good thing.

Enjoy Dr Emily Finch’s twitter thread that prompted this episode, and then read Brooke Jarvis’ superlative New Yorker article from 2021.

Sustainababble is your friendly environment podcast, out weekly. Theme music by the legendary Dicky Moore – @dickymoo. Sustainababble logo by the splendid Arthur Stovell at Design by Mondial. Ecoguff read out by Arabella.

Love the babble? Bung us a few pennies at www.patreon.com/sustainababble.

MERCH: sustainababble.teemill.com

Available on iTunes, Spotify, Acast & all those types of things, or at sustainababble.fish. Visit us at @thebabblewagon and at Facebook.com/sustainababble. Email us at hello@sustainababble.fish.