Sunday 28 February 2010

Mini dinosaur land found by palaeontologists.

Found: 'Jurassic Parkette' – the prehistoric island ruled by dwarf dinosaurs

A prehistoric "lost world" ruled by miniature dinosaurs has been discovered by palaeontologists.

By Richard Gray, Science Correspondent 20 Feb 2010

The creatures lived on an island – a kind of pigmy Jurassic Park – and were up to eight times smaller than some of their mainland cousins. One of the island-dwelling dinosaurs, named Magyarosaurus, was little bigger than a horse, but was related to some of the largest creatures to ever walk the Earth – gigantic titanosaurs such as Argentinosaurus, which reached up to 100 feet long and weighed around 80 tons. Another of the dinosaurs was found to be a primitive dwarfed species similar to large duck-billed herbivores like Iguanodon, which could grow to be up to 10 feet long and weighed more than three tons. Fossils from the dwarf dinosaurs were found in what is now modern day Romania, in an area known as Hateg, which, 65 million years ago – when the creatures were living there – was an island. Professor Michael Benton, from the University of Bristol, who carried out the research with scientists at the Universities of Bucharest and Bonn, said the dinosaurs seemed to have evolved smaller bodies after becoming marooned there. He said: "Most of the famous dinosaurs that we know about were living on big landmasses at the end of the Cretaceous period. "The curious thing about Europe at this time was that it was largely covered by sea and much of Eastern Europe was a sort of archipelago of islands. "If you are a big dinosaur on a small island with limited food and space, then the evolutionary pressure is either to go extinct or to get smaller." The findings will overturn some popular perceptions about dinosaurs, which are generally considered the largest animals to have ever stalked the Earth. Even their name, derived from the Greek for "fearfully great lizard", implies that dinosaurs were gigantic creatures. The dwarf bones were found by a 19th century fossil hunter called Baron Franz Nopcsa, who observed at the time that the species he discovered were unusually small. His observations sparked debate among palaeontologists about whether the dinosaurs were entirely new dwarfed species or merely just juveniles of larger dinosaurs. Most large dinosaurs were adapted to roaming across huge landmasses where their territories and food sources were plentiful. Their large size also offered protection against predators. However, at the end of the cretaceous period, around 65 million years ago, much of Europe was under water and Hateg, which is now landlocked in central Romania, is thought to have formed a 30,000 square mile island – about half the size of modern Britain. Palaeontologists believe that the rising sea levels in Europe cut many species of dinosaurs off the rest of the world, forcing them to adapt to their new, smaller habitats. Modern analysis techniques have now allowed the scientists to confirm the remains of two common species of dinosaur found on the island, and possibly a third, were in fact dwarfed species. The researchers found that the four legged herbivore Magyarosaurus had an estimated body length of just 16 to 19 feet and weighed just an eighth of its larger relatives such Argentinosaurus and the Paralititan, which grew up to 100 feet length and weighed up to 80 tons. A hadrosaurid called Telmatosaurus was also found to be just 13 feet long, compared to the 22 to 32 feet of its closest relations. It is estimated to have weighed just an eighth of relatives such as the five ton Maiasaura. The scientists say a third species, a two legged herbivore known as Zalmoxes, was a possible dwarf species related to the 26 foot long Tenontosaurus, and weighed around a quarter as much as its two ton relative. The new findings will be published in the scientific journal Palaeogreography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. Professor Benton said many of the fossils were quite primitive in evolutionary terms for the late cretaceous period, lending support for the theory that they had become marooned on the island. He said: "There is evidence that this island was tropical, just north of the equator, with rich vegetation and insects, but in order to support even several hundred animals, the evolutionary pressure would have been for them to get smaller or die out. "There is very little evidence for large flesh eating dinosaurs, so the pressure for large body size to avoid being eaten was not the same." The fossilised dwarf dinosaur bones are some of the earliest examples of "island dwarfing" – where large species stranded on islands become smaller. The evolutionary process has been a hotly debated topic among scientists following a series of discoveries of dwarf species of elephant, woolly mammoths and even human ancestors on islands. Most recently an intense row broke out over whether the bones of an extinct species of human discovered on the island of Flores, in Indonesia – which became known as the Hobbit – were from a dwarfed species of human or a youngster. Dr Paul Barrett, a palaeontologist at the Natural History Museum in London where reference fossils of the dwarfed dinosaurs are kept, said: "This certainly suggests that the evolutionary processes involved in island dwarfing have been operating over millions of years. "Although dinosaurs are typically portrayed as being gigantic, this research also helps to emphasis that some of them were in fact quite small."


This has implications for cryptozoology in that maybe we should be looking for smaller evolved species of unknown creatures and not hunting monsters. Personally I love the thought of huge creatures but I should perhaps look nearer the ground in future. :-)

Saturday 27 February 2010

1960's sea serpent sightings Skegness England.

During the 1960’s there was a Butlins holiday camp at Skegness in Lincolnshire which attracted lots of visitors and a spate of sea monster sightings.

A holidaymaker is appealing for a middle-aged couple to come forward to verify his story about “something like the Loch Ness Monster” which he claims to have seen at Chapel St Leonards [near Skegness].Mr George Ashton of Miles Road Sheffield was strolling near the beach recently with his wife, May, when they were ‘mystified’ by the sight less than 100 yards offshore. “It had a head like a serpent and six or seven pointed humps trailing behind”, he said. Mr Ashton, a 49 year old shot-blaster at Sheffield casting works, has a caravan at the seaside village just north of Skegness. He also has a motor boat and said “When I have been out at sea I have seen seals and sea snakes swimming about and what I saw was neither of these. “At first I thought it was a log but it was travelling at about 8 miles per hour and going parallel with the shore. We watched it for some time coming from the direction of Chapel Point until it disappeared out of sight towards Ingoldmells. “I just didn’t believe in these things and tried to convince myself it was a flight of birds just above the water. But it was leaving a wake in the water. I even thought of a miniature submarine but after watching it for some time I knew it couldn’t be. “There was no noise, it just skimmed through the water.” About a 100 yards from them was a middle-aged couple who were also looking out to sea. “They disappeared onto a caravan site nearby”. said Mr Ashton. “There was no one else about and I want them to prove to my friends that I’m not joking. I have always been the first to laugh at the Loch Ness Monster and such things as flying saucers – things that cannot be explained – but not anymore. “I will swear on oath about what I saw”. Said Mrs Ashton, “It really was an incredible sight and a complete mystery”. Mr Jack Hawkes, licensee of the Smugglers Inn at Chapel St Leonards, just opposite the site where Mr Ashton keeps his caravan, said “He seem to be the only person to have seen it, but the way he described his experience convinced me he saw something!” .Said a Coastguard official, “I haven’t seen any monsters. We get sharks sometime, but not of this description”. Source: Skegness Standard 19th October 1966

This was not the first time something had been sighted off the coast in that area:

ON 7th August 1960, 5 witnesses saw a fast moving creature off shore in the sea described as black, long and whale like.

On August 14th 1960 Mr Len Booth reported that he saw a strange whale like creature also witnessed by Mr John Dutton. This was in the same area

The following day August 15th Mrs Joan Betts and Rosina Stubbs saw a long black thing dark and curved about 800 yards( 265 metres) off shore going fast through the sea.

Then earlier in 1966( exact date unknown) Mr John Hayes saw a huge dark shape 500 yards( 165 metres) from shore moving at about 20 mph .

(More details of these sightings can be found in “Sea Serpents and Lake monsters of the British Isles” by Paul Harrison 2001 Robert Hale ltd London).

So what was it? Well some of the sightings could have been a whale or a basking shark but the sighting in the newspaper article was different. Mr Ashton said he knew what seals etc looked like and it was nothing he had seen before. Any suggestions as to what he saw?

Friday 26 February 2010

Another Lake Creature in Michigan

Lake Leelanau consists of two conjoining lakes north and south and runs through the Leelanau Peninsula in Michigan. The south lake has a maximum depth of 62 feet (19 m) and the north lake has a maximum depth of 121 feet (37 m).It is the reported home of a strange creature described as having a long neck and tail and two large eyes.

The creature first appeared after the Lake Leelanau Dam was built in the late 1800’s.When the dam was finished the Lake lake’s water levels rose 10 to 12 feet ( 3-4 metres) , flooding parts of the land and creating a marsh like environment around the lake. It also shut off the lake’s outlet and some say sealed the creature in.

In the summer of 1910 , a teenage boy, William Gautier, was fishing on the lake. He rowed out to a new fishing spot near the town of Lake Leelanau looking for perch and paddled up close to a tree that he estimated to stand about five feet tall above the water, with a six-inch trunk. He cast a line, and began tying the boat to the tree. The young William suddenly noticed the tree had eyes. They were staring him dead in the face at about four feet above water level. The two starred at each other for a few moments before the animal dove into the water and went under the boat. Gauthier said later that the creature's head passed one end of the boat while the tail was still at the other end, though it was undulating very quickly through the water. Gauthier admitted to having been frightened by his encounter, and that he stayed off that lake for many years. His great grandchild stated in an interview years later that his great-grandfather came from a prominent family in the area and was very well-educated, so not easily fooled. William had also told his family that he knew of others who would admit privately but not publicly that they, too, had seen the creature.

Several other encounters with the creature where apparently reported around the turn of the century, but were not formally recorded for fear of being ridiculed.

I could not find any modern day reports and the theory is that whatever was trapped by the dam was alone and has since died.

Thursday 25 February 2010

Big Cat Sightings UK

What looks like a 'big cat' has been spotted 30 times in West Dorset since Christmas, according to a man who is trying to discover the truth about the legendary big Dorset cat.

Photographer Alan McNamee, from Bridport, is convinced of the existence of the animal.

He has now assembled a team who are ready to respond to sightings as they are reported.

Alan saw the animal close up in 2004 - an experience he said was "scary". He said: "I was working late one night at home and I heard a noise. I went downstairs and looked outside, towards the fields at the back of my house, and I saw that the hedge was thrashing about.

"Then I saw a large cat with a badger in its mouth. "It leapt onto a bank and disappeared.

"It completely shook me up." Alan called the police who visited the scene immediately.

He said: "The police returned the next day to have a look at the area [in daylight] and they confirmed that they had found paw prints." Alan's interest has now been renewed after a series of new sightings, and he has contacted a team of experts, including a 'big cat' expert and a specialist vet, to help establish the truth. Alan said: "I'm hearing of several sightings a week. [The people who see it] are just people going about their normal business. "The last sighting was Friday evening [19 February 2010]. "A woman was driving over the A35 [between Bridport and Dorchester], and it was running across a field.

"I have also had land owners who have said they have seen it ."And all of those sightings are of a similar format. "It's farmers finding unusual footprints on their land, or sheep or cattle being attacked. "The animals have two punctures in their neck and their internal intestines are gone. "They have a broken back, there's no blood, and some have been dragged to the top of a tree. "But to drag a heavy sheep across a field for a 100 yards, over a fence and up a tree - that's not the work of a dog or a fox." Alan is now waiting for the next sighting, with the hope that he can get to the scene immediately and find enough evidence or remains that can be recorded and analysed. This needs to be carried out as quickly as possible after an animal attack as this is the key to gathering evidence which can determine what the creature is. "It's vital we get there within a few hours after a kill, to take photos, take DNA and look around for anything else." "Everyone says the same thing [about the creature] - it's black, its tail is as long as its body, it's bigger than a Labrador and a good 6ft [1.8m] in length. "There are key things that people see, and what they say is close by, that are key to each sighting." Alan has this advice for people who think they might have seen it: "The first thing to do is to make a note of where you've seen it, and then report it straight away to the police." PC John Snellin, Wildlife Officer for Dorset Police, says all reported sightings are taken seriously. He said: "We get the sightings fairly regularly and most are from level-headed people. "It's a fascinating subject but we wouldn't scare monger - we need to keep it in proportion. "It's not a policing priority but all reports are recorded, but, by my reckoning, there have been nothing like 30 sightings [reported to the police]."But if you do see one, don't approach it - call the police. It is very likely to just run away." PC Snellin believes the animal could be a black puma, and one theory is that it was released into the wild after the 1976 Dangerous Animals Act was made law, which banned keeping dangerous animals as pets - but PC Snellin thinks it is very unlikely an animal would have survived that long, or gone on to breed. Alan McNamee's theory is that it could be an animal that is privately owned, but not officially registered, and is occasionally "let out" to hunt, but PC Snellin believes this is too unlikely as it would be difficult to control. PC Snellin said: "It's not like calling in a black labrador." Whatever the truth, Alan McNamee is hoping to get to the bottom of it. He said: "Most sightings have been in a triangular area between Weymouth, Dorchester and Winterbourne Abbas. "But there is something out there causing the damage [to the animals] and it's not a dog or a fox. "It's a predator."

Source and lots more photos here :

Wednesday 24 February 2010

The Loch Ness Creature -does it migrate to other Lochs?

There has been speculation over the years that the Loch Ness creature moves between the local Lochs. I was browsing through some old newspaper articles and news reports when I came across these two from the same year.


LONDON, June 14 (Reuter) - Sixteen people watched in amazement as a mysterious object ploughed swiftly across Loch Ness, leaving a white water wake before disappearing after five minutes into the depths of the Scottish lake. "I cannot find a rational explanation for what I saw," said English tourist David Neeld, the morning after Thursday evening's sighting. "I do not think there is any other explanation than it was the Loch Ness monster." Sightings of the monster, nicknamed Nessie and often described as having a long neck and large body like a brontosaurus, have been reported since the 15th century. Several expeditions have been undertaken in the loch but they have found nothing. The strange object was first spotted at 10 p.m. by Kate Munro, joint owner of the Craigdarroch House, a hotel on the edge of the Highland lake. She alerted her husband Dave and 14 guests who watched the object for five minutes. They told reporters that it appeared to be something large just under the loch's surface, moving at high speed. "There was no traffic on the loch at all, yet here was a wake as big as comes from a cruiser," said Neeld. "There were a few locals in the hotel's bar and they said it was Nessie, so I will go along with that," he said. "I must say that I was very impressed." Another tourist, Karen Hemingway, said: "Whatever we saw was certainly quite strange. There were no boats around at all. I think I could well have seen the monster. "Around two million tourists are attracted to 40-km (25-mile) long Loch Ness each year because of the monster legend.


Lizzie the Loch Ness Monster's cousin is back. The beastie surfaced briefly, 36 years after she was last spotted in Loch Lochy. Eye-witnesses were stunned to see the 12ft-long, three-humped creature rearing out of the water. And guests at the nearby Corriegour Lodge Hotel rushed to get a better view. Hotel boss Lorna Bunney said: "I've never seen anything like this creature before."

So could Nessie have gone on holiday to Loch Lochy? Interesting thought isn’t it?

Tuesday 23 February 2010

Lake monster is a ray 2008

Rare ray creates flap in Lake BY MATTHEW KELLY 16 Sep, 2008

LAKE MACQUARIE might be harbouring one of the rarest marine creatures found in Australian waters a Japanese devil ray. The ray, which locals originally thought was a manta ray, has been in the lake for about a month. It has become increasingly active in the past week and breached the lake surface many times on Saturday less than 100 metres off Wangi Point. The creature's presence has drawn the attention of University of Queensland marine biologist and ray researcher Kathy Townsend. Dr Townsend said that, based on the ray's description and location, she suspected it might be a Japanese devil ray, usually found in Indonesia and Japan. Although manta and devil rays belong to the same family, devil rays have a shorter head and cephalic lobes, a white tip on their dorsal fin and a venomous barb. Only 13 devil rays have been found in Australia, the first of which was caught in a net in Lake Macquarie on April 4, 1968."If this is a devil ray, it's a very significant discovery," Dr Townsend, who is also research manager at the Moreton Bay research station, said. "They normally don't travel that far south." It is thought the ray sought refuge from large seas during a winter storm and was attracted to warm waters around Eraring power station's Myuna Bay outlet. Coal Point resident Audry Diggins captured part of the ray's aerial display on video last Saturday. "It was carrying on for quite a while," she said. "When it came out of the water it was rolled up like a sushi roll and then suddenly spread out when it hit the water." The ray was among diverse marine creatures, including a shark, a blue groper and turtles, presently in the area. "We really need a proper study of what's in our lake so we can better understand what's going on," Ms Diggins said.


The ray is not normally indigenous to the area which begs the question, how many other lake creature sightings are just out of place creatures? I have been unable to find out if the ray is still resident but an interesting thought for the day.

Loch Ness and the Thatcher years

It appears that in the 80's Nessie was in the government's thoughts:

Thatcher Government Planned Nessie Hunt Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Sunday Times (Scotland) reports that the UK Government under Margaret Thatcher seriously considered an official hunt for the Loch Ness Monster. Newly declassified files from the 1970s reveal that the Government had considered importing bottle-nosed dolphins to search Loch Ness for evidence of Nessie. The plan was being considered by the Department of the Environment. The Department apparently believed that there were no legal obstacles to such a hunt however they were concerned about the political implications and possible opposition from animal rights campaigners.The reasons for the proposed hunt - which appears to have been abandoned - included boosting tourism.

UK Government's "Nessie Files" Monday, January 09, 2006

The Sunday Times reports on some fascinating official documents that reveal the way the UK government in the 1980s was concerned about the safety of the Loch Ness Monster.The documents - released under the Freedom of Information Act - show that the government investigated the legal status of the monster. Was there anything to prevent Nessie being bagged by poachers? The question was raised following an official inquiry from the Swedish government. Sweden was considering protecting their own Lake Storsjo Monster and wanted to know the status of Nessie under UK law. The letter to the Scottish Office from the Stockholm Embassy included the wonderful line: The inquiry is a serious one and we should like to give them at least a half-serious reply." The eventual reply concluded: The secretary of state for Scotland has powers, on representation made to him by the Nature Conservancy Council, to make an order adding any wild creature to the schedule if in his opinion that creature is in danger of extinction"

Nessie has been in the government's mind over successive eras and questions have been asked over the years in both the House of Commons and the Lords. It is interesting that some thing that is thought to be a myth by many is considered solid enough to be discussed at high levels.

Monday 22 February 2010

The Searle Photos of the Loch Ness Creature

Frank Searle allegedly took many photos of Nessie. I realised that not many people will have seen them as his first book was taken out of circulation because of allegations of plagiarism and unless you are old enough to have visited his tent , you would not have had chance to view them . I have a copy of the book in paperback. "Nessie seven years in search of the monster" by Frank Searle1976 pub by Coronet books London . Some of his photos(I counted 20 last time I visited him) are reproduced in the book and I have scanned them in for you to see.
Frank died in 2005 in obscurity but for his time on the Loch he was a bit of a star and TV crews came to see him and tourists flocked. I will not go into the stories here about him,( will save that for my book perhaps), but sufficient to say he could be quite aggressive if you accused him of faking the photos .He could be charming whilst you agreed with him but it was best not to disagree with him within earshot . In saying that I have a soft spot for Frank as he was a character and somehow seemed to fit in with what was going on at the Loch at the time.

So here are some of the photos see what you think.

Sunday 21 February 2010

Mystery carcass found on beach

Another 'Sea Creature': Mysterious headless marine animal washes ashore

MCIVERS The Western Star

Neither local residents Warrick Lovell, Rich Park, Basil Park, or anyone else it seems, knows what the big creature found dead on a beach here this week might be. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans in Corner Brook intends to check out the Lower Cove site today hoping to find some answers for the question of many curious onlookers who went there to see for themselves what Lovell found during a Wednesday afternoon walk on the beach. “It would be nice to see if anyone knows what it is,” says Lovell. “First I thought it was a seal washed up (on the high tide earlier in the day), but when I went down to check on my boat that evening, I walked over to see and then I knew it wasn’t a seal. “But, I don’t know what it is.” Of unknown origin and species, so far, the odd-looking seaside carcass sits high and dry on the low tide, its approximately 15-foot length includes a pointed, 10-foot tail twisted in the sand, conjuring up Loch Ness monsters for some. The animal, bearing a single flipper-like appendage on its right side, appears to have been decapitated and shows other signs of damage. “I didn’t know what to think of it,” says Rich Park, also among the first to see it close up. The long tapered tail on the squared torso of the carcass caused him to initially think the large hunk of flesh might be a tentacle off a giant squid Park said, but on closer inspection it became clearer what the protrusion was not that. It got hair on it in spots. I couldn’t (determine) what it was.” “I’ve lived here all my life and never seen anything like it,” says Basil Park, who went Thursday went to take a look with friends and brothers Gilbert and Ernie Park, and neither one of them could say they knew what it was. “There’s fishermen around here who fished all their lives and they couldn’t tell you.” John Lubar with DFO says the Corner Brook office receives a number of calls from residents around the region each year reporting seals in brooks or to have rotting carcasses of whales or other dead things removed from a shoreline, but claims reports of unknown creatures from the deeps washing up are rare. Common knowledge of the McIvers find spread by word of mouth over the past few days and at least one visitor to the site photographed the carcass and has posted it on Facebook. DFO expects to have personnel in McIvers to do an inspection of Lower Cove by noon today.


Anyone got any thoughts on what this might be? The usual answer is a basking shark carcass or a decomposed whale but maybe they will print a follow up so we find out.

Saturday 20 February 2010

Heavenly Lake Monster seal or something else?

Heavenly Lake is in a remote region of the Jilin Province of China on the border of the Ryanggang Province of North Korea. The lake is also known as Lake Tianchi ,Chonji Lake in Korean (Heavenly Lake in English). It lies in a crater at the top of Baekdu Mountain. It is the highest crater lake in the world, at 7,180 feet( 2360 metres) and with a depth in places of over 1,200 feet( 400 metres). A large unknown creature has been reported seen in the lake for many years. It has been described as a large greyish black animal, about 30 feet(10 metres) in length with a horse like head..

The first sighting appears to be in 1903 when one reportedly attacked three people. It was described as a huge buffalo-like creature that roared retreated underwater when they shot at it .

In August 1962, there were over reported sightings of two creatures chasing one another through the water.

In 1968 a Jilin Province Weather Report Department staff member, Chou Fon Yin, was visiting the lake when he saw a wave emerged from the north eastern side and then two black points rose out of the water. Chou using binoculars to get a closer look said that the two black spots were two large creatures swimming side by side. He described them as black and grey in colour with very dog like heads. Their movement in the water left a wake 21 feet( 7 metres) long.

In July 24, 1994 a group of more than 40 tourists, including a Japanese university professor (no name given ), all claimed to have watched, and photographed, the Monster as appeared on the lakes surface for almost 30 minutes. Also in 1994 a Chinese State Media report quoted a sightseer by the name of Meng Fanying who stated that he watched the creature leap from the water, in a seal like fashion, 30 feet off shore.

In July 2005, the China Daily published a report about a 52 year old man ,Zheng Changchun, who with his daughter and his son in law saw and video taped the creature Zheng was quoted as saying they saw a strange, black object emerging from the water and he grabbed his video recorder.

In September 2007, Chinese news reporter Zhuo Yongsheng shot a 20-minute video of several creatures swimming in three pairs. He said they were seal-like, finned creatures that spent around an hour and a half, swimming in the lake. "They could swim as fast as yachts and at times they would disappear under the water. It was impressive to see them all swimming at exactly the same pace, as if someone was giving orders," he said. "Their fins - or maybe wings - were longer than their bodies."

The Reuters report from 1994:

09Sep94 CHINA: MONSTER OR MERMAID IN CHINA'S HEAVENLY LAKE?.BEIJING, Sept 9 (Reuter) - Will China's Heavenly Lake become as famous as Scotland's Loch Ness?

With sightings of a blond-headed creature -- or perhaps a "black thing as big as a bull head" -- to go on, officials at Lake Tianchi (Heavenly lake) in northeast China's Jilin province have started establishing study societies and collecting videotapes and photographs of a strange swimming object, Xinhua news agency said on Friday. The official news agency said eyewitnesses had seen a creature moving as fast as a walking man twice in the past two weeks. "At 3:25 p.m., September 2, it was clear and the swimming creature surfaced its blond head and swam from north to southwest in the lake for ten minutes before it submerged, according to Kim Taik, deputy secretary-general of the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefectural People's Political Consultative Conference," the news agency said. Kim said the creature stirred up waves two metres (six feet) high. Xinhua quoted a travel guide who was taking a group of Korean tourists to the lake as saying she saw a large black "thing" swimming in the lake. It said local people have given accounts of sightings and taken pictures of a mysterious lake-dwelling creature since the beginning of the century. The creature is not China's only mystery -- reports of a man-beast "Wild Man" periodically spring up from around the country.

(c) Reuters Limited 1994 REUTERS NEWS SERVICE

It may be my reading of the reports but it sounds like some sort of seal. The roaring one from 1903 could have been a bull seal as they have a mane and it would look like buffalo. The fins are interesting as I believe some whales have huge fins . So could it be two different types of creature, one a seal like animal , the other a whale like creature? The lake is deep enough from them both to live there but there is little information on whether the food stocks would be sufficient.

Friday 19 February 2010

Is it time to professionalise Cryptozoology?

I was thinking about what to write about today and it suddenly occurred to me what is it a cryptozoologist ? Is there a definition of a cryptozoologist? I looked up a couple of definitions on the internet.

Cryptozoology (from Greek κρυπτός, kriptos, "hidden" + zoology; literally, "study of hidden animals") refers to the search for animals which are considered to be legendary or otherwise nonexistent by mainstream biology. ...

Cryptozoology - is the study of and search for animals which fall outside of contemporary zoological catalogs. It consists of two primary fields of research .The search for living examples of animals taxonomically identified through fossil records, but which are believed to be extinct and the search for animals that fall outside of taxonomic records due to a lack of empirical evidence, but for which anecdotal evidence exists in the form of myths, legends, or undocumented sightings, such as big foot and dragons.

That seems to say it all. So how do you become a cryptozoologist? The short answer is you don’t because you cannot study for qualifications in it, though you can study zoology, myth and folklore, anthropology and marine biology, all which will help. Or in my case I find my psychology background a help in weeding out the more suspicious eye witnesses and also my training as a social science researcher helps me with trying to interview as objectively and scientifically as possible. I have also done some study in anthropology, communities and folklore and myth. Does it make me a cryptozoologist though? Not really, I think of myself as an amateur despite being around for years. I don’t see myself on the par with Loren Coleman or Nick Redfern or the guys at CFZ.

The problem is with no academic ancestry as it were, anyone can claim to be a cryptozoologist and an expert having read a few books or claiming to have seen something. You could sit by Loch Ness or Okanagan Lake for 10 years and claim to be an expert, and who could dispute it? Frank Searle claimed to be the expert on Nessie but some if not all of his photographs were very dubious. The question is what can we do about it? Maybe it is time for a professional organisation to be set up where people can register as a member by proving their worth as it were , through proof of study and expertise. I believe you can become a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society, just by writing an application to show how you have been an explorer or studied a place, without any formal qualifications. So any one out there got an ideas on what we could do to set up an organisation for cryptozoologists to be recognised? There could be student/ apprenticeship membership for those just learning, or younger members and grades of membership up to whatever a top cryptozoologist would be. I would be in the rank and file of amateur I think lol. Maybe people would not want an organisation and prefer just to do their own thing but perhaps it is time to resurrect an international cryptozoology society to register those who do and recognise their worth.

Thursday 18 February 2010

sea serpent attacks divers.

When I wrote the Florida river monster blog I mentioned this attack and I thought it may be an urban myth. Always ready to be proved wrong I investigated further and in Tim Dinsdale's book "The Leviathans" (1976 ed Futura London Paperback),I found the following which I have scanned in. You should be able to click on it and make it bigger to read comfortably.
It is a letter Tim Dinsdale received from the surviving diver which tells the story of what happened. What they encountered could have been a large seal of some kind possibly a leopard seal .Leopard seals are aggressive and one pulled a young researcher under the ice a few years ago and she perished. What it would have been doing in that area I have no idea. Some will say the survivor was hallucinating or traumatised because of the loss of his friends and so made the story up, not consciously but as an explanation to ease his pain. I don't know , all I can say is read it for your self and come to your own conclusions. If it is true it is a frightening episode.

Wednesday 17 February 2010

Eels as monsters in lochs and loughs.

In The Monsters of Loch Ness by Roy P Mackal (1976 Futura London) he wrote about the investigations in Ireland. The Loch Ness investigation teams did not confine them selves just to Loch Ness but also looked at Loch Morar and a couple of loughs in Ireland. .Some of the information that lead them to look at Irish loughs is detailed in the book( p37-39 in the edition cited above)) and includes:

Teige O’Donovan reporting sightings going back to 1914 from Lough Abisdealy (which translated means the lake of the monster). The descriptions of the creature were that it had a small flat head , along neck and three large loops sticking out of the water. Size was estimated at 25 feet( 8 metres) and the creature was dark brown. Interestingly one of the observers said the creature swung a portion of it’s body out of the water and described it as “looking exactly like the tail end of a huge conger eel”.

Lough Fadda has been discussed on here before.

There was strange sighting at Lough Claddaghduff by a Mr. Michael Coyne in 1956 who reported seeing a creature like looked like a large eel with ten feet showing as it turned over to display it’s lighter underbelly.

There was the story of the large eel stuck in a gully between Loughs Gowlan and Derrylesa from 100 years ago , which died.

In Lough Neagh in 1956 fishermen reported their nets damaged “by a thing like a giant eel”

You may wonder how this was connected to Loch Ness. There were stories that Roy Mackal mentions(p68) from older residents of Loch Ness that claimed eels of 10 feet(3 metres) to 16 feet( 5 metres) long had been caught in the loch years ago. I also heard the same stories from an elderly fisherman in 1972. He said when the eel fishing had been at it’s peak many years ago ,very large eels had been caught . I have been unable to substantiate this but I have seen it mentioned in other books about the Loch( I believe Tim Dinsdale mentions it in his books). Eels live in the loch in large numbers but are the normal European eel who don’t normally grow to enormous sizes. There have been reports of eels with manes being seen in the loch and divers reporting eels thicker than a man's leg, but no proof has been forthcoming. The theory that the lake monsters are giant eels is not a new one but when you look at reported sightings the descriptions of many say “eel like” . Eels tend to dwell near the bottoms of lakes and would only occasionally appear on the surface, perhaps when chasing fish. The manes reported could be a frill such as some fish like the Oar Fish have and a very large eel would indeed be very thick around the middle to be almost as big as a man’s thigh. Dale Drinnon points out on the CFZ website there could be more than one type of “monster” , some sightings could be a large eel , some a huge fish. Certainly a giant eel has more credence than a dinosaur but could be a breed of eel from the Ice Age and hence the large size. Anything is of course conjecture but then science starts with conjecture and observation and then tries to prove or disprove a theory , which is what cryptozoologists are actively doing.

I am not so well today so apologies for any spelling mistakes or woolly thinking.

Tuesday 16 February 2010

"fairy tale" fish found

Alien' fish found in cave lake

Villagers in China have caught some alien-looking fish from a lake in a mountain cave 1,000m below the ground. Experts have been unable to identify the fish caught in the cave, near Daluo village, Bama County in southern China's Guangxi province. The waters of the lake are said to promote longevity in the region which has more than its share of centenarians.The fish have a duck bill-shaped flat mouth and red lips, long, slim 'moustaches', and eyes close to their mouth.The head of the village, Li Zuneng, said locals had previously heard the oldest members of the village speaking about the fish. However, as none of the younger generation had ever seen them before, he says, many considered them to be a "fairy tale".They were proven wrong when a number of the fish were caught deep in the cave, known as Fu Yuan Dong, which means 'Cave of Fortune'. Speciments were sent to the Bama County and Guangxi provincial aquatics institutes for inspection, but none of the experts there knew what species they were. In the remote and mountainous area, a census in 2000 recorded 74 centenarians out of the total population of 238,000.That works out at more than 30 per 100,000 people - well above the international standard of 25 for "hometowns of longevity", recognised by the International Natural Medicine Society.


It shows that are still new creatures to be found and old ones to be re-discovered.

Monday 15 February 2010

sea serpent sighting reported in the zoologist 1872

From Mythical Monsters by Charles Gould [1886]

Can be read at :

The following is the article in the Inverness Courier:—

“We are glad to see that the two gentlemen who favoured us last autumn with an account of what they believed to be a strange animal seen off the west coast, Inverness-shire, have published in the Zoologist, a monthly journal of natural history, a careful description of the creature which they saw, and which seems to resemble the engravings of what is called the Norwegian sea-serpent. We subjoin the magazine article entire. There is such a dread of ridicule in appearing publicly in company with this mysterious and disreputable monster, that we must commend the boldness of the two clergymen in putting their names to the narrative; especially as we observe that other observers have not been so courageous, and that they have been obliged to give some of their information anonymously.“The huge serpent, if serpent it may be called, invariably appears in still warm weather, and in no other. There are certain Norwegian fjords and narrow seas which it frequents, and it is scarcely ever seen in the open sea. In the present case, the limit in which the animal has been seen on our coast, is Lochduich to the north and the Sound of Mull to the south, only about a fifth of the space between Cape Wrath and the Mull of Kintyre; and it is in that part it should be most looked for. We beg to draw the attention of our readers on the West Coast to the fact, now established on indubitable evidence, of the supposed animal having been seen there last year, and to the possibility of its appearing again in similar weather this year. If it chances to turn up once more, some full and accurate account of the phenomenon would certainly be most desirable.”

The following is the article in the Zoologist :

Appearance of an animal, believed to be that which is called the Norwegian Sea-serpent, on the Western Coast of Scotland, in August 1872, by the Rev. John McRae, Minister of Glenelg, Invernessshire, and the Rev. David Twopeny, Vicar of Stockbury, Kent. On the 20th of August 1872 we started from Glenelg in a small cutter, the Leda, for an excursion to Lochourn. Our party consisted, besides ourselves, of two ladies, F. and K., a gentleman, G. B., and a Highland lad. Our course lay down the Sound of Sleat, which on that side divides the Isle of Skye from the mainland, the average breadth of the channel in that part being two miles.It was calm and sunshiny, not a breath of air, and the sea perfectly smooth. As we were getting the cutter along with oars we perceived a dark mass about two hundred yards astern of us, to the north. While we were looking at it with our glasses (we had three on board) another similar black lump rose to the left of the first, leaving an interval between; then another and another followed, all in regular order. We did not doubt its being one living creature: it moved slowly across our wake, and disappeared. Presently the first mass, which was evidently the head, reappeared, and was followed by the rising of the other black lumps, as before. Sometimes three appeared, sometimes four, five, or six, and then sank again. When they rose, the head appeared first, if it had been down, and the lumps rose after it in regular order, beginning always with that next the head, and rising gently; but when they sank, they sank altogether rather abruptly, sometimes leaving the head visible.It gave the impression of a creature crooking up its back to sun itself. There was no appearance of undulation; when the lumps sank, other lumps did not rise in the intervals between them. The greatest number we counted was seven, making eight with head, as shown in sketch No.1 [two engravings are given]. The parts were separated from each other by intervals of about their own length, the head being rather smaller and flatter than the rest, and the nose being very slightly visible above the water; but we did not see the head raised above the surface either this or the next day, nor could we see the eye. We had no means of measuring the length with any accuracy; but taking the distance from the centre of one lump to the centre of the next to be six feet, and it could scarcely be less, the whole length of the portion visible, including the intervals submerged, would be forty-five feet. Presently, as we were watching the creature, it began to approach us rapidly, causing a great agitation in the sea. Nearly the whole of the body, if not all of it, had now disappeared, and the head advanced at a great rate in the midst of a shower of fine spray, which was evidently raised in some way by the quick movement of the animal—it did not appear how—and not by spouting. F. was alarmed and retreated to the cabin, crying out that the creature was coming down upon us. When within about a hundred yards of us it sank and moved away in the direction of Syke, just under the surface of the water, for we could trace its course by the waves it raised on the still sea to the distance of a mile or more. After this it continued at intervals to show itself, careering about at a distance, as long as we were in that part of the Sound; the head and a small part only of the body being visible on the surface; but we did not again, on that day, see it so near nor so well as at first.At one time F. and K. and G. B. saw a fin sticking up at a little distance back from the head, but neither of us were then observing. On our return the next day we were again becalmed on the north side of the opening of Lochourn, where it is about three miles wide, the day warm and sunshiny as before. As we were dragging slowly along in the afternoon the creature again appeared over towards the south side, at a greater distance than we saw it the first day. It now showed itself in three or four rather long lines, as in the sketch No. 2, and looked considerably longer than it did the day before; as nearly as we could compute, it looked at least sixty feet in length. Soon it began careering about, showing but a small part of itself, as on the day before, and appeared to be going up Lochourn. Later in the afternoon, when we were still becalmed in the mouth of Lochourn, and by using the oars had nearly reached the island of Sandaig, it came rushing past us about a hundred and fifty yards to the south, on its return from Lochourn. It went with great rapidity, its black head only being visible through the clear sea, followed by a long trail of agitated water. As it shot along, the noise of its rush through the water could be distinctly heard on board. There were no organs of motion to be seen, nor was there any shower of spray as on the day before, but merely such a commotion in the sea as its quick passage might be expected to make. Its progress was equable and smooth, like that of a log towed rapidly. For the rest of the day, as we worked our way home northwards through the Sound of Sleat, it was occasionally within sight of us until nightfall, rushing about at a distance, as before, and showing only its head, and a small part of its body on the surface. It seemed on each day to keep about us, and as we were always then rowing, we were inclined to think it perhaps might be attracted by the measured sound of the oars. Its only exit in this direction to the north was by the narrow Strait of Kylerhea, dividing Skye from the mainland, and only a third of a mile wide, and we left our boat, wondering whether this strange creature had gone that way or turned back again to the south. We have only to add to this narrative of what we saw ourselves, the following instances of its being seen by other people, of the correctness of which we have no doubt. The ferrymen on each side of Kylerhea saw it pass rapidly through on the evening of the 21st, and heard the rush of the water; they were surprised, and thought it might be a shoal of porpoises, but could not comprehend their going so quickly. Finlay McRae, of Bundaloch, in the parish of Kintail, was within the mouth of Lochourn on the 21st, with other men in his boat, and saw the creature at about the distance of one hundred and fifty yards. Two days after we saw it, Alexander Macmillan, boat-builder at Dornie, was fishing in a boat in the entrance of Lochduich, half-way between Druidag and Castledonan, when he saw the animal, near enough to hear the noise, and see the ripple it made in rushing along in the sea. He says that what seemed its head was followed by four or more lumps, or "half-rounds," as he calls them, and that they sometimes rose and sometimes sank altogether. He estimated its length at not less than between sixty and eighty feet. He saw it also on two subsequent days in Lochduich. On all these occasions his brother, Farquhar, was with him in the boat, and they were both much alarmed, and pulled to the shore in great haste. A lady at Duisdale, in Skye, a place overlooking the part of the Sound which is opposite the opening of Lochourn, said that she was looking out with a glass when she saw a strange object on the sea, which appeared like eight seals in a row. This was just about the time that we saw it. We were also informed that about the same time it was seen from the island of Eigg, between Eigg and the mainland, about twenty miles to the south-west of the opening of Lochourn. We have not permission to mention the names in these two last instances.


Sunday 14 February 2010

Yeti Tales from Climbers

I have said before about at looking at divers sites online for lake creature stories but you will also find interesting stuff on climbers sites as well . Like this sample below.

Everest Yeti and other events: Ang Tshering reports

Dec 12, 2007

( If you are a frequent Himalaya climber, you've had your share of Yeti tales. From Messner's much publicized search expeditions, to the Yeti head in the monastery en route to Everest BC which in fact is the skull of a monkey.

In the past weeks, world media have had another Yeti frenzy - with Reuters this time breaking the news of supposed Yeti tracks found in Nepal. In a later report, there was also news of a runaway elephant in the area. Late last week, Ang Tshering shot over a report with his own take on current events, including the Yeti and a stay with Everest climber Prague mayor Bem who just recently released a book about his eventful climb.

The Yeti
"Recently a team of nine producers from 'Destination Truth' held a press conference in Kathmandu after spending a week in the Khumbu region in search of the Yeti," Ang Tshering writes. "They stated that they had 'discovered footprints that merit further investigation.' While the existence of the Yeti is part of our Sherpa folklore, I have also listened to many theories from researchers and scholars. Over my lifetime in Nepal I have listened to many theories about the existence of the Yeti. And I smile…" "Sherpa herders claim to have made sightings during the winter and summer season when they take their herd to pasture especially in Gokyo valley of Everest Region. While search for the Yeti has been conducted many times in the Nepal Himalaya during the Spring and Autumn season, maybe it is time to have similar studies during the Summer and Winter months?"
Other studies
There are other, less publicized studies ongoing right now, Ang Tshering reports:
"Another type of study was also made very recently by some pioneering Japanese scientists from Keio University, led by Prof. Hiromichi Fukui." "Prof. Fukui and his team set up remote controlled video surveillance equipment that will monitor Imja lake, upstream of the Everest Trail. This surveillance system allows researchers to monitor changes in the lake in real time, allowing early warning systems in case of dangers and also to help further studies to reduce the dangers. These are the sort of research work that we hope to encourage and fund with the Everest Eco-Expedition in 2008."

Early September, Ang Tshering Sherpa, Chairman for Asian Trekking (P) Ltd and President of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, flew to Lhasa for a meeting with CMA & CTMA, in an event attended by high level delegates from Beijing and Lhasa.During the summit, a special banquet was held in honor of Asian Trekking and NMA, hosted by the vice chairman of Tibet autonomous government. As Asian Trekking is the official GSA for CTMA, the agency asked Ang Tshering to be their mouthpiece; and forward any news and updates regarding mountaineering in Tibet and China."It will be my great pleasure and privilege to keep the mountaineering community informed," Ang Tshering said, stating that both organizations will now work close together to effectively and efficiently exchange and provide information.


A P.S.

Happy Valentines to everyone and also happy birthday to Eustace kitten who is a year old to day so no longer a kitten, Clarice is approaching 5 months so will be going to the Vet next month to be spayed. Here are the kittens for those who asked.

Clarice is the tabby Eustace the black and white.

Saturday 13 February 2010

The Caspian Sea Merman

A great article on the Caspian sea merman last reported seen in 2005

Happy birthday blog and a strange incident at Loch Ness 2002

The blog is a year old this weekend. I thought it might go for 6 months but thanks to the followers and readers it continues on. So happy birthday blog. In view of the winter Olympic Games starting this weekend I thought I would look back at a strange incident at Loch Ness in 2002 before the start of the Commonwealth Games. Here are the 3 reports from the time:

Report 1 -Jun 11 2002

"The Commonwealth Games baton had a close encounter with a mysterious object when it was lowered into Loch Ness. It was put inside a protective capsule and sent 220 metres down to the bottom of the loch as part of a new bid to find out if a creature really does exist in the murky waters.It was resurfacing when a specially designed camera system lost contact with it after an unidentified object appeared to block its journey back to the surface. Images beamed on to a screen on board the support craft could not identify the object that crossed the baton's path."

Report 2- 10 June 2002 By John Innes

Nessie hunters have failed in their latest attempt to find the Loch Ness monster - using the Queen's Golden Jubilee baton. It was lowered into the loch during its five-day tour round Scotland but failed to find any sign of a heartbeat in the murky depths. However, organisers reported seeing "something pretty weird" as the baton neared the surface.

The search for Nessie has baffled monster hunters for years. Reported sightings date back to the 7th Century, when a water beast is said to have appeared before St Columba. Films, photographs and eye-witness accounts have all been offered as evidence of the creature's existence down the years, but definite proof has remained elusive. The latest attempt to find the monster in the depths of Loch Ness took place on Sunday. The Jubilee baton, which contains a device that can detect a pulse rate, was lowered 220 metres to the bottom of the loch from a boat. There have been several reported sightings

Images of the baton underwater were beamed onto screens aboard another vessel, the Jacobite Queen, which was carrying about 100 guests. Event director Di Henry said there was "a strange interruption" as the baton neared the surface again. "There was a thing in front of the camera," she said. "It looked pretty wooden. It could have been wood or seaweed or it could have been Nessie." And she added: "I'm not so sure we didn't see something ."It was pretty weird what we saw. I wouldn't want to overstate it, but it wasn't something I expected myself."

Report 3-

NESSIE, that most elusive of creatures, made a perhaps unsurprising appearance yesterday, as organisers of a baton relay tried to drum up interest in the Commonwealth Games. They claimed to have seen "something pretty weird" in the waters of Loch Ness yesterday when the Queen’s Jubilee baton was lowered into the water in a bid to find the world-famous monster. The alleged sighting of one of the world’s most famous underwater creatures took place on the second day of the baton’s five-day tour north of the Border. Di Henry, the event director said the baton, which contains a device that can detect a pulse rate, had been put in a water-proof tube and lowered down 220 metres to the loch bed on a cable from a deep scan vessel. She said pictures from the baton were beamed onto a screen on a separate boat carrying about 100 guests. She added: "As the baton returned to the top of the water there was a strange interruption. There was a thing in front of the camera. It could have been wood or weed or it could have been Nessie."

Was Nessie coming up to see who was invading her waters? Or was it the log of wood that some people favour? There is not a lot of weed on Loch Ness so it would have to be a log or Nessie.