Sunday, February 11, 2007

Of Dragons and Dinosaurs - Part 2

For decades, stories and legends have emerged from the deepest regions of Africa regarding sightings of creatures known by names such as Mokele-mbembe, Emela-Ntouka, and the Kongamato. Thought by many to be surviving prehistoric reptiles, these creatures have inspired countless expeditions in search of evidence to prove their existence, all the way back to the early 20th century. Although there is of course debate over the identity of the different cryptids, and whether or not they even exist, it is generally acknowledged among cryptozoologists that the deep jungles of the Congo could. at least, possibly contain surving dinosaurs and denizens of the Mesozoic era. Viewed as being largely unchanged from prehistoric times, the deep regions of the Congo remain unexplored in many places, and thus this is used as an argument for the survival of living dinosaurs in Africa. What are we to make of more perplexing reports, however? Lake monsters such as Nessie, Champ, or Ogopogo are usually thought of by the general public to be surviving plesiosaurs, and of course there are the "U-28" and "U-85" cases which tell of World War I era encounters with bizarre creatures. While most reports of "living dinosaurs" have to be taken with a gigantic heaping of salt, especially since zealous Creationists have decided to twist the reports and put out false evidence to further their religious agenda, there are old newspaper accounts that are still worth reading and analyzing, even if just for their historical value. This article, from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle edition of Feb. 8, 1888, is one such report:

This "serpent" was described as follows:

What are we to make of such a strange creature? At first glance of the article it bears a similar description to a dinosaur, but the disproportion of the body is a curious addition to the report, since it brings to mind the image of an overly top heavy animal. However, since it is noted at the end that the creature walked on four legs, the addition of two large scales may signify it to be some kind of variation on the stegosaurus, though more research is needed to further elaborate on this theory.

Interestingly enough, thirteen years later from this report, there emerged a report from the Florida Everglades of an alleged dinosaur actually being killed....

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