A painting by Thomas Finley, based off of a sighting of an alleged unknown animal in Loch Ness which appears to have exhibited rather mammalian features.
The first comparison image in this article is a comparison between a drawing and photograph of the tail which belonged to the Naden Harbor "Cadborosaurus willsi" carcass and several pinniped hind flippers (as well as the skeleton of a sea lion's). The Naden Harbor carcass was a strange animal which was found in the stomach of a sperm whale in 1937. The carcass was truly bizarre with a cameloid head, a long and serpentine body with two fore-flippers, and a fan-like tail. Due to the oddity of the specimen, personnel at the British Columbian whaling station laid the creature out on a table and photographed it. To the disappointment of cryptozoological researchers, the carcass was written off as a fetal baleen whale by an examiner who was trained in taxidermy but not zoology (thus increasing the likelihood that this was a false conclusion). The reason that I compared an image of the tail which belonged to the carcass with the joint hind flippers of sea lions and seals is that the zoologist Dr. Bernard Heuvelmans had hypothesized that a species of elongate pinniped (named the Merhorse or Halshippus olai-magni by him) which had a head like a horse, large eyes, a longish neck, and a mane was behind reports of similar animals. Although it appears to be decomposed, it could be argued that the tail of the Naden Harbor carcass is composed of two fused hind-flippers much like a sea lion's.
there is evidence which suggests that it may have been an honest misidentification of a large piece of wood.
As I stated above, some people may feel that such comparative images are useless and fallible, but I continue to think that they may serve a benefit in research of such reports. Please know that although I have presented my hypotheses here, I encourage you to make up your own mind regarding the identity of these bizarre cryptozoological animals.
- Coleman, Loren, and Patrick Huyghe. The Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents and Other Mystery Denizens of the Deep. New York, NY: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 2003. Print.
- Woodley, Michael A., and Karl Shuker. In the Wake of Bernard Heuvelmans: An Introduction to the History and Future of Sea Serpent Classification. Myrtle Cottage, Woolsery, Bideford, North Devon: CFZ, 2008. Print.
Due to the abundance of views which this article has been receiving as of lately, I felt that it would be appropriate to add a sort of update to amend my thoughts expressed here. At his Frontiers of Zoology blog, Dale Drinnon wrote the following regarding the kinds of mammalian-sounding reports of "lake monsters" which entail distinctly horse-like heads and other apparently equine features. This was partly in response to the artwork by Thomas Finley which I have as the introductory image to this article. I felt that his comments would be beneficial to viewers in that they discuss a possible explanation for many "mammalian sea serpent" reports.
"This is a matter which we have fully covered on this blog many times before. This kind of "Sea-serpent or Lake Monster" is the one that is properly called the Water Horse. It is an animal which looks like a hose that goes in the water: it has a thick and not very long neck (Ordinarily only 3-4 feet long, but the head is also nearly that size and so the head and neck together can be spoken of as 6 feet long), has obvious ears (that can wiggle), a mane and often a beard (or bell) and a distinctively horsey or camel-like head. Thomas Finley also did a very good job of depicting one of its identifying characteristics: a blunt nose with large round nostrils at the end and a large overhanging upper lip. The basic animal is obvious enough: it is an elk or moose. The size and overall shape, but especially the shape of the snout, mane and beard or bell, rare reports of stubby horns but more importantly occasionally even moose horns (which have been specifically reported at Lake Champlain and at Flathead Lake) make the identification certain. At which point critics who say it cannot be a moose are in a bind because if we can have reports of runaway pet big cats the whole world over (but especially in Britain, where the reports draw attention), or even kangaroos and such, there is not any especially unusual problem with supposing some moose got loose. The King of Sweden even historically gave away gifts of moose (Elk) to friendly countries because they are much esteemed in Sweden. A [form of] seal would never have the head of a moose, nor yet anything approaching an ungulate shape. The specifics of the head shape are clear enough that we can say with some assurance that is what Lorenz Von Ferry saw way back in the 18th century and reported to Pontoppidian. Such reports are often attributed to "Caddy" in the Northwest Coast region and to "Ogopogo" inland in British Columbia. Such creatures are reported to have cloven hooves in folklore, and their tracks when reported in some areas (Including New England and at Lake Okanagon) match moose tracks in their reported size and shape."
In regard to the Naden Harbor carcass and the Mansi photograph, Scott Mardis has authored some excellent articles on these matters here and here. The aforementioned pieces have changed my thoughts in regard to the two