An exploration of our Earth's ever-captivating fauna through musings on the bizarre side of Zoology, Cryptozoology, Paleontology, and Paleoanthropology

Friday, August 30, 2013

Horse-Headed "Sea Serpent" Recently Reported In Maine

Thomas Finley's excellent painting of a long-necked "sea serpent" with a horse-like head.

In an article on his CryptoZooNews blog, well known cryptozoological researcher Loren Coleman released some recent information which caught my attention. Two middle aged men kayaking in Somes Sound (off of Acadia National Park in Maine) on Thursday, August 22, 2013 allegedly witnessed an unknown aquatic animal. The details currently available reveal that the animal had a three foot long, scaly horse-like head. While it is certainly possible that the men were startled by a surfacing moose, details like scaly skin and a three foot long head do not coincide with the features of such an ungulate. It is interesting to note that many reports of "sea serpents" throughout history described the animals as having horse-like heads, and many of these observations were detailed and apparently at close range. I currently wonder if Tyler Stone's hypothesis of partially dried hair or rough skin creating the appearance of scales on longnecks could be true in regard to this report.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

1995 Puerto Rico Chupacabra Was a Porcupine?

Comparison between an upright standing porcupine and a cartoon illustration of a Chupacabras which exhibits most of the features in Ms. Tolentino's sketch of the alleged Chupacabras which she saw. 
I was recently doing research into what animals could have been behind alleged Chupacabras sightings in Latin America. While it is well established that the sightings and carcasses of alleged hairless, dog-like Chupacabras were due to canines with mange, some early alleged sightings were different and thus enigmatic. In the article which I am sharing a link to here, cryptozoological researcher Dale Drinnon investigates what the possible identity of the Chupacabras (yes, Chupacabras is also a singular form) which Madelyne Tolentino allegedly saw in Puerto Rico in the year 1995. This sighting is regarded to have been the start of the Chupacabras craze, and is thought by Benjamin Radford to have been inspired by thoughts of the humanoid alien from the movie Species. However, Dale does not agree with Mr. Radford's view, and points out that the animal which Ms. Tolentino described and sketched does not have the human female proportions or features which the Species alien did.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Tully Monster: A Bizarre, Rather Plesiosaur-Shaped Invertebrate

Artistic reconstruction of Tullimonstrum gregarium.
(Image Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tullimonstrum)
While searching on YouTube for videos on paleontological information, I came upon a video which inspired great interest in me. This video displayed Paul Mayer, Fossil Invertebrate Collection Manager at the Field Museum of Natural History in Illinois, speaking about "The Tully Monster." I had previously heard of this extremely interesting prehistoric invertebrate, in fact I read about it several years ago, but this video (which is shared below) made me desire to briefly write about these intriguing animals here.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Fossil Evidence Sheds Light on Pterosaur Inaccuracies



Excellent painting of two Istiodactylus feeding on the remains of a stegosaur, by paleoartist Mark P. Witton.

(Notice: I had originally written this article for use on the upcoming Fortean Slip podcast which is hosted by Christopher York and Steve Alcorn. I decided to share it here also for the benefit of viewers, as pterosaurs are an interesting group of animals which definitely fit into the realm of bizarre zoology. I have also been meaning to post more articles on paleontological topics, so here is one which I wrote referencing an excellent article by paleoartist Mark Witton.)

Surely if you've seen dinosaur-themed movies such as Jurassic Park then you have heard of pterosaurs. Although these strange creatures are often the sinister "villains" of such media, recent discoveries have revealed that many of the portrayed characteristics are incorrect and have shined light on the true appearance of these bizarre prehistoric reptiles. Pterosaurs were archosaurian reptiles which lived throughout the Mesozoic era, a period of time starting 250 million years ago and ending 65 million years ago. These animals possessed wings with membranes which were supported by a single finger and ranged in size from wingspans of 10 inches to 10 meters, with some species growing as tall as giraffes! However, as mentioned before, there are many inaccuracies regarding these interesting prehistoric animals often spread in movies and other media sources. Rather than being unsuccessful prehistoric equivalents of modern day seabirds, fossil evidence suggests that pterosaurs were a diverse group of reptiles which inhabited a variety of niches. Interestingly, many paleontologists suggest that a group of pterosaurs known as the azhdarchids may have stalked small animals (possibly even juvenile dinosaurs) on the ground like giant, reptilian storks! Pterosaurs were not the scrawny or leathery-skinned monsters depicted in many popular films, but were actually covered in hair-like fuzz which suggests that they were likely warm blooded. These flying reptiles did not struggle to takeoff from the ground, which would put themselves at constant risk to predators such as theropod dinosaurs, but likely launched themselves efficiently using all four legs and their powerful muscles which allowed them to leap off flat ground without assistance of cliffs or wind. Although many inaccuracies regarding these amazing prehistoric animals have been corrected, scientists still have many questions as to what their lifestyles and intermediate ancestors were like. Hopefully, with further research by devoted paleontologists and other scientists, some of the many questions regarding these bizarre Mesozoic reptiles may be answered. To read more about discoveries on the likely appearance and lifestyle of pterosaurs, click this link: Why pterosaurs weren't so scary after all







A likely inaccurate depiction of a leathery and rather demonic-looking Pteranodon from Jurassic Park III.



Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Happy Sea Serpent Day!

Various "sea serpent" artwork and eyewitness sketches compiled into a holiday banner!
Please click to enlarge and see it in all its cryptozoological beauty!


I almost forgot about it, but today (August 7th) is apparently "Sea Serpent Day!" This holiday seems as bizarre as the reported creatures themselves, as it is difficult to discover why today was chosen for it. In this article, Loren Coleman has suggested that it was due to two renowned 'sea serpent' sightings which occurred a day before this date. On August 6, 1817, the commonly witnessed "Gloucester sea serpent" was allegedly observed. Interestingly, the alleged animals had been reported daily for a period of time and even very skeptical 'sea serpent' report researchers have stated that something truly unique was likely going on there. The famed sighting of an alleged 60-foot long and maned 'sea serpent' by the crew of the naval ship HMS Daedalus also occurred on the date of August 6, 1848. 'Sea serpent' sightings are one of the most interesting areas of research I have conducted (if not the most interesting), and I hope that you have enjoyed my articles on the subject so far, as more are coming very soon. If you wish to conduct your own research into 'sea serpent' sightings, then you should definitely purchase In The Wake of The Sea-Serpents by Bernard Heuvelmans through Amazon. I recently received it (mine is a used copy yet is still in perfect condition), and there truly is nothing like it for research use. So I hope you had a wonderful "Sea Serpent Day" and continue to come back here for more articles regarding the intriguing and often reliable reports of what may be a truly unknown, large marine species.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Ms. Julie Hagan's Eyewitness Illustrations of the "Hagan Carcass"

Julie Hagan's illustrations of the unidentified animal carcass which she allegedly witnessed in California.
I was very excited to see that on Facebook last night, Ms. Julie Hagan had posted her own illustrations of the unidentified marine mammal carcass which she witnessed in California. I had originally written about Ms. Hagan's claims here, but I only had an artistic reconstruction by Thomas Finley to use as a reference point. However, the eyewitness sketches recently supplied by Ms. Hagan are very important to this investigation in the sense that they are Ms. Hagan's own depictions of what she allegedly has seen. False judgments have occurred due to inaccurate illustrations of cryptozoological animals made by people other than the witness/witnesses themselves in the past, as was the case with the differing representations of the alleged sea serpent seen by members of the HMS Daedalus. However, now that we have Ms. Hagan's own sketches of the carcass she allegedly saw, this mistake can hopefully be avoided. These illustrations are very interesting as most of the depicted features match with Ms. Hagan's anecdote and do make sense for a marine mammal. One feature which makes it very difficult to suggest a possible identity for this supposed carcass is that it reportedly possessed both a blowhole and nostrils on its snout. This really doesn't make much biological sense, and the only suggestions that I can make are that it possibly was a vestigial or misremembered feature. I shared these illustrations with researchers Cameron McCormick and Markus Hemmler who both thought that it was possible that Ms. Hagan had seen a known species of toothed whale and misremembered the features. This is a possiblity, but Ms. Hagan claimed to have made careful observations and she has assured me that this was not the case. As I stated before, we can only make speculations which may or may not have any validity until a similar carcass is discovered. Keep a lookout for future posts on the "Hagan carcass" and please check out the original article on the matter which is now updated.