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rashore

Misreading the Mokele-Mbembe

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rashore
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Regular readers of Tet Zoo will know that I’ve written – on a great many occasions – about cryptozoology (the hunt for creatures known only from anecdotal evidence and not thought by the majority of scientists to truly await discovery as valid zoological entities). And I’ve written about various specific cryptids – the mystery beasts that are the alleged targets of cryptozoological investigations – on some number of occasions too.

But for all this, I’m surprised to find – even after more than 12 years of blogging – that there are a huge number of cryptozoological subjects that I haven’t ever covered at Tet Zoo at all. Purely because I’ve never actually said much about it before, I want to talk here about mokele-mbembe, the alleged ‘living sauropod’ of the Congo. This text is culled from the appropriate section of my 2017 book Hunting Monsters (a 2016 ebook version also exists) but is slightly modified and includes the references that couldn’t be cited in the book itself (Naish 2017). This brief article is not a definitive history of the mokele-mbembe and everything about it, but merely a part of the story.

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/tetrapod-zoology/misreading-the-mokele-mbembe-the-mokele-mbembe-part-1/

For further reading: http://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/a-french-missionarys-eighteenth-century-account-of-mokele-mbembe

 

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Galactic Goatman

I find it funny that people still believe in this supposed cryptid. Isn't it a little suspicious that the descriptions match, not what we now know about sauropods, but their depictions in the 70's as swamp-living, tail dragging muckgulpers? 

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Carnoferox
15 hours ago, AustinHinton said:

I find it funny that people still believe in this supposed cryptid. Isn't it a little suspicious that the descriptions match, not what we now know about sauropods, but their depictions in the 70's as swamp-living, tail dragging muckgulpers? 

The form of the mokele mbembe can be traced back to even older depictions, namely Charles Knight's paintings from the early 1900's.

Edited by Carnoferox
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Iilaa'mpuul'xem

The whole mokele mbembe thing has always caught my attention, the idea of a dinosaur type creature existing in the densest part of Africa, somehow plants the seed of it really existing... by far one of my favourite Cryptids.. 

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Carnoferox
39 minutes ago, Iilaa'mpuul'xem said:

The whole mokele mbembe thing has always caught my attention, the idea of a dinosaur type creature existing in the densest part of Africa, somehow plants the seed of it really existing... by far one of my favourite Cryptids.. 

It is certainly a romantic idea, but it doesn't hold up upon further scrutiny. If the mokele mbembe is a real animal it certainly isn't a surviving sauropod.

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Iilaa'mpuul'xem
Just now, Carnoferox said:

It is certainly a romantic idea, but it doesn't hold up upon further scrutiny. If the mokele mbembe is a real animal it certainly isn't a surviving sauropod.

I know and fully agree... but non the less, if a surviving sauropod/Dino... still existed today, the deepest darkest depths of the African jungle or Amazon rainforest would be a great setting for a lovely romantic dream? 

Do you hold any believe in anything in the Crypto world actually still being a possibility to be real??  

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Carnoferox
20 minutes ago, Iilaa'mpuul'xem said:

I know and fully agree... but non the less, if a surviving sauropod/Dino... still existed today, the deepest darkest depths of the African jungle or Amazon rainforest would be a great setting for a lovely romantic dream? 

Do you hold any believe in anything in the Crypto world actually still being a possibility to be real??  

While I find the majority of cryptids to be highly implausible, I think Beebe's cryptid fishes (bathysphere fish, three-starred anglerfish, pallid sailfin, etc.) are likely to have existed although currently unverified.

Edited by Carnoferox
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oldrover

If I had to put my money on one, it'd be the fairly recent existence of a large quoll species in NW Australia, aka the Queensland tiger. Actually I don't buy a bloody syllable of the story, but I'd like to. 

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Galactic Goatman
5 hours ago, Carnoferox said:

It is certainly a romantic idea, but it doesn't hold up upon further scrutiny. If the mokele mbembe is a real animal it certainly isn't a surviving sauropod.

Sauropods where already in decline even before the K/T Extinctions. They would be one of the least likely groups to survive to the modern age. 

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Carnoferox
35 minutes ago, AustinHinton said:

Sauropods where already in decline even before the K/T Extinctions. They would be one of the least likely groups to survive to the modern age. 

That is a very common misconception; while classic Late Jurassic families like diplodocids and brachiosaurids were long extinct, titanosaurian sauropods thrived right up until the K-Pg extinction.

Edited by Carnoferox
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JustATheory

This is a completely unsubstantiated theory but what if the Mokele Mbembe was actually an unknown or thought to be extinct species of freshwater turtle. The Stupendemys Geographicus was absolutely massive. And Africa is home to plenty of turtles from the order Pleurodira, who have extremely long necks. The Mokele Mbembe is also depicted as having four legs, and flesh too toxic to eat, traits shared with most freshwater turtles. Some depictions of it also describe it as living in small groups or pairs, and at the very least African Helmeted turtles have shown this trait, they even hunt in packs! And anyone who’s been to the Congo for an extended period of time can tell you that a lot of the animals and insects there are much larger than they have any right to be. Just a thought, I’m a total layman.

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