Thursday, April 15, 2010
Africa's Living Dinosaur
Living Dinosaurs; the Mokele Mbembe
Jurassic Albatross- The Mokele Mbembe, known by different names around Africa is a large dinosaur like monster said to be aggressive, but not carnivorous. It has a long neck and mainly lives in rivers, hibernating in caves during the dry season. With the small head and big body it seems to resemble a sea serpent, but no sea serpent has for columnar legs capable of supporting its weight on dry land. Is the Mokele Mbembe a living Sauropod dinosaur?
The first references to the Mokele Mbembe; the one who stops the flow of rivers, can be found in French missionary Abbé Lievain Bonaventure's 1776 book where he describes animals of the Congo. One passage describes a set of footprints possible referable to this cryptid; "must have been monstrous: the marks of the claws were noted on the ground, and these formed a print about three feet in circumference."
Other documents of footprints show consistency in having been large, at around 3 feet wide and three toed;
1919-1920, expedition into Africa conducted by the Smithsonian Institution; "African guides found large, unexplained tracks along the bank of a river" (Field Guide To Lake Monsters by Loren Coleman and Patrick Huyghe) ***
1927; Alfred Aloysius Smith, a trader working in Gabon during the 1800's wrights in his memoir Trader Bon where he refers to an unknown creature that leaves round three clawed footprints.
1966; Yvan Ridel photographs a set of three toed footprints near Laubomo.
Sightings showing the Mokele Mbembe to be long necked and large bodied;
1909; Lt Paul Gratz refers to a native legend in Zambia of a Sauropod like creature.
1909; Big game hunter Carl Hagenbeck in his autobiography Beasts and Men refers to multiple sources including other big game hunters and natives in the Congo area informing him of a creature "half elephant, half dragon" or "some kind of dinosaur, seemingly akin to the brontosaurs".*
1913; German Captain Freiherr von Stein zu Lausnitz includes descriptions of a beast sighted by natives in Cameroon; "The animal is said to be of a brownish-gray color with a smooth skin, its size is approximately that of an elephant; at least that of a hippopotamus. It is said to have a long and very flexible neck and only one tooth but a very long one; some say it is a horn. A few spoke about a long, muscular tail like that of an alligator."**
1939; in the German Colonial Gazette (Angola) a letter by Frau Ilse von Nolde describes encounters with a long necked monster called "coye ya menia" ("water lion").****
1976; botanical expedition into Zaire lead by James Powell, monster called the "n'yamala" described to him by natives. When they were shown pictures of animals alive and extinct the natives said that of the long necked Diplodocus dinosaur most resembled the creature.*****