Posted by: codsow | April 19, 2013

Sea Monsters.

From the first time that humans ventured into the ocean, tales of great monsters from the deep have captured our minds.  The ocean is one of the only places on Earth where you can truly realize how small you really are, so of course there has to be a sea monster or two that are just larger than life.  Right?  Lets take a look at a few…

The above carcass was accidentally caught in 1977 off the coast of New Zealand.  The photos are pretty striking; if this is not evidence of a recently deceased pleisiosaur, then what is it?  Luckily, before tossing this creature overboard due to the stench, measurements and a few tissue/bone samples were taken.  After analysis, it was determined that this was a decomposed Basking Shark.  Surprisingly, Basking Sharks decompose in a way to give this “small head” appearance, much like a pleisiosaur.  Luckily measurements and samples were taken, or this story would still be circulating as a “real” example.

Next up, more recently, we have this creature straight out of the SyFy channel.  This picture made the rounds on the internet for some time, and some folks were claiming a new species, or even an alien life form.  Pretty creepy looking I must say.  If you know your invasive species, especially in the Great Lakes though, you would recognize this guy as a Sea Lamprey.  Truth is definitely stranger than fiction.

This creature was found in Russia, and immediately the stories of Sea Monster started to circulate.  Once biologists were on the scene though, it was easily enough debunked as a Beluga Whale.  Doesn’t really look like one though?  The proof was in the skull, and more importantly the teeth.  Another sea monster fail…

Another classic, the Hook Island sea monster from 1965.  This image was taken near Australia, and the creature was estimated to be around 75-80 feet long.  This creature was spotted from the boat, then the photographers swam underwater towards it.  After it did not move for a while, once closer, the animal opened it’s mouth, and slowly swam away, with an observed injury on it’s tail.  It was further speculated that the creature was resting in the shallow lagoon due to it’s injury.  Since photoshop was not around in the 1960s, this photo gained some serious traction.  Until you look into the person pushing the photos.  The photographer was in serious debt, and was looking to make some serious money off of this discovery.  He even went as far as selling an expedition into looking for the creature, which found nothing.  It is widely accepted that this was a hoax utilizing plastic, or other materials weighted down by sand.  Still a very impressive photo nonetheless.

So all of these photos have been identified as either another known species, or a hoax.  Does that mean that sea monsters do not exist?  Absolutely not.  What I want to point out here is that we need to use science to figure out these stories and tales of sea creatures.  The ocean is the last “wild” place on our planet, with very little explored.  While we do not have proof of sea creatures, we do not have all of the data to make the call that they do not exist at all.  Until the ocean is explored fully, we will never know what exactly is out there.

If you have any great photos that you think I should see, please send them my way, or post them on the CCzS Facebook page!

Keep searching…

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