The plesiosaur is a marine reptile that is said to have lived during the cretaceous period. Plesiosaur was a relatively big creature that roamed the ocean, some reaching over one hundred feet long. Due to the plesiosaurs size it was a slow swimmer, it is also thought that the huge paddle-like flippers made it easy to maneuver giving it the ability to catch its prey. They were carnivorous creatures that ate fish of great size, their neck was very long and was also a great advantage when it came to catching its prey. Fossils of many plesiosaurs have been discovered and many are in museums. Some people think that they survived the global flood and are still living in our oceans today.
- Main Article: Loch Ness monster
The Loch Ness Monster is thought to be one of these plesiosaurs living in the depths of the lake. There have been many reported sighting almost all sightings were confirmed as hoaxes. People seem to describe the monster as long necked, because they always see the monsters head and neck when it surfaces either for air or a look around. The problems with such a huge creature in the lake are: food and being a cold blooded animal it must have warm tropical water to survive. It also has to breathe, if it does not have gills it can't stay under water very long and would cause it to surface all the time and we would have ended up seeing it. If the creature has gills it could possibly get by without being noticed. There are also reports of wake sightings. Wake is movement of water cause by something under or on top of the water. Most of the wake sighting are seen when the lake has nothing on it and is calm. The problem with this is that small animals can cause wake, like the common inhabitants of the lake. The possibilities of such a huge reptile living in a lake with cold water and a low food source are slim to none.
- Main Article: Zuiyo-maru
In 1977 a Japanese fishing boat called Zuiyo-maru came across a floating carcass in their nets. The carcass measured 10 meters which is about 33 feet long and weighing in at four thousand pounds. Being decayed heavily the fisherman wanted to throw it overboard because it would soon make their fish that they had caught go bad. They were going to put it back something went wrong causing it to fall on the deck. Michihiko Yano (assistant production manger) then had the chance to examine the creature and take some measurements and pictures. After this they decided to get rid of the carcass and dropped it into the water, where it sank.
The first impression the creature was being a whale. After having the pictures developed the creature seemed to have a very long neck. Scientists soon came to the conclusion that it must be a plesiosaur. Scientist from America did not like the idea and said that every now and then a carcass turns up and they soon find out that it is a whale or basking shark. The first hints are that the basking shark when deteriorating loses it head, which creates the idea of the long neck and what seems like a small head. The Japanese went into a “monster mania” despite the evidence. They made toys and all kinds of stuff even an envelope stamp was made for the monster. The basking shark can grow up to 30 feet in length and are one of the largest creatures in the sea. Unfortunately the skin was almost all gone off of the remains of the alleged plesiosaur. There was no skin so they could not determine whether it was a shark right away. One other problem is that the head to neck to torso to tail ratio is inconsistent with other plesiosaur fossils, although, the ratio is consistent with that of a basking shark. Then in September of 77’ another carcass that was confirmed as a basking shark in Nemuro, Hokkaido. The remains found by Zuiyo-maru are inconsistent and the remains were most likely a shark or a whale due to the evidence found.
Novia Scotia Finding
Another occurrence of alleged plesiosaur findings washed up on the shores of Novia Scotia on September 14th, 2002. A rotting carcass washed up on a well known beach that again was said to have taken the form of a plesiosaur. The news in Canada stated “The eight-metre long creature has a small head that attaches to a long thin neck then to a massive body of cavities and cartilage. Huge, empty eye sockets gave the carcass an eerie look. Strangely, long strands of coarse hair cover the fins—a confusing detail.” Once again we have thin neck, most likely due the decomposition stages of the basking shark, but one new thing appeared long coarse hair that covered the fins. When a basking shark dies it decomposes and when the decomposition of muscle occurs it leaves hair like frays behind, which explains the hair like structures. This carcass had a lot in common with the Zuiyo-maru finding. First off the carcass consisted mostly off cartilage with a chicken like look and feel. The lack of skin probably from the decomposition was also in both findings. Size was consistent with both, the one Zuiyo-Maru found was 8 meters head to tail, and the one found on the beach in Novia Scotia was 8.8 meters long. The evidence found in both is almost exactly the same concluding in the same outcome of the carcass being a basking shark.
- Plesiosaur by Wikipedia
- Plesiosaur Sightings provided by Matthew Engel. FT.com. London: Aug 17, 2007.Proquest
- Zuiyo-maru provided Glen J. Kuban Reports of the National Center for Science Education May/June 1997, Vol. 17,3 pg 16-28.
- Living PlesiosaursBy Pierre Jerlstom, TJ 12(3):339–346 December 1998