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In the Mouth of Madness
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« on: October 15, 2011, 03:47:19 pm »

Figure 1. Four of the photographs taken by Michihiko Yano aboard the Zuiyo-maru on April 25, 1977. A, B. Two front views of the carcass. These were the photos that inspired many to view the carcass as plesiosaur-like. C. The only clear photograph of the back of the carcass, showing an apparent dorsal fin and myocommata along the spine (see Figure 5). D. The carcass on the deck, with the anterior end toward the right. A fifth photograph (not shown) is an almost identical view of the carcass on the deck, and provides no additional information.

Despite the possible scientific significance of the find, the captain and crew agreed that the foul-smelling corpse should be thrown overboard to avoid spoiling the fish catch. However, as the slimy carcass was being maneuvered over the ship in preparation for disposal, it slipped from its ropes and fell suddenly onto the deck. This allowed the 39 year old Yano, a graduate of Yamaguchi Oceanological high school, to examine the creature more closely. Although he was still unable to identify the animal, Yano felt it was definitely unusual, prompting him to take a set of measurements, along with five photographs using a camera borrowed from a shipmate. The total length of the carcass measured 10 meters (about 33 feet). Yano also removed 42 pieces of "**** fiber" from an anterior fin, in hopes of aiding future identification efforts. The creature was then released over the side and sank back into its watery grave. All of this took place within about an hour (Koster 1977). About two months later Yano made a sketch of the carcass, which unfortunately conflicts with some of his own measurements, photographs, and statements (discussed later).
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