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Live plesiosaurs: weighing the evidence

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In the Mouth of Madness
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« on: October 15, 2011, 04:08:38 pm »

The Zuiyo-maru carcass

On April 25, 1977, a carcass was netted off the coast of New Zealand, about 30 miles east of Christchurch, by the Japanese trawler Zuiyo-maru.25 It weighed a hefty 4000 pounds and was 10 meters (33 feet) long. Michiko Yano, the assistant production manager aboard the Zuiyo-maru took five photographs of the carcass and some measurements, and removed forty-two pieces of **** fibre from one of the anterior fins (see Figures 3a, 3b and 3c).26

The fibres were washed to remove the putrid smell, treated with antiseptic solution containing 0.04% sodium hypochlorite (NaClO) for 12 hours, and allowed to air dry.27 A sketch of the carcass was later made ‘based solely on Yano’s imagination’28 after it had been thrown away, but it conflicted with Yano’s original measurements (see Figure 2d). The bone shown in the appendages was determined merely by kicking them and standing on them.28

Yano’s photographs and his misleading sketch were presented by the Taiyo Fishery at a press interview. Great media hype erupted about the find,

    ‘ … a few newspapers published very sensational stories … speculating its identity as a giant shark, plesiosaur, Nessie, or other monsters … Radio and television were no less enthusiastic … Every variety of speculations [sic], each quoting, in various ways, comments of scientists … ’25

In the Asahi Shimbun newspaper Professor Yoshinori Imaizumi of Japan’s National Science Museum was quoted as stating,

    ‘ … It’s a reptile, and the sketch looks very like a plesiosaur. This was a precious and important discovery for human beings. It seems to show that these animals are not extinct after all.’26
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