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Plesiosaur

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Melody Stacker
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« Reply #15 on: October 09, 2007, 09:11:11 pm »

Alleged living plesiosaurs

Lake or sea monster sightings are occasionally explained by cryptozoologists as plesiosaurs [citation needed]. While the survival of a small, unrecorded breeding colony of plesiosaurs for the 65,000,000 years since their apparent extinction is unlikely, the discovery of real and even more ancient living fossils such as the Coelacanth and of previously unknown but enormous deep-sea animals such as the giant squid, have fuelled imaginations.

The 1977 discovery of a carcass with flippers and what appeared to be a long neck and head, by the Japanese fishing trawler Zuiyo Maru, off New Zealand, created a plesiosaur craze in Japan. Members of a blue-ribbon panel of eminent marine scientists in Japan reviewed the discovery. Professor Yoshinori Imaizumi, of the National Science Museum of Japan, said, "It's not a fish, whale, or any other mammal." However, the general consensus amongst scientists today is that it was a decayed basking shark. The long neck described may be attributed to the loss of the lower jaw (a favorite of scavengers).

The Loch Ness Monster has been reported to resemble a plesiosaur. Arguments against the plesiosaur theory include the fact that the lake is too cold for a cold-blooded animal to survive easily, that air-breathing animals like plesiosaurs would be easily spotted when they surface to breathe, that the lake is too small to support a breeding colony and that the loch itself formed only 10,000 years ago during the last ice age.

However, these arguments have all been opposed by Robert Rines, who said that "animals can adapt" and that "some reptiles can stay in water for a long time". "Many sightings tell of "horns" or "ears", which may be nostrils. If it (the monster) breathes regularly, it could breathe without being noticed".

The National Museums of Scotland confirmed that vertebrae discovered on the shores of Loch Ness, in 2003, belong to a plesiosaur, although there are some questions about whether the fossils were planted (BBC News, July 16, 2003).

Beached carcasses that prove controversial or hard to identify, a phenomenon known as globsters, have fueled the debate about living plesiosaurs. It was reported in The Star (Malaysia) on April 8, 2006, that fishermen discovered bones resembling that of a Plesiosaur near Sabah, Malaysia. The creature was speculated to have died only a month before. A team of researchers from Universiti Malaysia Sabah investigated the specimen but the bones were later determined to be those of a whale.

On November 2, 2006, Leslie Noč of the Sedgwick Museum in Cambridge, UK, announced research which casts further doubt on a plesiosaur inhabiting Loch Ness. While many sightings of the monster include reports of it lifting its head out of the water, including the Spurling photo, Noč's study of fossilized vertebrae of a Muraenosaurus concluded this articulation would not be possible. Instead, he found that the neck evolved to point downwards allowing the plesiosaur to feed on soft-shelled animals living on the sea floor.

Another creature closely resembling a plesiosaur has been reported to exist in Lake Khaiyr in Eastern Siberia. However, due to the extreme remoteness of the location and the fear of volcanic activity, the lake is rarely visited by scientists or tourists and consequently there have been few sightings.

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