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mokele-mbembe

The mokele-mbembe is an alleged  living sauropod dinosaur now living in the Likouala swamp region of the Republic of the Congo. The animal has allegedly been encountered by local pygmies who have given the creature its name. Mokele-mbembe means, depending on your source, "rainbow", "one that stops the flow of rivers", or "monstrous animal." The mokele-mbembe is allegedly the size of an elephant (the favorite prey of the local pygmies) with a very long reptilian neck. The creature is said to be hairless and reddish-brown, brown, or gray, with a tail five to ten feet long. The creature apparently spends most of its time in the water, but the pygmies claim they've seen prints left on land of a three-clawed foot.

Reports of this creature have been circulating for the past two hundred years, yet no one has photographed the creature or produced any physical evidence of its existence. Enthusiastic cryptozoologists like Roy Mackal (A Living Dinosaur? In Search of Mokele-Mbembe, 1987) think we should give as much credence to the mokele-mbembe as to the Loch Ness monster. True, and it seems unlikely the creature exists, since there would have to be a significant number of the huge creatures to continue to produce descendents after all other dinosaurs were extinguished some 70 million years ago. Yet, they seem to have flourished without leaving a single carcass, bone fragment, or fossil.

Cryptozoologists argue that since a coelacanth was caught off the coast of South Africa, it is reasonable to think that a dinosaur might also have avoided detection for a few million years. However, there is a big difference between finding a fish thought to be extinct and finding a dinosaur. The fish is small and lives in the ocean. Oceans cover two-thirds of the earth and have depths of up to 35,000 feet. That is a lot of space to hide specimens and fragments of specimens. Dinosaurs are large, occupied the third of the earth mostly visible to its other inhabitants, and thus would be much more likely to be detected than the coelacanth.

See also cryptozoology and Loch Ness monster.


further reading

Mokele-mbembe

Mysterious Creatures

Last updated 20-Dec-2013

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