Thursday, December 26, 2013

New Tapir Species Discovered In South America

A new species of tapir, the Kobomani Tapir (Tapirus kabomani), has been discovered in Brazil and Colombia. This is a very significant discovery. It is the first new tapir species discovered since 1865, the first new perissodactyl species discovered in over 100 years, and the largest new species of terrestrial mammal discovered since the Saola (Vu Quang Ox) in 1992.

What I find ironic about this discovery is that it came at a time when the fate of cryptozoology is in rather uncertain hands. We have lost many great people, such as Roy Mackal, and the field of cryptozoology is now mostly in the hands of unscientific people who just want to attract attention and earn money. Therefore, the field of cryptozoology is not doing so well right now.

I remember another time in history when cryptozoology wasn't doing so well. It was back in 1812, when the revered French biologist Baron Georges Cuvier made what cryptozoologist Bernard Heuvelmans called his Rash Dictum: That no species of large animals remained undiscovered. However, just seven years later, in 1819, a new species of tapir was discovered in South America. This heralded the beginning of an era in which several new species of large animals were discovered all over the world, including the mountain gorilla, the okapi, and the Komodo dragon.

So I find it ironic that, in both cases, a new tapir was discovered.

Let's hope that the new tapir of 2013 ends up heralding the beginning of a new era of discovery, just like the new tapir of 1819 did.

RIP Dr. Roy P. Mackal (1925–2013)

According to an article on Loren Coleman's CryptoZooNews Blog, cryptozoologist Roy P. Mackal, who was famous for going on expeditions in search of the Loch Ness Monster of Scotland and the Mokele-Mbembe of Central Africa, died in September 2013, according to an online obituary at a funeral home website. He was born on August 1, 1925, and was 88 years old at the time of his death.

In early 2012, I began to be interested in lake monsters. I purchased Mackal's book, The Monsters of Loch Ness, from a bookstore and began to read it. I was immediately amazed at how scientific and logical Mackal's writing was. He was not some crazy lunatic who believed that every single sighting and photo/video was true - he was a very intelligent and down-to-Earth individual who truly succeeded in bringing cryptozoology out of the domain of the true believers and lunatics and into the domain of science (at least in my opinion).

I also read his book about mokele-mbembe. While the book is outdated now (due to recent discoveries in paleontology that have contradicted many of the theories about dinosaurs that Mackal had back then), I still found it to be a very good book, as well. I was especially impressed by this quote from Mackal:

"I admit that my own views are tinged with some romanticism, but certainly not to the extent that I would endure extreme hardship, even risk my life, to pursue a dream with no basis in reality."

I was very sad to learn that Roy Mackal has passed away. His passing also marks the end of an era, as he was the last surviving founder of the International Society of Cryptozoology. Now there are no longer any founders of the ISC who are still living.

Rest in peace, Roy Mackal. You will always be one of the true legends in the field of cryptozoology.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Large, Flightless Dinosaur-Like Birds

I have already written about sightings of large bipedal creatures in North and South America which resemble theropod dinosaurs. I concluded that those sightings are probably of large, unknown bipedal lizards. However, there are also some reports which describe features that appear to be characteristic of theropod dinosaurs. For example, there are some sighting reports which state that the animals had three toes, and appeared to be covered with fur-like structures on their bodies. Both of these characteristics are not really compatible with the lizard identity. 

Therefore, I have come up with a new hypothesis to explain these odd sightings. I feel that there is a species of large flightless bird living in the Americas which has evolved tooth-like serrations in its beak and a long, bony tail. This may sound unlikely, but in reality, it isn't. There are many birds alive today with tooth-like structures in their beaks; one example is the merganser. And there are already many birds which have claws on their wings, such as the ostrich. And finally, there was an extinct flightless bird called Sylviornis which had long, bony tails, just like their non-avian theropod relatives did.

These birds are probably around 5 feet tall and 9 feet long. They have a beak with tooth-like structures in it, which they use to help catch their prey. They are omnivorous, feeding on nuts, seeds, and insects, and occasionally taking larger prey, too. They most likely belong to the order Galliformes, which includes chicken and turkeys, as well as Sylviornis. In fact, they might actually be birds in the same family as Sylviornis that evolved tooth-like structures in their beaks, wing claws, and even longer tails. 

So, this is my hypothesis. I would appreciate any feedback or constructive critiques of it. Cheers! 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Lake Monsters

One of the most well-known categories of cryptids to the general public are the lake monsters. There is no good definition of a lake monster, but I will try my best to define them. Lake monsters are large aquatic cryptids that are sighted in lakes. The term 'lake monster' covers a very wide variety of different types of cryptids, so it's really not very possible to discuss all of them in one blog post. Therefore, in this post, I will only discuss some basic information about these creatures.

Lake monsters are reported from all over the world; reports have come from every continent other than Antarctica.

Without a doubt, the most famous lake monster in the world has got to be the Loch Ness Monster of Scotland. Strange animals have been sighted at Loch Ness for centuries. However, it was not until 1933 that these cryptids became very popular. In that year, there was a new road that was built right next to the loch. This may have been at least partially responsible for the dramatic increase in sightings that year.

Another famous lake monster is Champ of Lake Champlain in the United States. Native Americans living next to the lake have long had legends about a strange creature or 'dragon' living in the lake. The Abenaki called these creatures Tataskok. Sightings of these creatures increased greatly in the late 19th century. In 1873, it was even alleged that one of these creatures swam into a ship on the lake, nearly sinking it in the process.

According to the eyewitness descriptions and photos that have been taken of them, Nessie and Champ look very similar to each other. Although descriptions vary widely, most eyewitnesses describe a large, aquatic creature with a long neck and four flippers; in other words, a very plesiosaur-like animal. 
Numerous ideas and hypotheses have been developed over the years to attempt to explain these anomalous freshwater cryptids. Obviously, one of the most likely candidates at first glance appears to be a surviving plesiosaur. They match the body shape and anatomy very well, and are very reminiscent of some of the eyewitness descriptions and photographs.

Some other hypotheses include: a large amphibian, like a giant salamander; a giant, long-necked pinniped; and a giant eel.

However, despite all of the ideas that have been proposed, we still have no idea what these cryptids actually are. Hopefully, in the future, they will be discovered and scientifically-named. Then, we will finally have solved one of the greatest mysteries in the history of mankind: the mystery of the lake monsters. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Giant Bipedal Lizard Recap & Notable Sightings

In this post, I will wrap-up my series about giant bipedal iguanid lizards. I will also analyze some of the more notable sighting reports of these creatures.

First, I will recap the entire situation. In North America, bipedal creatures resembling theropod dinosaurs have been sighted for decades. My theory is that these animals are actually really big iguanid lizards that are facultatively bipedal. They can be up to 5 feet tall and 10 feet long, possibly weighing about 150 pounds or so. They have large, prominent eyes, which are red in the males. They also have sharp claws and teeth. Their hind legs are significantly longer than their front limbs. Therefore, when they are standing on all fours, they appear to be much higher in the rear than in the front.

They have a row of spines going down their backs, which, once again, might be more prominent in the males. Their color is usually green on the back and somewhat greyish on the belly and underneath the tail. They are covered with brown stripes, or splotches, like a tiger or a jaguar.

These creatures are omnivores. In addition to plants, they mostly eat insects, eggs, and possibly fish. They occasionally take larger prey as well, such as birds, rodents, smaller lizards, and possibly even juvenile deer and pronghorn. 
They are certainly large and powerful enough to kill a human, and indeed, there are stories of them doing so. I would guess that they are not normally aggressive to humans, and would usually run away from them. However, if they felt threatened, they could probably attack and kill a person in self-defense. Being opportunistic feeders, they would then probably feed on the person's body after killing them. 
Therefore, even though they are not usually "man-eaters", some individuals could have possibly killed humans in self-defense, and then feasted on their bodies. This is possibly what gave rise to the legends in Mexican culture of them being "monsters" or "demons" that regularly feasted on human corpses.        

It is very hard to classify these creatures. Although they are obviously iguanid lizards, we are not sure what genus they belong to. However, I tend to think that they are closely-related to the genus Iguana, if not members of that genus. As I stated before on this blog, this is due to the fact that they share many features with members of this genus, including the large size and the presence of a circular boss near the base of the jaw.

Notable sightings 

I will now do an analysis of some of the more notable sightings of these animals. I will start with one of the more interesting reports. I read this report on the Internet, and it can be found here: 

According to the report, an 18-year-old and his grandfather were hunting deer in Georgia on July 25, 2008. They were walking on a rocky road, when, all of a sudden, a very strange animal walked out of the bushes and onto the road maybe 150 yards in front of them. It had a long, stiff tail, walked on two legs, and had very large and sharp claws on its hands and feet. It appeared to be about 5 feet tall at the shoulders. The animal just stood there for a while, before eventually running back into the bushes. 

I feel that this sighting probably represents a genuine encounter with one of these unknown iguanid lizards. I also found it especially interesting because the witnesses described the height as being about 5 feet tall. This matches the height seen in other reports.

Another encounter happened in South Carolina. Army Colonel Robert Cooper was driving next to the Scape Ore Swamp when he saw a creature which he described as being "half-man, half-dinosaur" running on its hind legs across the road. He thought that it was the famous Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp, which had recently been reported in that same area. However, judging by the sketch that he later drew of the creature, and the description that he gave, I doubt that this animal is the same creature as the Lizard Man. Instead, it sounds an awful lot like a bipedal lizard, just like the ones reported further west.

In conclusion, these giant bipedal lizards really are very fascinating cryptids, and I will be writing a whole lot more about them in the future.

In my next post, I will start discussing the phenomenon of lake cryptids, such as the ones seen at infamous places like Loch Ness and Lake Champlain, as well as some lesser-known ones. I will look through all of the evidence, to find out which animal would be the most-likely candidate.


Habitat and Range of Bipedal Lizards

In this post, I will describe the habitat and range of these unknown bipedal lizards, including the geographical regions they live in, the environments they inhabit, and the places where they are most likely to be found. 

Sightings of these creatures are reported widely. In North America, they range from as far north as Wyoming to as far south as southern Mexico and possibly even Central America. They have been sighted as far west as Utah and as far east as Georgia and South Carolina. 

They live in diverse habitats, from deserts to swamps. However, one thing that is always consistent about these creatures is that they are associated with the presence of water. They are constantly seen around rivers, lakes, reservoirs, etc.

Therefore, the places where they are most likely to be found would probably be bodies of water surrounded by sparsely-populated wilderness areas. This is also probably where a cryptozoologist would need to go if he or she wanted to search for them.


New Study about Lizard Locomotion

In my post about lizard anatomy, I said that lizards' legs get more erect the larger the lizard is and the longer the legs are. While I still think that this is true, I recently read a study about lizard locomotion which found that not all lizards actually sprawl when they are walking, and that this is just a common misconception.
I found it especially interesting that one of the lizards used in this study was an iguanid, since these large unknown bipedal lizards appear to be iguanids.

This study supports my hypothesis that these animals are really large lizards. A giant iguanid lizard walking erect on its hind legs would almost certainly resemble a small theropod dinosaur. Therefore, it would make a very good explanation for these small 'dinosaur' sightings. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Evidence of Predatory Activity in Large Bipedal Lizards

Last time, I discussed the anatomy and physical appearance of the large bipedal iguanid lizards. This post is the first in a series of posts about the behavior and habits of these creatures. In this post, I will be discussing their diet and hunting behavior. 

As cryptozoologist Dale A. Drinnon has already pointed out on his blog, these lizards probably belong to the genus Iguana. That is because they share many features with members of that genus, such as a row of spiny scales going down the back, folds of skin above and below the head, and a circular boss near the base of the lower jaw. However, there are only two known species in the genus Iguana alive today, both of which are almost exclusively herbivorous. And it is apparent to me, from at least two reports, that these lizards are formidable predators.

Lon Strickler has written a post on his own blog about sightings of these large unknown reptiles in the Four Corners region of the southwestern United States. In the post, he mentions a report from a woman who claimed that she saw one of these bipedal lizards jumping up into the air, and catching a bird in its jaws. It then proceeded to eat its prey. Another person claims that their uncle's pit bull dog was killed and devoured by one of these creatures.
And finally, the late Fortean investigator John Keel once wrote that, around the year 1970, a man driving a pick-up truck in Texas was attacked and eaten by a medium-sized, bipedal predatory dinosaur. I am very skeptical of this story, since it sounds a lot like a tall tale. However, the other two reports of predatory behavior sound very credible, and I currently cannot think of any reason to discount them. 

Therefore, it is my opinion that these iguanid lizards are not herbivorous, like other members of their genus. Instead, they appear to incorporate much more animal matter in their diet. At first, it may seem unlikely that members of the same genus could differ so much from each other in their eating habits. However, a little bit of research shows that it's not as unlikely or as outrageous as it might seem. 

There is nothing special or different about the jaws and teeth of lizards in the genus Iguana that prevents them from eating meat. Indeed, the teeth of iguanas are almost identical in shape and structure to those of collared lizards. However, while iguanas are mostly herbivorous, collared lizards are ferocious carnivores that will eat just about any other animals they can find, including other lizards. 

Also, in omnivorous species, the amount of animal matter that is eaten relative to plant matter varies widely, even within members of the same species. For example, some human populations are almost vegetarian, while others feed almost exclusively on meat.

And finally, these unknown reptiles, according to the reports, live in a very different habitat than their smaller cousins. Common iguanas are arboreal, but the evidence appears to suggest that these giant iguanas are cursorial animals, built more for running, rather than for climbing. 

Therefore, it is clear to me that the supposed predatory diet of these large bipedal iguanid lizards is not so far-fetched, after all. 

In my next post, I will discuss the habitat and geographical range of these unknown lizards, and try to locate the places where they are most likely to be found.

Until then, cheers! 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Anatomy and Physical Appearance of Bipedal Lizards

I will now describe the anatomy and physical appearance of these unknown large bipedal lizards. I will first describe the anatomy and diversity of lizards in general.

Introduction To Lizards

Lizards are a group of reptiles belonging to the suborder Lacertilia in the order Squamata. Their closest living relatives are the snakes, which are also members of the order Squamata, and the tuataras, which belong in the closely-related order Rhynchocephalia. Squamates are the second-most speciose order of vertebrates on Earth, second only to the Perciformes, and they live on every continent other than Antarctica. Lizards are a very diverse and incredibly successful group of animals that have managed to evolve and adapt to numerous habitats and ecosystems all across the world.

Within the lizards, there is great diversity in body size and shape, as well as behavior and lifestyles. For example, monitor lizards are large terrestrial apex predators, while iguanas are arboreal and mostly herbivorous. In the past, there existed even greater diversity than this. One example is the mosasaurs. These were gigantic, carnivorous lizards that were adapted to a marine lifestyle. They were among the top predators in the Cretaceous seas, and they are thought to have fed on fish, shellfish, plesiosaurs, and possibly even other mosasaurs. 

Therefore, it is clear that the lizards are a very adaptable and remarkably succesful group of organisms.

Leg Anatomy

Like all other living reptiles, most lizards walk predominately on four legs, with their legs sprawling out to the sides of their bodies. This is different from mammals, birds, and dinosaurs, who all have legs which are directly underneath their bodies. However, some species, such as the larger monitors, are capable of walking with their legs held in a semi-erect fashion beneath their bodies.

This is because, generally, lizards' legs have a tendency to become more erect the longer they are, and the larger the animal is. Therefore, large lizards with long legs can have limbs that appear and function just like the more erect limbs of mammals and birds.

In my last post, I wrote about how sightings of small carnivorous 'dinosaurs' in North and South America probably represent an unknown species of giant, predatory iguanid lizard that frequently walks on two legs. These animals appear to be capable of both quadrupedal and bipedal locomotion. However, as their front limbs appear to be much shorter than their hind legs, it appears to me that they are mostly bipedal, and occasionally drop down on all fours. This would make them more bipedal than any other lizards known to science. 

In addition, these creatures also appear to have much longer hind limbs than any other lizards known to science. This would presumably enable them to run quickly in pursuit of prey. And, indeed, this is what numerous sighting reports seem to indicate.

Teeth And Claws

These animals appear to be omnivores which eat both plants and meat. They use their sharp teeth and claws to  capture and kill their prey. Some sighting reports have indicated that they have especially long and sharp claws on their feet, like the extinct 'raptor' dinosaurs, or dromaeosaurs. I would presume that they would probably use these claws as weapons, possibly for predation. It is also possible that they could be used for self-defense, or for fights between males (male lizards, especially iguanas, tend to fight with each other a lot). 

It is unclear what purpose, if any, the relatively short forearms could be used for. It's possible that they could use their arms to grasp small prey items, but this is just speculation. We do know that they also have long, sharp claws on their hands, albeit not as long as the claws on the feet. 

They are also armed with powerful jaws full of long, sharp teeth. The teeth have large, bump-like serrations. Teeth that are serrated in this way are useful for both chomping on plants and slicing through flesh. Once again, this is presumably indicative of these animals' omnivorous diet. 

Skin And Coloration 

These animals are covered with scaly skin, like all other reptiles. Some eyewitnesses have reported seeing hair- or feather-like structures on the skin, especially on the back. I think that these are probably  just scales that resemble hair or feathers. Many iguana species have spikes on their backs, and it is possible that a confused witness could mistake them for fur or feathers. 

The color of the skin varies considerably according to the reports. However, most of the time, these animals are described as being either green, brown, or orange. Their bodies are covered with brown or black stripe-like markings, or splotches.


In conclusion, these giant bipedal iguanid lizards are about 9 to 10 feet long, and 4 to 5 feet tall when standing erect on 2 legs. They have long, erect hind limbs, and short arms. They have scaly skin with fur-like scales on the back, and they are adorned with stripe-like markings on their skin. They have sharp teeth with large, bumpy serrations, and very sharp and dangerous claws on the feet.

In my next few posts, I will discuss the behavior and habits of these animals, as observed from the sighting reports. I will try to identify what animals they prey on, what habitats they live in, and possibly also what methods cryptozoologists should use to try to search for them. 

Until then, cheers!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Giant Bipedal Lizards in North America

Since the American civil war, large bipedal reptiles which closely resemble theropod dinosaurs have been sighted in the United States. Most of these sightings have happened in the western states, such as Wyoming, Colorado, and northern New Mexico.
Witnesses describe an animal that is always on its hind legs, is around 10 feet long from head to tail, and stands about 5 feet tall. It has a long, pointed snout filled with sharp teeth, and sharp claws on its hands and feet. It has large eyes. Sometimes, witnesses also report that these creatures have spines on their backs, like iguanas. Usually, they run away from humans. However, a few encounters do appear to show agression towards humans.

Although they have been sighted all over the southwest, there is one town in southern Colorado which has gained significant publicity in recent years due to sightings of these creatures. That town is Pagosa Springs, Colorado. The animals have been seen here since at least the 1930s. From 1995 to 2002, another rash of sightings occurred in Pagosa Springs. Several people described seeing creatures exactly like the ones that were previously seen in that area many decades earlier.
On 2 August 2002, an article in a Colorado newspaper discussed these sightings, and a local reptile expert was quoted as saying that the descriptions of the creatures did not appear to match those of any known reptile.

Convergent evolution

Researchers who have been studying the sightings have come up with several theories about what the strange animals are. Obviously, the animal that first comes to your mind when you hear the description is a small theropod dinosaur, such as a Velociraptor or a Troodon. Therefore, it is no wonder that many researchers believe that these animals are surviving theropod dinosaurs.
However, I have a hard time accepting this theory. You see, there is a trend in cryptozoology which me and many others as well have noticed. Darren Naish calls it the 'Prehistoric Survivor Paradigm' (PSP). The prehistoric survivor paradigm is the belief among some cryptozoologists that, if a cryptid looks just like a certain prehistoric animal, then it must be a surviving descendant of that prehistoric animal. Personally, I disagree with this assumption.
There exists a phenomenon which is familiar to most biologists known as convergent evolution.
Convergent evolution is when two or more unrelated organisms look or act very similar to each other, even though they are completely unrelated to each other. This often happens if both of the organisms live in similar habitats, or occupy a similar ecological niche. Convergent evolution is the reason why bats, birds, and bees all have wings. It is the reason why a rhinoceros somewhat resembles a Triceratops. It is also the reason why birds and mammals are both warm-blooded. There are lots and lots of other examples of convergent evolution out there, as well.

One of the most striking examples of convergent evolution is the resemblance of the recently-extinct Thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus) to the common Grey Wolf (Canis lupus). However, despite the obvious physical resemblence of these two predatory mammals, they are completely unrelated to each other. The wolf is a placental mammal, like cats, elephants, and humans, while the thylacine is a marsupial, like kangaroos and opossums.

Therefore, what I think is that a species of lizard has evolved to look like a small theropod dinosaur, due to convergent evolution. It has evolved erect limbs and bipedalism (more on this later). The type of lizard cannot be conclusively determined from the reports; however, I think it is probably an iguanian lizard.

In conclusion, I think that most of the sighting reports of "Velociraptors" in the U.S.A. are really just large bipedal lizards. I will be writing much more about these large bipedal North American lizards soon in other posts, including detailed analysis of some of the more notable sightings. I will also examine lizard anatomy and physiology much more closely, in order to clear up any confusion.

See you later!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Hidden Animals

Zoology is defined as the scientific study of animals. Every single day, new species of animals are discovered. It may be surprising to learn that many of the larger animals which we know of today were discovered relatively recently. For example, gorillas were not known to Western scientists until 1847. The Okapi wasn't discovered until 1901, and the Komodo dragon was not known until 1912. Many of these weird and wonderful creatures had their existence ridiculed by science before they were finally proven to be real.

Sightings of strange and mysterious creatures have been made by numerous people throughout history, and they still continue to this day. In this blog, I will investigate these so-called "hidden animals", and try to come up with theories about their possible identities, while trying to remain as scientific as possible. It is my hope to uncover some truth about these creatures, while sharing my investigations and expeditions with the rest of the world.