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Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Muhuru, Mbielu-Mbielu-Mbielu and the Megacrocs of East Africa

Traditional African depiction of the larger species of crocodile's head. It is notable for being blunter and broader than the usual type of crocodile's head, with some unusual bosses at the back of the head. This is from the same internet site which collects African Traditional-art designs for use in rubber stamps and such, and all of the images there are public-domain.

Roy Mackal's hypothetical aquatic stegosaur meant to explain the Mbileu-Mbielu-Mbielu. The form of the living animal is not described in the reports and only the jagged back-crest is ever seen.

It is quite possibly the same as the creature seen out on land in Kenya by Missionary Cal Bombay and his wife and called "Muhuru" (or actually, "The Muhuru Bay Monster")

Rather than an unusually spiny-backed lizard, this might be a type of crocodile with a much exaggeratedly jagged back-crest. It seems to be reported in West Africa as well as the Central Congo and Lake Victoria, possibly in the swamps at the source of the Nile also (where it is distinguised from the Lau )

This is not meant as a reconstruction of the same creature, but the illustratioon has an added note which refers to Cal Bombay's sighting. The illustration is once again from Roy Mackal's book A Living Dinosaur?
and it is meant to depict the Ngouma-Monene as a sort of very elongated monitor lizard. This creature is probably shown as TOO elongated (the body would sag to the ground in the middle because the front and back legs are so far apart)

A photo from a discussion of African Lake Monsters from Lindsay Selby's blog and probably not actually African, but it does indicate the jagged crest of a crocodile's tail and thus does suit the discussion.

Photo said to show the "Mokele-Mbembe", I think this is a still from a film.

The creature enlarged. I would say this is definitely the head of some sort of crocodile.

Quoting from items #4 and #5 of Raheel Mughal's list of Lesser-known African Cryptids, we come to these forms:

(4) Mahamba: Cryptic Crocodiles! From the humid and impenetrable jungles of the Congo (formally Zaire), come reports of the ‘Mahamba’, a lesser-known water monster from native Bobangi accounts. This fearsome beast is said to resemble a gigantic crocodile which is reported to reach an astounding 50 ft (15.2 metres) in length. Reports collected by cryptozoologist Dr. Roy Mackal during his 1980 expedition to hunt for the Mokele Mbembe (an alleged living sauropod dinosaur) also turned up amazing accounts of other alleged ‘prehistoric survivors,’ one of which is the Mahamba. According to eyewitness testimony from the Bobangi, the animal in question resembles a Nile Crocodile but it is not a ‘Nkoli’ (the native term for a Nile Crocodile). The creature may in fact pertain to a new species of undiscovered giant crocodile. That having been said, some researchers such as Dr. Mackal believe that the Mahamba indicates a ghost-lineage of a large freshwater variety of Mosasaur[-ancestor] from the Late Cretaceous.

(5) Mbeilu-Mbeilu-Mbeilu: When is a Stegosaur not a Stegosaur? The Mbielu-Mbielu-Mbielu is another lesser-known cryptid reported from the Likouala Region of the Republic of the Congo. The creature is described as semi-aquatic, herbivourous and most notably having planks covered in algae growing out of its back. Some cryptozoological investigators tentatively suggest that it could represent a relic population of Kentrosaurus (Stegosaur from the Late Jurassic of Africa). However, I would liken it to a large turtle (Ndenki are purported to be large turtles living in Likoula region lakes, as we shall see later). Unfortunately, only a few claimed sightings have been reported, at the villages of Bounila and Ebolo, so if it did exist in one point in time, it may possibly be extinct. All reports of Mbeilu Mbeilu Mbeilu along with other Likoula Mystery Beasts were collected by Dr. Roy P. Mackal during his expeditions to the region.

To which I replied with my own interpretations:

4)Mahamba is probably one of those oversized ALLIGATOR-faced crocodiles Heuvelmans spoke of in his first edition of On The Track of Unknown Animals. He had dropped the category later, but here is new evidence for it again.

5)Mbeilu-Mbeilu-Mbeilu turns out to be possibly a sort of a crocodile with an exaggeratedly jagged back-crest. Other analogous cases occur both within Africa and in other places. Another one is called Muhuru (ie, "The Muhuru Bay monster" In Lake Victoria)

Heuvelmans' older assessment of the Congo Dragons included the very large and very broad (and broad-snouted) form of crocodile, which he said at the time would be a gigantic form of the Dwarf crocodile. No doubt he gave up on the idea because it sounded too far-fetched. However, he seems to have been exactly correct in that assessment, because the supposedly-extinct "crocodilus robustus" (now Veola robustus) of Madagascar does indeed turn out to have been pretty much a "Giant dwarf crocodile" according to the Wikipedia entry on it. The robustus croc co-existed with the Nile crocodile on Madagascar and there is nothing really against the notioon of having a mainland population of V. robustus. There are also reports that it has survived in Madagascar (Heuvelmans mentions one reported to be 60 feet long) and in nearby Eastern Africa on the coast (Possibly Ivan Sanderson's Silwaane Manzi, which means we might have legitimate photos of it)

Reconstruction of the comparison "Crocodile-little, Lipata-BIG"

-Which Bernard Heuvelmans mentioned as being shown to Natives in making inquiries about that local version of the East African broadsnouted Megacroc.
Reference to this was in the older editions of On the Track of Unknown Animals, later editions have removed that information.

Best Wishes, Dale D.


  1. There is also the fossil "Giant horned Crocodile which LSB Leakey discovered at Olduvai gorge. I have not seen any illustrations of it, but the description is definitely close to this Veola robustus. It is called a species of 'Crocodylus' but it was also described before the genus Veola was recognised.

    Best Wishes, Dale D.

  2. Hi,

    Could Mahamba and lipala be descendants of Crocodylus anthropophagus ? Apart from the exaggerated size, their heads description match well.

  3. Certainly could be so. Best Wishes, Dale D.

  4. There is a controversy about C. anthrophagus and that has to do with where it sits on the crocodile family tree. It could very well turn out to be another "Giant Dwarf crocodile" of the sort I was talking about. I did not mention that part in the original article because it is another unsettled matter. But that is what I was referring to in the first footnote. An article on C. anthrophagus which illustrates the skull is at:

    Best Wishes, Dale D.

  5. Is it possible Mahamba could be a Sarchosuchus? I mean it was an almost 50 foot crocodilian that lived in africa?

    Best Wishes,

    Noah Eckenrode,

    Amateur Cryptozoologist

  6. Probably not, Sarcosuchus had an elongated snout and we are talking about "Alligator-faced" crocodiles. There were in fact several fossil species of crocodiles in that same size range, Sarcosuchus has just gotten better press more recently.

    And thanks for commenting, Noah, we had reached a dry spell at this blog last month, the increased activity is most welcome

    Best Wishes, Dale D.

    1. Your Welcome.

      Best Wishes,

      Noah Eckenrode,

      Amateur Cryptozoologist

  7. lol the picture "from the film" and the one below are the same just closer -.-

  8. Which means essentially nothing. The second one was INTENDED as a close-up view. And your point is...?


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