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Thursday, 13 September 2012

Faux-Alligator Tracks

Faux-Alligator or Giant Lizard, from Turn-of-the-20th-Century necklace for sale on Ebay

The woman who gave me the sketches of the "Monster Lizard" tracks last time also pointed out to me that similar tracks were represented on the internet, mistakenly identified as alligator tracks. While there is a small area of overlap between the actual alligators and the faux-alligators in the Arkansas-Northern Louisiana area, the faux-Alligator Water Monsters are seen from the Mississippi westwards, including some desert territories and not at all where you would expect to find regular alligators. A Folklore map printed by LIFE magazine in the 1950s identified these creatures as "Water Monsters" but gave no more identifying characteristics. From the information at hand, I take these to be the Whangdoodles and Gowrows of the Ozarks area, and possibly some old books would so identify these tracks. The main outstanding characteristic of such reports we have (and the corresponding artwork) is that the creatures have a row of spines down the middle of the back exactly like the row of spines belonging to the large male iguana lizards and these creatures are otherwise stated to look like big iguanas generally
ProTrails trcking reference for Alligator tracks: note that the individual back foot prints are indicated as being ten inches long. This is a "Dinosaur" trackway cited as representing an ordinary alligator trail from a work dealing with animal tracks and referenced on the internet.individual tracks look nothing like the actual Alligator trackway shown below (the trackway in the photo is running to the bottom of the page in the opposite direction of the trackway in the sketch, but the difference in the tracks should be reaily apparent)

Such "Dinosaur" trackways are allegedly associatted with the Chan in Mexico and then the "Dinosaurs" (up to including "Diplodocus") in Northwestern South America (Eastern front of the Andes down as far as Bolivia), but I find no such definite illustrations or photographs of them. The three-toed tracks are on the other hand well-attested. Note tail drag marks

The woman informant pointed out specifically that the Make-a-Wish foundation of Texas was using the pattern of the WRONG "Faux-alligator" tracks in one of the projects featured prominently on internet bulletins: the illustrated track has the characteristics of the "Monster" tracks and NOT regular alligator tracks, except that these patterns have four toes (the source originally had five toes, if the links provided below it are indeed the sources that were used, which seems likely.)

Make-A-Wish 7000th Wish and How You Can Help
Help Zander in his quest to find an alligator and the Make-A-Wish Foundation with its 7,000 wish fulfillment. Seven year old Zander, who has Tuberous Sclerosis wished to become a zookeeper. On May 12th, his wish was granted and he was named an Honorary Zookeeper. Shortly after, he received urgent news that an alligator was found on the loose in Dallas.
Zander’s first task as Zookeeper is to track down the alligator, but he needs your help. From now until May 25th, download and print the gator tracks from the Make-A-Wish website. Cut them out and put them around your house, your place of work, your school, or in a public place. Then take photos and add them to the Make a Wish North Texas Facebook page. Don’t forget to write something and tag the Facebook page so Zander can find the alligator and bring him to his new home at the Dallas Zoo. For example, “Hi Zander and @Make-A-Wish North Texas – I was out at the park today and found these alligator tracks!
Be sure to like the Facebook page so your message will show up. Plus when you do, supplies that Zander needs to track the gator will open up. And Zander will need all the help he can get because on May 26th, he’ll get a very important note from former President George W. Bush. Zander will learn that suspicious gator tracks were found at the presidential library construction site. The live scavenger hunt will begin!
Everyone is invited to join Zander, enjoy music, food and entertainment in Downtown Dallas on May 26th for the live 7000th Wish Party:
  • Visit the sign station and make signs to greet Zander upon his arrival
  • Interact with animals from the Dallas Zoo
  • Be an active part of a wish – participate in Zander’s rescue of the alligator and help send-off the two for a fun filled day at the Dallas Zoo.
The Wish Watch Party will be held at the Omni Dallas Hotel from 9:30 am – 11:30 am. For more information about the live events contact the Make-A-Wish North Texas office at (214) 496-9474.

About the Make-A-Wish Foundation – Founded in 1980, the foundation has assisted children with life-threatening medical conditions create hope and joy by granting wishes with the help of volunteers and donors.

There is still a continuing series of faux-alligator sightings reported as "Water Monsters" and "Errant crocodilians" in Arizona and particularly in the sources of the Colorado River, the track templates used in the Texas Make-a-Wish project seem to have been provided from the service below (links for forefoot and hindfoot stencils):
And the reference illustration below, and other ones like it seem to be the source. This is a reference drawing published in several government publications abnd still circulating around the internet: one source is indicated by the link accompanyting the illustration here.

Once again, real alligator tracks look nothing like that, real alligator feet have four toes and not five, the heels on the back prints are narrower and more pointed, and the five-toed footprints even show more joints on both the fore and rear footprints th would have. Genuine Alligator tracks shown below.Somehow, the original illustrator had gotten hold of drawings of the unknown alligatorlike monster (whose tracks match these, except they are not webbed) ands as if they were regular alligator tracks. These are also not crocodile tracks, which are also more like the alligator tracks.

 This map shows the drastically different climate zone we are talking about which easily differentiates between the two different large reptiles.

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