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Thursday, 22 November 2012

Paul LeBlond Sea Monsters

I found this on a photo search yesterday and I found it EXTREMELY interesting.

Identifying the Unidentifiable

July 27, 2012
The three types of unidentified sea creatures described by Dr. Paul LeBlond. (Linda Godfrey)

Ancient myths paint unknown sea creatures as true monsters, or beings that combine characteristics of different species and that may possess supernatural powers. But the modern view of sea“monsters” is usually that they are unknown, natural animals. But what kind of animal are they? Reptile? Amphibian? Mammal? Some researchers have analyzed as many eyewitness accounts as possible and created models that most closely match all these descriptions.

The task itself is monstrous, given the many stories reported over the years by hundreds of people in all types of weather and light conditions, from varied distances and points of view. Creatures that resemble giant whales, squid, or other known ocean dwellers demand separate categories. And those that most closely fit the public’s mental image of sea monsters have been described with many combinations of long necks, “humps,” flippers, headsranging from turtle-like to horse-like, lengths from 20 to over 100 feet, and skin both scaled and smooth. Yet most classifiers have managed to boil them down into some basic subtypes.

In 1963 French zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans wrote a classic book, In the Wake of the Sea Serpents, that attempted to place sightings from around the world into nine categories: long-necked, merhorse, many humped, super-otters, many-finned, super-eels, marine saurians, yellow- bellies, and fathers-of-all-the-turtles. While it is now alleged that Heuvelmans skewed data to fit his own ideas in some cases, he is still known as the “father of cryptozoology” for his pioneering work on unknown species.

Inspired partly by Heuvelman’s work, scientists Dr. Paul H. LeBlond of the University of British Columbia’s Institute of Oceanography and Dr. John Sibert looked at reports of large, unknown creatures inhabiting the waters of British Columbia and found three subtypes that sound much like sea monsters reported around the world. These were repeated in a 1980 book by biologist and author Roy P. Mackal, who cautioned that the three categories may not represent separate species and in fact might simply show differences between male and female:
1. A creature with large eyes set laterally on a horse- or camel-shaped head mounted at the end of a long neck. This animal is a fast swimmer, has short, dark-brown fur and no mane. It is probably a mammal and may be related to seals.
2. An animal similar to the first type but with small eyes, sometimes described with horns or mane. Both types are not only fast, but also smooth swimmers, submerging vertically as if pulled under.
3. A long, serpentine animal, showing loops of its body above water and swimming fast, with much thrashing. Its head is described as sheeplike with small eyes, and it has a dorsal fin running along part of its back.

I can identify each of these creatures quite easily but they do not ordinarily come so assorted. Usually the more normal animal-shaped creatures 1 or 2 are also trailing a lenth of tail or wake which gives the appearance of number 3. In fact the sheeplike head of number 3 is comparable to number 1 or 2. In assorting these categories out, 1 and 2 are fairly small animals although they can be reported as being larger (again, according to how long of a "Tail" they are trailing.) 1 and 2 are obviously the same sort of creature and they can be characterised as "Plain" #1 and "Fancy"#2, with the latter embellished by mane or beard, horns or floppy ears.
But here is another view for clarification:

Hunting sea beasts


2012-06-23T07:00:00Z2012-06-26T08:26:41ZHunting sea beastsDaniel Simmons-Ritchie, The WorldThe World
June 23, 2012 7:00 am

COOS BAY — My editor called me insane.
“I need money,” I said. “I need a boat.”
My editor, as a broad rule, does not believe in sea monsters. Even those, like the Cadborosaurus, that have been seen by over 300 seafarers.
If I’m insane, I argued to my editor on a Friday afternoon in The World office, then I must be in good company.
No more than 60 years ago, a fishing crew watched an unknown creature approach their ship off Cape Arago.
If those men were insane, so too perhaps were the fishermen who recorded a humped beast in Alaskan waters in 2009. Footage later appeared on the Discovery Channel.
If we are insane, then our ringleader must be Paul LeBlond, an emeritus professor from the University of British Columbia. For 50 years, LeBlond has collated hundreds of monster sightings.
Commonly described as a “horse-headed megaserpent,” the creature has all the hallmarks of the Loch Ness Monster. In the Pacific Northwest, experts know the beast by a different name: The Cadborosaurus.
Skeptical? LeBlond asks doubters to read about the Cadborosaurus before brushing it aside.
“This isn’t like UFOs that are a stretch of the imagination,” LeBlond said. “This is a zoological possibility. There are still animals being discovered in the ocean.”
In the interest of pushing the zoological frontier, I wanted to charter a boat in search of the Cadborosaurus. My dream was to be the first man to lay claim to the brute.
It was the hunt for the leviathan.
I set sail from Charleston Marina on the 14th of June with a five-man crew, pressed between 15-knot winds and the allure of the unknown.
The odds were against us. While the Cadborosaurus is sighted from California to Alaska, it has been more than 50 years since one was spied off Cape Arago.
Among experts, British Columbia is known as ground zero for Cadborosaurus sightings. In the 1930s, the beast was named after its frequent sightings in Cadboro Bay, Vancouver Island.
But even in the heart of “Caddie” country, the serpent is elusive. Despite several expeditions, LeBlond has never seen one in real life. In late May, a National Geographic film crew at his side, the Canadian made another unsuccessful search.
LeBlond didn’t rate the chances of my own expedition.
“You would basically keep your eyes open and go to sea without a strong expectation of seeing anything, because the creature is rarely seen,” he said.
But he offered some advice: Keep your camera ready. Too many photo opportunities have been missed by distracted observers.
“They stand there ogling the creature and forget about their camera,” he said. “One good photo is worth a lot of eyewitness observations.”
My crew was up for the challenge. Although my editor was absent, I had a World photographer at my side.
I also had Mel Campbell of the Wild Women of Charleston. When Campbell heard of The World’s expedition, she insisted on joining.
“I just have this feeling, a good feeling that today is the day. Don’t you?” said Campbell, as our boat churned through the brackish water of the Charleston channel.
And, unlike LeBlond, I had the eagle eyes of Margie Whitmer, the owner of Betty Kay Charters.
Fate had brought me to Whitmer, a red-haired woman with a warm, motherly charm. When I first called, she not only agreed to reserve me her 47-foot boat; she also told me, unexpectedly, that her father had sighted a Cadborosaurus off the coast of Washington.
Margie recounted the story: It was 1956. Whitmer’s father was salmon fishing with four friends on a foggy day in Neah Bay. A creature appeared, which he described as “long, dark, bigger than a boat.”
“He said, ‘I’m never going out again in an open boat, a small boat, for salmon,’” Whitmer said. “It scared him that much.”
I asked whether her father might have been joking.
Whitmer shook her head.
“He was just very serious, to the point that you know he was rattled,” she said. “And he was a big strong man and nothing could disturb him. But that sure did.”
After 30 minutes, we reached open water. We were alone now, two miles from land, a crouton in a teal soup.
Our boat churned toward Cape Arago lighthouse, our eyes probing the horizon.
An hour passed and our hopes began to fray. No necks. No humps. No fins.
Compounding matters, seasickness began to take hold of me. I could barely hold my harpoon.
We charted a course homeward.
As our boat pulled into the marina, a sea lion lazed on the pier. In a search built on hearsay and dreams, its flesh, so blubbery and tangible, taunted me.
Be it Cadboro Bay or Loch Ness, few monsters appear to those who search for them. Most witnesses, like Whitmer’s father, stumble on the beast by accident.
Sadly, those sightings are never enough for the insatiable appetite of the scientific record.
Jan Hodder, a Charleston-based marine biologist from Oregon State University, says while little is known about many deep sea creatures, those closer to shore are well-documented.
“Just think of how many people are on the ocean all the time,” she said.
A British paleontologist, Darren Naish, is less polite. He says Cadborosaurus mavens, like Paul LeBlond, have created a composite creature based on body parts from different sightings.
“Accounts used to support the reality of ‘Cadborosaurus’ likely represent a hodge-podge of seal and deer sightings, as well as sightings of other animals and phenomena,” Naish wrote in his blog for Scientific American.
These comments are fuel to the fire of unbelief. While I remain empty-handed today, I am cheered by a 1933 editorial in the Victoria Daily Times by Archie Willis, an editor more imaginative than my own.
“Any fool can disbelieve in sea serpents,” he wrote.
Reporter Daniel Simmons-Ritchie can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 249, or at

Basically you have a situation with sightings assumed to be in the shape of the newspaper article's sketch. Creatures with necks 3-6 feet long need to be separated out from the more definitely Longnecked category of creatures reported with necks 6-12 feet long (and perhaps twice that actually.) and a body length of 10-20 feet long to go with the shorter-necked category but 20-40 feet to go along with the longer necks 12 feet long or so. (That is, the LongNecked creatures are up to 30-50 feet long total, length of neck assumed about 1/3 to 1/4 of total length, and shoter-necked creatures in the range of 10-20 feet long total with a head like that of a horse or camel reported on both categories, only a neck reported as half as long in the smaller category. The larger sized longer necked category now matches with Tim Dinsdale's Reconstruction of the Loch Ness Monster in its basic measurements and proportions.)

We can now return to LeBlonde's creatures listed above.
His long bodied creature is clearly the same as "THE GREAT SEA SERPENT" Otherwise reported World-wide in all bodies of water, freshwater and saltwater, and described in similar terms all over. It is also illustrated as the tail section of the newspaper article's monster sketch

The two kinds of animals identified by LeBlond and pictured at the top of this article are the bull and cow moose, and type 2 is indeed the "Adorned"version with more abundant mane and horns (antlers) but still within the same species, as the original document has stated. a big bull moose can   be as much as over 15-16 feet longtip of snout to tip of tail.  Those estimates of 20 feet long overall were really quite close

Swimming Cow Moose and Calf

Swimming Bull Moose

Pristichampsus version of Bernard Heuvelmans' Merhorse
From Deviant art and presuming the "Horns or fins" seen on top of the head along with the mane
are actually ears (darkened here) and that the tail is short (Shortened here). The "Beard" corresponds to the "Bell" and overall this is a good match for the proportions of a swimming moose. therer is even the distinct impression that the rear foot has a cloven hoof, but that is probably coincidental. Once again, the lowst sizes of 15-20 feet (often reported as 30 feet long, the minimum specified by Heuvelmans but the maximum specified by Costello) are also a very good estimate for the
 actual size of a large moose when seen swimming in the water.

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