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Saturday, 8 June 2013

Longnecks are Reported to Chase Dolphins

Artwork adding dolphins to Longneck as depicted by Tim Morris (Pristichampsus on Deviant art)(lengthening the tail)

It is commonly suggested that some Sea-serpent sightings are due to small schools of porpoises being mistaken for one multi-humped animal. At other times it seems that a Sea-serpent is sighted in the midst of a larger shoal of dolphins or porpoises. While it does seem that mistakes have been made, that explanation is harder to believe in cases where a long neck is seen to emerge from the water and schools of dolphins "Flee in panic" to get away from the creature. Anton C. Oudemans specifically mentions three sightings with this characteristic in his book The Great Sea-serpent: Captain Brown's 1818 sighting  between the Faeroes and Iceland; Captain Sullivan and his officers in 1833 off of Nova Scotia, and Captain Christmas' sighting in approximately 1850 North of Ireland (His cases  56, 97 and 124 respectively.) Bernard Heuvelmans includes these reports in his Longneck category in his book  In the Wake of the Sea-serpents.

These reports always bothered me, because I knew that the dolphins or porpoises (or "grampuses") could not be natural prey for the Longneck: its mouth and throat are too small to swallow them. on top of that, I don't believe the Longnecks could even do great harm to the dolphins by merely biting them. While discussing the matter with fellow Cryptozoologists Jay Cooney and Matt Billie, Matt suggested that the dolphins could be merely riding on the Sea-serpent's bow wave, even as they ride the bow waves of ships and the big whales. After a little consideration, I did see that this was the most sensible explanation. The Longneck would not really be "Chasing" the cetaceans but the cetaceans were running ahead of the Longneck swimming at speed. The interpretation by the witnesses in saying the dolphins and porpoises were fearful and panicking would not necessarily be warranted.

I imagine such associations between Longnecks and porpoises or dolphins are much, much more common than they are either observed or reported.

File:Bottlenose Dolphin KSC04pd0178.jpg
Dolphins occasionally leap above the water surface, and sometimes perform acrobatic figures (for example, the spinner dolphin). Scientists are not certain about the purpose(s) of the acrobatics. Possibilities include locating schools of fish by looking at above-water signs like feeding birds, communicating with other dolphins, dislodging parasites or simple amusement.
Play is an important part of dolphin culture. Dolphins play with seaweed and play-fight with other dolphins. At times they harass other local creatures, like seabirds and turtles. Dolphins enjoy riding waves and frequently surf coastal swells and the bow waves of boats, at times “leaping” between the dual bow waves of a moving catamaran. Occasionally, they playfully interact with swimmers. Captive dolphins have been observed in aquariums engaging in complex play behavior which involves the creation and manipulation of bubble rings


  1. Great job illustrating the hypothesis Dale! I also think this makes perfect sense, and I'll be sharing it on my blog as soon as possible!

  2. I thought I should also point out, Longnecks do not ordinarily swim ahead at any speed with the neck up like that, they ordinarily swim with the neck down in the water or just emerging from it. When the periscope comes up, they are usually either stalled or moving ahead slowly. In these cases, the witnesses aren't usually even aware that the Longneck is even there until the neck comes up out of the water behind the leaping dolphins and then usually goes right down again.


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