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Saturday, 8 June 2013

Update on Sea Giraffes

From the mailbag:

Good evening Mr Drinnon,
Always had an interest in Cryptozoology (via my love of the 'Fortean Times' magazine and Mr Karl Shuker), Your website is always educating, interesting,and intriguing,

As with all these crypto subjects I'd like tell you a story about a friend of mine (yes I know)! My friend (he's dead now) was called David Brian Plummer, (he's quite famous in the UK as he bred/devised The Plummer Terrier) He had the (in)famous fact that his books on dogs are the most stolen from British Libraries, Anyway, he used to live in Caithness, NE Scotland. He had a boat and he used to fish for Pollack (a Cod type fish) off the Orkney Isles. He told me (swore on the Bible etc) that he saw a Sea Monster (Plesiosaur type) he said it was marked like a Giraffe? and he said they were often spotted (witnessed, poor choice of words) between the Orkney and Shetland Isles.
He was honest and I believed him!

Thanks for your website
  John Hay

"Hutchinson's Sea-Serpent, 1818"-seen off of the Orkney Islands. Neck is approx. 18 feet high.
 (Should be the reddish-brown colour of Kelp: this is another "sea-giraffe" report)
 Painting by Glen Vaudrey after Hutchinson's original sketch

Below, going from North to South and top downwards, Shetlands, Orkneys and Scotland.
(The Moray Firth is at the "Cleft" in Scotland and Loch Ness is inland of that)

(Map is from Wikipedia)

 The Corinthian 1918 "Sea-Giraffe" report also specifies that the creature was Plesiosaur-shaped, and the witnesses believed it to be a Plesiosaur.It was seen off of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland.
Original Newspaper account for the SS Corinthian "Sea-Giraffe"
Corinthian SS as Retold in Coleman/Huyghe Field Guide

Please note that the manes in such cases (which come from both sides of the Atlantic and both sides of North America) are of the short and "Clipped", upright mane type and not loose and flowing manes. That is part of the "Giraffe-like" description and goes along with the common description as "(Continuous) fins along the spine"
In this series of reports the head and neck are usually given as twenty feet long and the whole length about sixty feet. Both estimates could be somewhat exaggerated. This is the same size range as the Daedalus Sea-serpent (which also had an inconspicuous kelp-coloured  mane) The proportions of the head and arrangement of the facial features are as specified in the reports. The Corinthian SS report also described log fins or ears that seem to be extra streamers of the mane at the back of the head.

The Corinthian "Sea-Giraffe", from Heuvelmans

[A separate discussion on this blog mentions that the "Whiskers" reported in the Corinthian case seem to be the same material as the mane and seemed to be lying crosswise in the mouth, not growing out of the snout as normal whiskers. This would be one in a series of reports that seem to say that male Longnecks engage in non-lethal fighting by attacking each other's manes instead of more vital parts. Another US-coastal report which described aggression against the witnesses in a rowboat also said that the creature was spitting a similar sort of material out of its mouth at the time]

Most Longneck reports specify uneven colouration with lighter and darker spots, but the more extreme "Giraffe-spotted" pattern is a minority. It is not only a local variation, though, it happens at low frequencies world-wide.

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