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Thursday, 5 December 2013

Another Long Necked Seal

Jay Cooney put this picture up as his avatar on Facebook. I immediately wanted to know more about it and asked hin, which became a general discussion a sort time later
Dale Drinnon: Well, in case the question should arise, this would be a pretty good representation of the longnecked sea lion, but a female. Where did you find it? Scott-You did this?

Scott Mardis: I got it on the internet somewhere. I don't know who the artist is. I gave it to Gina and she posted it. Dale Drinnon That's a shame, I'd like to think it represented an actual sighting I'll post it on my blog and give you credit for finding it, that should smooth over a few things.

Scott Mardis There was a similar encounter reported by some navy man during the original Patagonian Plesiosaur flap 1922. He said it was sitting on ice, then jumped in the water. Somewhere at sea off Patagonia.

Dale Drinnon Yes I know the story, I had that already from the Patagonian Monsters site: it was at sea, and further South at the Straits of Magellan I think. Heuvelmans includes the sighting on his list but includes no details about it. Evidently he did not really know about the sighting or he would have made more of a fuss over it

Scott Mardis It's in the New York Times 1922.Probably March-April 1922. Don't know off the top of my head. Dale, if I remember right the eyewitness' last name was Bevilaqua. It's in Costello's book, too.

Dale Drinnon: I checked and Costello speaks of two sightings in these waters: the one in the New York Times was made by Bevilaqua but it was a Plesiosaur-shaped animal with the neck estimated as 30 feet long (Which Costello thought was an exaggeration) it did not jump off an iceberg, but it was frightened into view when a boulder fell into the sea on the coast. The one that Heuvelmans mentioned was seen by the Rhone and it only had a neck five feet long: it could well have been a creature like this one but this illustration has no connection to that sighting (Wholly in the water for the length of the sighting) Costello mentions both sightings, but he mentions nothing like this picture, which is almost certainly from that same general area

Above, Longnecked Seal image compared to 1919 Hoy Island SS sighgting (Periscope profile in red overlay) and to the left, the Periscope sighting at Loch Alsh, cited by the Hoy witness J Mackintosh Bell as being most like his sighting. Below, illustrations from Heuvelmans' book including my overlay of the Hoy SS and his reconstructed Longneck to help illustrate the difference in the lengths f the neck in either case. I consider the illustration featured here to be a much more plausible representation for a Longnecked seal than Heuvelmans' version, which has several mechanical problems associated with the depicted anatomy, and in the neck in particular. The larger creature's neck is probably twice the length of the neck of the smaller creature, relative to the size of the head (Which is the part most witnesses could compare)

I later found out that the source for the illustration was:

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