Saturday 19 July 2014

Maybe Not So Faux Alligators After All

I had at one point mentioned that water monster depictions had a distinctive subcategory that showed creatures with a row of spines down the middle of the back. In one of my earlier postings to an article posted to the CFZ, I said "The spiny-backed creature comes from further South. It is possible that originated in stories about alligators after all"
And later I reclassified the representations into the "Faux-Alligator" more general category.

From the masks of the "Water Monster" actors in the old ethnographic illustration above, I would think that Alligators are indeed back in the running as possible culprits in such sightings and traditions. This does mean that records in the category might run all the way out into California.

Below are a couple of "Missepeshu" representations from farther North and possibly representing an alligator's jagged back on a different sort of Water-Monster:

And this is another Alligator like creature depicted in Pueblo pottery which appears to have large squarish armour plates (Osteoderms) on its back. The armour is typical of Crocodylians.

Peabody Number: 36-131-10/8060
Display Title: Zooomorphic black on white potsherd–animal form
Inventory Description: Ceramic, zoomorphic figurine, with tail, opened mouth, two feet, black painted design on back and sides
Classification: Figurine
Department: Archaeological
Culture/Period: Pueblo
Geography/Provenience: North America/United States/Arizona/Navajo County/Hopi Reservation/Antelope Mesa/Awatovi
Intrasite: Test 14
Geo-Locale: Antelope Mesa
Materials: Ceramic Pigment
Provenance: Dr. John Otis Brew (1936)
Provenance: Peabody Museum Expedition (1936)

There is also the side issue that some of the traditions and representations of a "Horned Alligator" found in the Mississippi valley could be a new unrecognized species and likely a visitor from the sea. Common estimates of the size of the creatures in such sightings run up to 50-60 feet long, and sometimes even more, and they are sometimes called "Dinosaurs." People that talk about the "White River Monster" (in Arkansas) sometimes mention reports in this category, although they are usually stated as being in the Mississippi River.

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