“Dr. Livingston, I presume.” To many of us, this famous and familiar statement of renowned explorer Henry Stanley to missionary David Livingston rings true in our ears like a common nursery rhyme. What may surprise you, however, is that Stanley also brought to man’s attention the once fabled donkey-like creature known to us today as the Okapi. Though he never saw the animal, he wrote down what the Wambutti pygmies of the Congo region told him about it. Inspired two decades later by his writings, Sir Harry Johnston, governor of Uganda, set out to have it identified, and did so with resounding success. The elusive creature that was part mule, part giraffe, and possessed stripes like those of a zebra eventually came to be known as Okapia johnstoni.
In 1912, when naturalist P.A. Ouwens scientifically identified four of the mythical “giant lizards” that were said to inhabit the distant Indonesian island of Komodo, the once fabled Komodo dragon was born. This 300 lbs (135 kg) lizard was seemingly a living throw-back to the age of the dinosaurs. With a supposed ‘100-million-year history,’ it has only been known to science for less than a century.
November of 1976 brought a surprising discovery. Sporting an extremely large mouth, small eyes, and a round, bulbous head, the newly identified megamouth shark was an astounding freak of nature. More astounding, however, was the fact that it had eluded detection for so long. Surely, a creature which can grow to a size of 15-20 ft (5-6 m) could not escape man’s notice for such time, could it? Surely, it did just that.
Must we forget the Chacoan peccary (pig) that, though believed to have become extinct thousands of years ago, was discovered in Paraguay in 1975? Must we not remember the bumblebee-size bat inhabiting Thailand caves that eluded science until 1973? What of the coelacanth, a fish thought to have become extinct roughly 65 million years ago? When a specimen was caught by a fisherman in 1938, the scientific community was thrown for a loop.
Welcome, friend, to the world of cryptozoology.
Cryptozoology, in its simplest form, is the study of hidden animals. It is a joke to some, and a science to others. While only a small band of biologists, both from the evolution and creation perspectives, adhere to this study, it is alive and real, waiting for new discoveries.
Set aside, if you will, the idea of Nessie, the long-necked water monster (plesiosaur) of Loch Ness, Scotland. Put away, if you can, the thoughts of Mokele-mbembe, the long-necked land (and water) monster (apatosaur) of the Likouala Swamp, Africa. Cryptozoology, you must understand, is far more than these.
The underlying principle upon which cryptozoology stands is the acceptance that man has not yet conquered nature. We are still, after all these years, learning about this marvelous planet that God in his infinite wisdom created in six days. And while it doesn’t take a creationist to be a cryptozoologist, such a perspective better allows for “million-year-old” animals to still be alive in their virtually unchanged state.
The Ocean: The True Final Frontier
Covering 71 percent of the earth's entire surface, or about 140 million sq mi (360 million sq km), the ocean spreads like a colossal, incomprehensible blanket. It is a blanket that man dreams of unraveling, and a place that has long lay shrouded in a cloud of mystery, intrigue, discovery, and fascination. The land beneath the sea is far grander than that above, with ranges of mountains that are longer and wider than any mountain ranges on land. In the Pacific Ocean alone there lies valleys so deep that Mount Everest, the highest mountain on land, would easily fit with more than a mile of water above to spare. 80 percent of all life on earth is found under the ocean surface, and it contains some 95 percent of habitat space on the planet. At this time, man has identified over 275,000 ocean species, and this number continues to grow.
Biblically speaking, it is the promised land of cryptozoology.
Aside from finding carcasses washed ashore our beaches and lengthy tentacles found in the stomachs of sperm whales, man would not know of the giant squid. Why? Because we don’t see them. Only till recently were living specimens (babies) captured for the first time by Zoologist Steve O'Shea and his team at New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research. The babies they managed to collect, however, all died before reaching port. O’Shea believes that these giants live in the deep ocean from around 600-1,800 ft (180-550 m), a depth that man is not frequent to travel.
Strap Tooth Whale
Aside from finding them washed ashore our beaches, man would not know of the strap tooth whale. Why? Because they’re not seen. Sightings have been reported, but these shy and elusive whales have yet to be photographed in the wild to prove it. As Anton van Helden puts it, Marine Mammals Manager at Te Papa in New Zealand, “As far as large mammals go, they're the great mystery whales.” Their behavior is unknown, their longevity is unknown, and their population is unknown.
As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald (6-13-02), mysterious whale-like noises are baffling scientists; noises far more powerful than the calls made by any creature known on earth. Nicknamed “Bloop,” it has been detected by sensors up to about 2,980 mi (4,800 km) apart, New Scientist magazine reported. The significance? It must be louder than any recognized animal noise, including that produced by the largest whales. What, then, could it be? Although some have speculated that they are the calls of giant squid, Phil Lobel, a marine biologist at Boston University in Massachusetts, doubts it. "Cephalopods have no gas-filled sac, so they have no way to make that type of noise," he said.
The Land: Yet Another Final Frontier
While the ocean may be the “promised land” of cryptozoology, mankind also has yet to conquer his own domain. In 2001, a survey of a 123,500 acre (150,000 hectare) area in the Ecuadoran Amazon revealed a "virgin forest" never before seen by humans with new species of fish and beetles. Some 73 species of mammals were also observed, including endangered animals such as the giant armadillo and anteater. The Amazon, among many other places on this planet, is ripe place for cryptozoology.
Animals Where They Shouldn’t Be
Before taking a look at some newly discovered land animals, let’s briefly visit two areas where some startling discoveries were made of already identified animals . . . in the wrong places.
Jaguars In Arizona?
Thanks to a motion-activated camera set out in southern Arizona near the United States-Mexico border, game officials are now pretty certain that jaguars are visitors to the state. In fact, they may even live there. A photo taken in December of 2001 clearly shows a young male weighing about 175 lbs (80 kg). One of the biggest cats in the Western Hemisphere, the jaguar once covered virtually all of Latin America.
Crocodiles In Northwest Africa?
They’ve never been seen outside the Sahara; until now. A 29-year-old Ph.D student at the University of Ulster in Coleraine recently discovered shy cave-dwelling crocodiles, a phenomenon never before imagined. Why? The remote region of Mauritania where they were found is a place of arid and unpredictable weather, yet somehow these reptiles have been able to survive by living in burrows and caves throughout the dry season.
Lowe's servaline genet
It was only known from a single skin found in 1932, but now the Lowe’s servaline genet is a living reality. It wasn’t caught, nor was it even filmed. A single photograph recently taken by a team from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) confirmed the survival of the creature, a mongoose-like African predator that is probably nocturnal and tree dwelling. Amazingly, that’s pretty much all that is known about it.
Two New Monkey Species Discovered
Making headlines in June of this year was the discovery of two new species of titi monkey in Brazil's Amazon rain forest. One of the species found, Prince Bernhard's titi monkey, has extraordinary dark orange sideburns, chest and inner sides of its limbs, along with a reddish-brown back and a white-tipped black tail. Says Russell Mittermeier, president of Conservation International, “we are once again surprised by the discovery of even more species."
Why share this information? What importance does it hold? Here are four truths I have established.
New aquatic animals are still being discovered
New land animals are still being discovered
Animals thought to be extinct are being discovered
Animals are still being discovered in the “wrong” places
Therefore, I have effectively established the reality that cryptozoology, the study of hidden animals, is nothing less than a science.
Now that cryptozoology has been authenticated, let me ask a few questions.
If the megamouth shark, giant squid, and coelacanth have been able to elude man’s detection, who’s to say that a plesiosaur, the classic long-necked marine reptile of “prehistoric times,” could still not be out there eluding our detection to this very day? “Because the plesiosaur went extinct millions of years ago,” says the evolutionary skeptic. “Of course,” I reply by means of their reasoning. “And so did the coelacanth.”
Perhaps, just maybe, they didn’t live millions of years ago.
If the okapi, komodo dragon, and Chacoan peccary have been able to elude man’s detection, who’s to say that an apatosaur, the classic long-necked dinosaur of “prehistoric times,” could not still be out there eluding man’s detection to this very day? “Because the apatosaur went extinct millions of years ago,” says the evolutionary skeptic. “Of course,” I reply by means of their reasoning. “And so did the Chacoan peccary.”
Perhaps, just maybe, they didn’t live millions of years ago.
I’ll admit it. I am a believer in Nessie, the long-necked water monster of Loch Ness, Scotland. I’ll admit it. I am a believer in Mokele-mbembe, the long-necked land (and water) monster of the Likouala Swamp, Africa. Why? Because I believe in cryptozoology. But most of all, I believe in creation. You see, the creation model better allows for “living fossils,” animals alive today that, according to evolutionary thinking, appeared in the fossil record “hundreds of millions of years ago.” Aside from the creatures I have already shared, the great white shark, nine-banded armadillo, crocodile, tuatara, sturgeon and horseshoe crab are just a few others. These are animals that have remained virtually unchanged from their ancestors. In other words, they are “unevolutionized.” And in order to convince someone of the reality of living dinosaurs (or marine reptiles), and from there use this information as a powerful tool in support of creation, the truths I have shared must be established.
To the evolutionist: I do not intend to use this information as proof, only support. The more support we can establish from all facets of life, including cryptozoology, the more the puzzle of our past comes together, and reveals the true picture.
To the creationist: If you endeavor to use this information in debate, make sure you follow the logical sequence. Don't jump to, say, "point 5," without first dealing with the first 4 points.
To the cryptozoologist: If using this information in a discussion or debate, you must establish, as I have done, that cryptozoology, the study of hidden animals, is a fact, not just speculation. Refer to the animals recently discovered in this article, and from there move to the more "hard-to-swallow" cryptids, such as Nessie and Mokele-mbembe.
1. The Discovery, <http://cosmic.swau.edu/~cstorz/discovery.html>, 20 October 2002.
2. Mysterious Creatures, Time-Life Books, Alexandria, Virginia, pp. 20-21.
3. Sandiegozoo.com, <www.sandiegozoo.org/wildideas/kids/got_questions_peccary.html>, 21 October 2002.
4. Ref. 2.
5. Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 2001 Standard (CD), article: ‘ocean and oceanography’.
6. Facts & Figures, <www.ocean98.org/fact.htm>, 20 October 2002.
7. Discovery.com, <http://dsc.discovery.com/convergence/giantsquid/feature/feature.html>, 21 October 2002.
8. FS Crypto Corner, <www.100megsfree4.com/farshores/cwhale2.htm>, (first reported 9 April 2001).
9. The Sydney Morning Herald, <www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/06/13/1023864317688.html>, (reported 13 June 2002).
10. Ref. 8, <www.100megsfree4.com/farshores/cspecies.htm>, (first reported 11 November 2001).
11. Sierraclub.org, <http://arizona.sierraclub.org/paloverde/jaguar.html>, (reported 4 February 2002).
12. The Telegraph, <http://www.portal.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2002/04/13/wcroc13.xml
&sSheet=/news/2002/04/13/ixworld.html>, 21 October 2002.
13. Nationalgeographic.com, <http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/06/0620_020620_genet.html>, (reported 20 June 2002).
14. Science Daily, <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/06/020625063029.htm>, (posted 26 June 2002).
15. Enature.com, <http://www.enature.com/fieldguide/livingfossils/living_fossils_home.asp>, 22 October 2002.