Friday, May 29, 2009

Sea Serpents

On September 18, Katie phoned me from the paper to report that the skeleton of a "sea monster" had washed up on the beach at Parker's Cove (see area map; mistakenly labelled as "Hillsburn" on the map due to MapQuest database error).

As I had a car repair appointment in Parker's Cove anyway, I immediately set off. The words "sea monster" immediately aroused the suspicion that this was going to turn out to be a Basking Shark carcass, but it might also have been a Right Whale which would have been very tragic. In fact, one glance confirmed that it was a Basking Shark in a very advanced stage of decomposition.

Now is the time, if you have a strong stomach, to view a photo of the carcass. You will immediately note from the man in the background that this was a large animal (about 8 meters in length). Before going further, we should also note that such carcasses are responsible for all the mediaeval drawings of sea monsters, and hence for all the subsequent myths about plesiosaurs, cadmosaurus, the Loch Ness monster and so on.

While I was examining the carcass, I was interviewed by a reporter from the Halifax Chronicle Herald, and a team from ATV television news. I told them what it was and why. That night, the Herald printed a photo and an accurate article, quoting me and confirming my identification by checking with biologists at Acadia university and Fisheries Canada. Good journalism! The television station chose to show an interview with a local yokel who was baffled by the discovery ("I sure ain't never seen nothin like this before") and claimed that it was "a mystery". Hmmmm.

Well guess what? Within a few hours of the discovery, a local crackpot turned up and identified the carcass as "a 4000 year old prehistoric sea monster", which had been swimming around 12 hours before". It received a name, "Parky", and a society of "Parky" enthusiasts formed. Within 48 hours of the discovery, a whole body of biological "facts" had been created (such as "Parky could stay underwater for more than 12 hours because of his specialised lungs") including an artist's conception of what it looked like in life (bearing a remarkable resemblance to Barney the Dinosaur). The Granville Times -Volume 5, October 2002

"The furore surrounding the Parkers Cove beast, Parkie, a phenomenon which always seems to follow the sightings of these ‘monsters’, resulted in Canadian universities and scientists being accused of not showing any interest in this potentially earth-shattering find—most universities simply dismissed this find as a basking shark without any further analysis. However, Professor Herman and his colleague Dr Don Stewart from Acadia University, Nova Scotia, volunteered to carry out DNA analysis on a tissue sample from Parkie.".....

A preliminary report on this carcass was posted on the web,2 but it did not properly address all the issues and contained many errors. We therefore decided to do a thorough study of Parkie, especially since this carcass showed an uncanny resemblance to the creature known as the Zuiyo-maru carcass (ZMC) which was hauled up by a Japanese fishing boat (the Zuiyo-maru) off the New Zealand coastline in 1977

Old Ned: The Fundy Sea Serpent

Book of Dragons by Dr. Ernest Drake

Publisher's Note on inside cover:

wiki on Dragonology:_The_Complete_Book_of_Dragons:

The book is presented as faux nonfiction and is written in a pseudo-scholarly style, with nineteenth century author, dragonologist "Dr. Ernest Drake" purporting to have written the material. The subject matters is dragons; where to find them, information about different species, how to work with them and several tactile "samples" of dragon material, including their wings, scales and skin. Also included in the book is a sealed envelope enclosing "dragon-calling spells," dragon riddles, a letter from "Dr. Drake," a number of illustrations, mostly in color, detailing dragons and their anatomy, and a foldout map showing dragon locations throughout the world.
St. George of Cappadocia

Great Post here :
Jonah in a symbolic maze/labyrinth

1 comment:

ViølatoR said...

Hi, was doing some catching up and noticed you mention sea-beasts and even basking sharks - which came up in my recent post, synchro minds think alike! Also, aferrismoon had a recent article that also snyched with me; who says telepathy isnt real?! :D