Friday, January 13, 2006

Fred, Wilma, Pebbles... and DINO???

Being more skeptical in nature than Ken, perhaps I should have waited (however long in light years that wait might have been) to let him take a crack at this post, but I think it warms his heart whenever one of my posts actually fits into his original vision and theme of The Realm. Furthermore, nothing's preventing the big fella from drafting a far more reasoned and eloquent post on the same topic OR editing this post [hint, hint] and including additional pertinent information.
[Enter mysterious, low, dark music] Deep within the heart of the Congo in Africa, in vast jungles unexplored and unsullied by modern man, stories told by natives describe a creature (creatures, actually), a monster, that inhabits the nearby swamps and lakes. This giant reptilian creature is known to them as: the Mokele M'bembe. According to accounts from various indigenous tribes located around the Congo's Lake Tele... the behemoths grow to an average of over thirty feet in height, have extended snake-like necks and heads, defend their territory with a fatal vengeance from the likes of hippos, crocodiles, and man even though dieting only on molombo plants in the region, and are armed with massive tails twice the length of their bodies. Since the 1700s to the present, explorers to the region that have communicated with the natives by showing and testing them on pictures of animals, reptiles, and birds -- both present and absent from the Congo area -- and have come to the shocking conclusion that the creature that most fits the description that the natives portray is none other than a sauropod dinosaur. [dramatic musical spike 'da-dunnnnh']

The above account that I've illustrated , I believe, represents the cryptozoological viewpoint on the Mokele M'bembe. Here, I'll link Wikipedia for a little more information, and if you Google on Mokele M'bembe, something close, or cryptozoology, I'm sure you'll find no lack of sites where you can read about this legendary creature.

Many (and perhaps most, I'm not sure) mainstream scientists either remain unconvinced of or downright deny the creature's existence. Most concur with the geological age timeline and do not believe man and dinosaur ever existed together -- sorry Flintstones' fans. Creation science proponents, on the other hand, are enthusiastic over the notion of a living dinosaur, and they desire to use the existence of the creature to further their claim that modern science and the "myth" of evolutionary theory are filled with fallacies, inaccurate dating methodology, and mostly in what mainstream science represents as fact. Cryptozoologists, for the most part, believe the reptiles' existence to be extremely likely. [They also, in light of many, many eyewitness accounts and other data, believe pterosaurs, that is, flying dinosaurs such as the pterodactyl, to exist.]

Certainly most if not all of the evidence for the Mokele M'bembe is anecdotal. Still, in my opinion, there's some smoke here. In 1932, the famed American cryptozoologist Ivan T. Sanderson reported that he saw the neck and head of a sauropod dive beneath waters while he was boating near his camp. The natives' -- and these are different groups unassociated with one another unless they are at odds with each other -- consistent identification of the sauropod is intriguing. One native group has a legend that dates back to 1959 (according to explorers) . In their account, the tribe actually killed a Mokele M'bembe at Likouala swamp because the creature broke through a wall they constructed to keep it out for their fishing. As the tale goes, the tribe cooked the carcass. However, every native that ate of the creature's meat eventually became violently ill or died. To me, that sounds like legend to us but history to them. And then a Japanese television crew in 1987, while flying over Lake Tele, filmed what some say to be a Mokele M'bembe swimming across the lake with a large V-shaped wake (skeptics say it was two men in a canoe with one standing).

All of this cited evidence can easily be written off to have come from "persons with an agenda" and said to be false or at the very least misleading. Or can it? No one is disputing what the natives actually say. And here in The Realm of Possibility we can ask: What if the accounts are true?

Well, aside from the cool factor, if it is true, not all that much changes for me. Christ has commanded me to love Him first and then to love others. Plus, none of my daily grind is going away. Of course, I already think it's a neat "what-if," and I think it'd be an awesome "is," too. For others, I think it'd be a notch in crypotzoologists' belt to show cryptozoology not as some science that's "out there" but bring it closer to the mainstream. Let's face it, most people have been taught and the lesson has been drilled into us since we were tots: dinosaurs used to live millions and millions of years ago, but they all went extinct millions of years ago. That's what we know. And if that knowledge that has been purported by the mainstream scientists and educators was turned upside down for all to see, the people who had been accurate in predicting the discovery will gain instant credence. On the other hand, I'm not sure it'd be crippling for science. So a random few dinosaurs in uninhabited regions of the world (in places "not as affected by the Ice Age" or whatever other catastrophe caused the extinction of the dinosaurs) made it to the present. Some fish have been discovered which says the same thing, and the world's mindset has not changed. I don't think the discovery of a few dinosaurs is going to change what scientists believe, either. Creation scientists might argue with me, however. For them, at least in how I've read them, dinosaurs are a lynch pin in modern science's evolutionary theory and would be further proof that the world is only 6,000 (or for some up to 20,000) years old. That seems to be the theory they espouse. There'd be a lot of other questions I'd have than just about dinosaurs if I was going to get on board there, and telling me that dinosaurs were on the Ark isn't going to help. Suffice it to say, a true discovery of the Mokele M'bembe would affect quite a few people, but not really me (although maybe the light would go on and I'd give cryptozoologists a lot more credit - I still wouldn't buy Bigfoot, though, sorry).

But I don't matter so much. You do. And certainly, Ken does. The Mokele M'bembe. Fact, fiction, or something in between? And would the discovery of such a behemoth mean anything to you?

[On a side note, we have a link to Roland Smith's Cryptid Hunter website. His novel may just involve the subject matter for anyone interested in some cryptid fiction.]


5 comments:

Wide Lawns Subservient Worker said...

I can say that the discovery of the Mokele M'bembe would be pretty cool. I have been fascinated with crytozoology since I saw an article in Ranger Rick of all things, about it, when I was a child. It wouldnt change my entire worldview or anything, but it would just be really neat to see in real life what a dinosaur looks like. Do you know if there have been any recent, credible sightings of one or anything similar?

Rich said...

Not sure on the credible, but the report found at
http://www.creationgeneration.net/PDF/Mokele.pdf

written by William Gibbons, one of the leading expeditionists in the field and a Creation Scientist, in the search for the Mokele M'bembe, has a lot of information. I believe he contends that he has seen and has associates that have seen the Mokele M'bembes, and he's upfront enough to question others who contend they have, even though his own agenda is to locate the dinosaur he says exists. he hasn't got any pics yet, and pictures and film footage are probably what he needs. He and his team continue to make expeditions to the Cameroon and the Congo, and I believe he has another planned for this year.

Also, Extreme Expeditions, a couple of UK explorers, took two attempts to the Congo, the first in 1998 which was a disaster from the word go, and another in 2000. I've searched a little to find out the details of their second expedition, which I heard went better, but haven't found out about the results. Their website www.extreme-expeditions.net is being reconstructed and they haven't loaded the 2000 expedition info yet. It may be somewhere on the Net, but I haven't found it.

P&S said...

Rich,

Surprisingly, I think that you've hit on most of the pertinent points.

Certainly, more than enough to get discussion started. I guess you were listening to me when your eyes rolled back in your head. My apologies.

Wide Lawns: Rory Nugent's relatively recent book, "Drums Along the Congo: On the Trail of Mokele-Mbembe, the Last Living Dinosaur" was an interested read.

There was another expedition that was supposed to have taken place a year or so ago that was going to look in a different area. I'll have to look back in my notes to find the name of its sponsor. I've not read about their experiences, yet. But check out our Cryptomundo link on the sidebar. Author, Loren Coleman posts there, and he could definitely answer your question.

Just be sure to tell him we sent you his way.

P&S said...

Actually, after further investigation (one click of the mouse on our sidebar), Loren Coleman at Cryptomundo just posted yesterday about an expedition that left Tuesday for Cameroon to look for mokele.

Here's an excerpt:
"The latest expedition to search for the “dinosaurlike” cryptids known by African natives as mokele-mbembe has departed. Milt Marcy, Peter Beach and Rob Mullin left Portland, Oregon for Cameroon on January 10, 2005. They will be teaming up with Pierre Sima to conduct the next phase of the cryptozoological research on the Congo/Cameroon border."

Do the link thingy for further info.

codepoke said...

As long as you don't try to sell me on things that have been thoroughly investigated, I'm there. I would love these sauropods to be there!