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PANDAS AND SEA MONSTERS



I'd never deliberately slag you off Peter, but here's a few points raised by
your creationist-bashing escapade;

1) Pandas (the Giant _Ailuropoda menoleucea_) ARE bears. Red pandas are
procyonids, and the similarities between the two species (protruding 'wrist
bone', s-shaped penis, bamboo diet and atypical dentition) are convergences.

2) Mokele-Mbembe is the correct spelling for the Congolese swamp monster. 
Tales and sightings of this thing seem based on large varanids, crocodiles and
elephants. Mackal had ludicrously suggested that various Congolese legendary
beasts represent living sauropods, stegosaurs and ceratopsians! A creature
supposedly seen in New Guinea, the Row, has been described as an extant nonavian
theropod (again, seemingly a varanid [_Varanus salvadori_ of NG is the longest
extant lizard, and can rear to a bipedal height of about 5 foot, which is near
enough the height of the Row]). Meanwhile, a Babylonian 'dragon' decorating a
palace gate is believed by some eminent cryptozoologists to depict another
extant dinosaur! Utter bollox!

3) The Zaiyomaru carcass, caught in the net of a Jap trawler (called, obviously,
the Zaiyomaru) just off New Zealand in 1977, was photographed, sketched and had
tissue samples taken. The carcass had decomposed to reveal a shape called
'pseudoplesiosaur' - one characteristic of basking sharks. Predictably, the
tissue samples proved conclusively to be from a shark, but of species
indeterminate. The large size of the carcass, something like 10 metres, remains
a puzzle as Basking sharks (_Cetorhinus maximus_) - the species always
responsible for 'pseudoplesiosaurs' - do not have authenticated lengths of more
than 6 metres. (The morphology of the Whale shark (_Rhinodon typus_) is such
that it does not produce 'pseudoplesiosaurs', Megamouths (_Megachasma pelagios_)
are also not consistent with the form of the Zaiyomaru carcass. This only leaves
_Carcharodon_..... but that's another story).

Ow! I just shot off one of my feet.....

DARREN