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>> You call hundreds of eyewitness accounts insuffiecient evidence?! (Ben)
>If we're still talking Mokele-Mbembe, I have to say that there have never -
>_never_ - been hundreds of sightings. In fact, statistics are often grossly
>exaggerated in crypto books, I have read of '10s of 1000s of Nessie sightings',
>whereas the real figure (if you count all the ones published) is less than 150,
>more than half of which are really dodgy. [Sources: Binns, R. and Bord, C. &
>Bord, J.]

I know this is off topic, but... It is my view that, paradoxically, the more
"sightings" of an crypto beast there are the less Iikely it is to exist.  I
am highly sceptical of creatures that seem to be seen by everybody except te
very people most likely to find them and to understand what they are seeing
- namely scientists.  A REAL case is much more like the recent ungulate
discoveries in Vietnam: creatures perfectly well-known to the locals remain
undescribed because no scientist has visited the area, but tangible remains
turn up almost as soon as scientists actually do begin work.  With the
possible exception of the Giant Squid, a rather peculiar case, I can think
of no animal that was seen over and over again by western visitors to an
area (as opposed to locals who might simply take it for granted from a
western scientific point of view) but NOT by scientists, and finally turned
out to be real.

Further, arguments for the existence of such creatures usually ignore the
absence of tangible remains.  For example: however intelligent and shy the
so-called bigfoot may be when alive, I suspect it is highly unintelligent
and uncaring when dead.  If it exists, where are the subfossil remains?  Is
there ANY comparably large terrestrial extant mammal in North America
unknown from subfossil remains?

>> You knwo
>> how hard it is for scientists to locate forest elephants? And these are
>> creatures that we know exist,
>Forest elephants themselves are tricky critters, _if_ you are talking the
>'dwarf' elephants only recently captured on film. _Loxodonta africana cyclotis_
>is well known, but not as well as its savannah cousin. 

These so-called "dwarf" elephants have even been exhibited in European zoos.
The current consensus is that they are forest elephants, which can acquire
adult characteristics at an earlier age than savannah elephants.
>Apparently, forest elephants have 4 nails on their fore feet, while savannah
>elephants have 3.. forest elephants have 5 nails on their hind feet, while
>savannah elephants have 4.

This is actually variable within each subspecies, but the general trend is
as indicated.

 Consider that this amount of variation is displayed
>within a single species, yet there we are arguing about the very presence of
>'nails' in sauropod feet (well, we are here). Does anybody know if it is
>possible to elucidate the presence of nails by looking at elephant's terminal

Walker's Mammals of the World (5th ed.) notes of elephants generally that
"There are five toes on each foot, but the outer pair may be vestigial, so
some digits do not have hooves (nails)."  Which does not exactly answer your
question, I know.
Ronald I. Orenstein                           Phone: (905) 820-7886 (home)
International Wildlife Coalition              Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116 (home)
Home: 1825 Shady Creek Court                  Messages: (416) 368-4661
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