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NO CRYPTOZOOLOGY HERE PLEASE
This is NOT the place to discuss cryptozoology and all of its
accompanying speculations: go to firstname.lastname@example.org - I will subscribe
anyone if they cannot subscribe themselves.
While I will try to do everyone a favour here and not embark on a
grand tour of cryptozoological methodology and philosophy, please
bear in mind two important facts; (1) virtually all cryptozoological
speculations are based on negative evidence. For example, in a
recent article (which quotes many of my ideas, taken from personal
correspondence) Karl Shuker (1998) asserted that, since no one has
demonstrated that extant plesiosaurs do *not* exist, then they may
well exist. In an article reviewing reports of gigantic size in
_Architeuthis_, Richard Ellis (1998) recently noted that, similarly,
the approach of Bernard Heuvelmans - with regard to such things as
200 ton (!!!*@!!) _Architeuthis_ and extant sauropods - seems to be
that, since we cannot prove that these things do *not* exist, then it
is possible that they do.
As Tom noted in a previous post, this is unscientific
and untenable. I cannot prove that the computer room in which I am
now sitting is >not< filled with assorted invisible floating
serpents, goblins, and The Caretaker from Star Trek: Voyager, but I
cannot assume that they are therefore there nonetheless (and, like
cryptids, these computer room manifestations do have eyewitness data
as their only form of verification:)). Also, there is The Bo Derek
Hypothesis. It works like this: I think Bo Derek is in my room. I
look in the cupboards, behind the curtains, and under the bed, but
she is not there. Have I proved that Bo Derek is not in my room? I
think I have. (I forget the name of the guy who created this
hypothesis - - I do recall he is an Australian zoologist).
(2) To paraphrase myself (post to the cryptozoology discussion group,
1998): Cryptozoology has seen every whacky theory under the sun,
from surviving eurypterids and trilobites to rhino-sized frogs and 30
ft salamanders. Like vertebrate palaeontology, the subject seems to
attract all manner of poorly-informed guessworkers who clutch madly
at straws and invent impossible scenarios while unequipped with any
of the detailed knowledge they might need to make intelligent
judgements, and unaware of most of the serious work that has been
done in the field. An in-depth and wide-ranging knowledge of zoology
is needed if one is to make judgements on cryptozoological subjects.
An important, but not at all difficult to understand, correlation
that one may note is that, NO ONE who works on, for example,
plesiosaurs, basilosaurids, non-avian dinosaurs, mosasauroids etc etc
etc supports the survival of any of these forms to the present.
WHEREAS those who _do_ support the hypothesised survival of these
forms to the present do _not_ work on the animals, nor seem to be
well informed as regards knowledge associated with them. Prof. Roy
Mackal, widely acknowledged as leading proponent of the 'surviving
basilosaur' school, was recently quoted (Coleman 1998) as saying that
basilosaurs swam all over the world 80 million years ago, for
example, while Richard Greenwell and Karl Shuker have both argued
that, since endothermy has been proposed for dinosaurs, then the
theoretical existence of high-latitude extant plesiosaurs is not a
(As a caveat, I note that Alan Charig was not entirely dismissive
of cryptozoological views, and that Eric Buffetaut is on the ISC's
governing board and even contributed a paper to the journal
_Cryptozoology_ - he pointed out that limited vertical flexure was
present in thallatosuchians, so vertically flexing cryptids are not
Finally, Chad Laibly wrote..
> 1. No recent fossil record.
> 2. Small surviving population
> 3. Considered an "impossible" survivor until recently...
Coelacanths (Actinistia) are the ultimate in red herrings (pun
intended) and they do not serve as good models for the post-Mesozoic
survival of Mesozoic marine reptiles. Importantly, coelacanths are
fish that live in deep water channels, and they are fish of about 1 m
in length. Theoretical surviving Mesozoic marine reptiles are upwards
of 5 m in length, global in distribution, and surface-frequenting.
Also, coelacanths have 3 post-Mesozoic fossil occurences; (1)
Palaeocene of Denmark; (2) Miocene of Israel; (3) Present of Comoro
Islands and other areas around east African-Magagascan coast
(occurences of extant coelacanths around American, Mexican and
possibly Spanish coasts have not been verified). The only
post-Mesozoic marine reptile occurrences are reworked bits and
pieces: nothing that demonstrates their post-K survival, in contrast
to coelacanths. Mesozoic marine reptiles flourish at high diversity
in the latest K, then go out with a bang, leaving no survivors.
Coelacanths, in marked contrast, dwindle slowly down from about 25
mid-K species down to 1 or 2 for the end third of the Cretaceous,
then continue for the Cainozoic at the same low diversity. Mesozoic
marine reptiles and coelacanths are in no way comparable, and all
evidence proves that Mesozoic marine reptiles are extinct.
"Close your eyes children - he may take on another form!"