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Re: Jurassic Croc Found With Fish Like Tail

This new discovery in Oregon of a Jurassic croc with a fish-tail and needle-like teeth is an exciting find for anyone interested in Native American traditions and artistic images of water serpents with fish- tails and needle teeth, and long bodies covered in scutes or scales and with fin or paddle-like appendages.

These notable features of the Jurassic crocodile (needle teeth, forked fish-tail, scales or scutes) are also the distinctive characteristics of water monster representations among the Kiowa, Sioux, the Pomo of northern California, and other tribes.

The 6-8 ft long croc skeleton in Oregon was fairly well preserved and weathering visibly out of rock, so in theory a similar fossil could have been noticed by untrained Indian observers in the past. The artist's illustration of the croc by Jon Hughes for the NARG has a remarkable resemblance to the Kiowa artist Silverhorn's sketch of a water monster with scales or scutes, long narrow head with needle teeth and a forked fish-tail, in the Smithsonian, drawn in 1891-94 to illustrate the Kiowa legends of water serpents. Hughes illustration of the croc also matches the way the Pomo Indians describe and depict a fish-tailed, needle-toothed water monster called Bagil, and some other northern California traditional water serpent images.

For the Kiowa images see p 193, Fig. 57, in Mayor, "Fossil Legends of the First Americans" (Princeton, 2005).

If anyone would like to have jpgs of these Kiowa images or wants to contact an archaeologist/anthropologist working for the NPS in Northern California who is an expert on Native American images of fish-tailed water serpents, please email me off list.

Adrienne Mayor

On Mar 20, 2007, at 10:15 AM, Richard W. Travsky wrote:

An ancient sea-going crocodile has surfaced from the rocks of Crook County in eastern Oregon. Really.

It's discovery by the North American Research Group (NARG), whose members were digging for Jurassic-age mollusks known as ammonites, is another confirmation that the Blue Mountains consist of rocks that traveled from somewhere in the Far East, says retired University of Oregon geologist William Orr, who was called in to examine the find for the state.

The remains - about 50 percent of a 6- to 8-foot reptile, including long, needlepoint teeth - were found imbedded in Jurassic rock on private property in the Snowshoe Formation of the Izee Terrane south of Dayville, Ore.
"This taxon was a crocodile-like creature but had a fish tail," said Orr, a NARG adviser and director of the Thomas Condon State Museum of Fossils at the University of Oregon.
The remains of the crocodile, believed to be from the species Thalattosuchia and member of the Metriorhynchids group, now belong to the state, Orr said.