Its Head Was As Big As The Boat

Cooler nights here in Indiana signify the swift approach of the fall season. As summer nears its end, I see many of my friends lamenting the loss of those leisurely summer days spent at the lakes. This, of course, gave me an idea for a sea monster story. Lol…sorry, just the way my brain works.

But, where to begin? There are so many wonderful terrors of the deep to choose from. My favorite, as many of my regular readers may well know, is the Loch Ness Monster. However, every cryptozoologist and their brother have already written so very many articles about the old gal that any article I may write would seem rather blasé and insignificant.

I could write about the Kraken, yet I am reluctant to do so at this point. I know I do not feel the Kraken is a Giant Squid because all the historical artistic representations I have seen of him look far more like a giant octopus than a squid. I think I will wait for more data to be presented before I delve into researching this fellow. At least for now, anyway.

This is my dilemma…too many monsters, too little time. Perhaps I could write about a cryptid or two that many people may not have heard of? Yes, perhaps I shall.

In fact, not much at all is known about one of my “monsters of the day”. Yet, the other monster has been a hot topic of discussion for thousands of years. I have decided to combine the two in one blog post. Both behemoths live(d?) in the sea, possibly during the same time period. I find this very intriguing because I am a HUGE “Godzilla” fan who loves monster versus monster matches. A fight between these two beasts would have been a sight to behold, to say the least, the very least.

These two super-sized sea dwellers also capture my attention because I, personally, believe they may still be amongst us. Anything is possible. It all boils down to whether one chooses to WANT to believe or not. Unless or until scientists are provided with actual evidence of the beasts’ continued existence, many will likely disagree with me and consider these magnificent monsters nothing more than remnants of the fossil record.

I honestly believe fishermen have a vastly undeserved reputation for telling tall tales. Although there may be a handful (or two or more) of anglers who enjoy embellishing stories of “the catch of a lifetime that somehow managed to evade capture”, I don’t think the majority of their tales should be so easily dismissed.

With an estimated less than five percent of our world’s waterways having been explored, one can only begin to imagine the various strange and wonderful creatures that may be dwelling within them.

I also firmly believe that most all legends are based on facts. When it comes to sea, river, and lake monsters, I believe! I see no valid reason NOT to believe. It would prove most difficult to disprove a sea serpent sighting. By the time anyone received notice of the sighting and went out to investigate, the creature would be long gone. Having the whole ocean to hide in gives a great advantage to any monster who wishes to remain hidden.

I consider fishermen (and fisherwomen) to be experts on marine life. People who spend most of their time fishing know the various types of fish that live in the areas where they fish. If an abnormal specimen is sighted, chances are it may just be an undiscovered species of fish.

In fact, the Coelacanth (pronounced “seel uh canth”) is a fish that was thought to have gone extinct around 66 million years ago. Yet, it was recently rediscovered in 1938 by a fisherman. Had the man who caught the fish not realized it was an atypical fish, scientists may never have known these fish still exist. Since this man’s initial discovery of the Coelacanth, several others have also been captured. I imagine there may have been several fishermen who had caught Coelacanth fish and just tossed them back in because they were not interested in knowing what they were.

Coelacanth fish are what cryptozoologists refer to as a species of “Lazarus Taxon”. Lazarus comes from the biblical story of a man named Lazarus who was resurrected from death by Jesus. Taxa (singular Taxon) was an astronomically difficult word to find an understandable definition of. From what I could gather, I believe it has something to do with the practice of classifying animals into different groups. So, Lazarus Taxa are simply animals that have been classified as being risen from the dead? Perhaps it would be more precise to say they are creatures who have disappeared from the fossil record and were thought to be extinct, only to reappear again (very much still alive) later.

Believe it or not, as outlandish an idea as it seems, there are many examples of animals who were thought to have died off as a species, yet never actually did. Are there dinosaurs in Borneo? I would not rule that possibility out…not yet, anyway. However, I can give you some far more believable examples of true Lazarus Taxa.

Here is a short (and, by no means all-inclusive) list of a few of my favorite Lazarus Taxa. If you find them interesting, I hope you take the time to google a few of them. Most of them are just cute, cute, cute beyond compare.

  1. Takahe
  2. Chacoan Peccary
  3. Loatian Rock Rat
  4. Mountain Pygmy Possum
  5. Midwife Toad
  6. Yellow Tailed Woolly Monkey
  7. El Hierro Giant Lizard
  8. Terror Skink
  9. New Caledonian Crested Gecko
  10. Arakan Forest Turtle
  11. Tammar Wallaby
  12. Woolly Flying Squirrel
  13. Roosevelt’s Muntjac
  14. New Guinea Big-Eared Bat
  15. Mahogany Glider
  16. Gilbert’s Potoroo
  17. Cuban Solenodon
  18. Caspian Horse
  19. Bavarian Pine Vole

But, wait! Have I completely lost my train of thought and forgotten about the two sea monsters I mentioned earlier in this article? Although I do have a tendency to be rather scatter brained (mostly only on Tuesdays), I promise you I have not forgotten.

I was merely mentioning Lazarus Taxa because I wanted to explain why I believe Megalodon (a gargantuan shark) and Livyatan Melvillei (an enormous whale) may possibly still inhabit our oceans. I believe there is a high probability these two may, sometime in the near or distant future, be proven to be Lazarus Taxa.

Yes, these two aquatic cryptids scare me something fierce. My fear is completely irrational due to the fact that I have a massive phobia of drowning and never spend any time near large bodies of water. Yet, these two monsters still manage to occasionally shatter my “land lover” sense of security by invading my dreams.

I can’t recall the number of times I have had the same dreadful recurring nightmare. I’m aboard a very large cruise ship in the middle of the ocean. I fall over the side of the boat and am instantly devoured by either a great white shark or a killer whale.

I imagine these nightmares are caused from having watched the movies “Jaws” and “Orca” and having read Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick” far too many times. I can only hope the dreams are not prophetic in nature. Okay, anyway, getting back on track with the topic…

Not much is known about either Megalodon or Livyatan Melvillei. Due to the fact that aquatic animals tend to decompose at a rather rapid rate of speed, there simply is not much evidence for scientists to study, aside from a few teeth, vertebrae, and an occasional mandible.

Megalodon is far more well-known than Livyatan. This massive shark is thought to have gone extinct between 23 to 2 and a half million years ago. Given the 21-million-year difference in the estimated extinction date, I have to wonder if anybody really has a clue just how long ago (if ever) these sharks died out.

Megalodon may have been up to 60 feet long and weighed over 50 tons (some estimate as much as 70 – 100 tons). Yet, nobody knows for sure. Until someone finds a living specimen, I guess we will all just have to wait and see.

What is known beyond a shadow of a doubt is Megalodon had(s?) a mouth full of razor sharp teeth that grew up to seven inches long. Holy Mackerel!! Now, that is one scary fish.

There have been numerous unconfirmed sightings of massive sharks that, according to eyewitness testimony, seem very similar to Megalodon.

Many scientists argue that Megalodon could not have survived the Ice Age. Oceanic cooling and lower sea levels would have caused a shortage of food because several species of “feeder fish” would have gone extinct.

I question this theory. Considering the vast number of animals who have survived an Ice Age (or two or more) how would it NOT be possible that Megalodon could not have survived as well? I know humans would eat worms if they got hungry enough. Also, from what little I do know of shark behavior, I believe (and please correct me if I am wrong) they will pretty much eat anything that even remotely resembles food to them.

I also wonder how anybody could accurately calculate how many different types of fish may or may not have lived through the Ice Age. We do not even know how many different types of fish and other creatures there are in the ocean today. New species of both living yet unknown fish, as well as fossils of previously undiscovered extinct fish, are being discovered on a continual basis. Giant Squid were only just recently proven to exist. If something that big can go undetected for that long, who’s to say what else may be swimming around in the deep blue sea?

People have been finding Megalodon teeth for several thousands of years. In fact, most thought they were petrified dragon tongues until 1667 when a naturalist named Nicolaus Steno correctly identified them as being shark teeth. His book is “The Head of a Shark Dissected”, if you may be interested in it. I am rather squeamish when it comes to looking at animal innards and that sort of thing. The reason I decided against being a Marine Biologist or a Veterinarian is the fact that I would not have been able to take an Anatomy and Physiology class. Yet, I digress…again. Now, where was I?

Oh yeah, I was about to describe the second sea monster I promised to tell you about several pages ago. This blog is a little longer than I had expected it to be. Apologies for the lengthiness. Thanks for staying with me.

Livyatan Melvillei is a sea monster many people may not have heard of. In November of 2008, the partial skull, mandible, and teeth of a previously unknown and believed to be extinct massive whale were discovered in Peru. The creature was given the name Livyatan Melvillei. Livyatan is from the biblical story of the monster “Leviathan”. Apparently, other scientists had already given that name to another extinct animal, so the scientists who named Livyatan used the Hebrew spelling of Leviathan, which is Livyatan. Melvillei, of course, is in honor of Mr. Herman Melville, the author of the classic book “Moby Dick”.

From what scientists can surmise, it appears Livyatan may have been even more fierce than Megalodon. It is estimated this beast may have been 44 to 57 feet long, with a skull that was (is?) 9 to 10 feet long, and may have weighed as much as 100 tons. It is thought to have gone extinct anywhere from 13 to five million years ago.

The absolute most scary thing about Livyatan? Its teeth were as much as 14 inches long. Yes, that is over a foot long. Even longer than a T-Rex tooth. Twice as long as a Megalodon tooth. Sacred Salmon!!! Now, that’s what I call a sea MONSTER.

It’s hard to say. Some whales seem to be rather gentle in nature. I guess we will have to wait until someone finds a living specimen to find out for sure.

As for me, I am quite content to keep my feet planted firmly on the ground. Perhaps it is a blessing in disguise that I never learned how to swim. One just never knows what may be swimming along beside, behind, or beneath them. One simply never knows.

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10 thoughts on “Its Head Was As Big As The Boat

    • Such a wonderful compliment. I thank you most sincerely. I love teaching people things. I hope when my 3 year old granddaughter is old enough to read, she might find my blog interesting, as well. She’s already a big “Godzilla” fan. LOL. Thanks again, Mr. Knifton. You’ve put a big smile on my face today. 🙂

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