Cryptid 024B Mokele Mbembe
A.K.A. One that Stops the Flow of Rivers
Location: West-Central Africa
Type: Living Fossil
Evidence: Sightings by local tribesmen as well as a few by Explorers
Possible Population size: Unknown
My thoughts and theories:
Since the first known sighting of this creature was reported by a man named Abbot Proyart, legends of this amazing animal have continued to filter out of the Likouala swamp area of the Congolese jungle (formerly known as Zaire) for well over a century. Said to lurk in the deep, sub-aquatic caves which line the shores of Lake Tele, accounts of these bizarre Jurassic throwbacks have emanated from this region since the earliest European explorers ventured into the vast and treacherous realms of west-central Africa.
Described as being of elephantine proportions, with smooth, grayish-brown skin, feet the size of frying pans, a long, flexible neck and an extended tail - which is reputed to possess even more strength than central Africa's second most feared aquatic predator, the crocodile - the Mokele-MBembe is a creature which seems to deserve its fearsome reputation. Even the name "Mokele-MBembe", when translated from Lingala (the language of the predominantly pygmy population of indigenous peoples of the Congo basin) literally means "one that stops the flow of rivers".
Armed with these native descriptions, it did not take much of an assumptive leap on the parts of these early adventurers to assume that the legends of the Mokele-MBembe were actually derived from eyewitness encounters of what these Europeans believed were living members of the (presumed to be) extinct family of dinosaurs known as saurapods. It wasn't long before these intrepid explorers were regaling the rest of the civilized world with tales that rivaled Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's epic "Lost World".
In 1932, legendary American cryptozoologist, Ivan T. Sanderson, came across a set of large hippopotamus-like tracks in an area of central Africa, which was not known to support a hippo population. During that same expedition, Sandserson watched in awe as he saw an object that was much larger than a hippo, slip beneath the water while he was boating near his camp. Although the animal did not resurface, Sanderson was convinced that he had seen what his native guides had referred to as "Mgbulu-eM'bembe". This encounter has served to inspire numerous other expeditions in the decades which would follow.
Sanderson's guides, who had for generations shared their habitat with theses animals, reflected upon how lucky Sanderson was to have escaped with his life. For, even though it was almost universally believed that the creature was a strict herbivore (subsisting primarily on the molombo plants, which dot the sides of the Likouala-aux-Herbes River) these wary fishermen knew full well that an encounter with this beast usually resulted in the destruction of their vessels and, more often than not, the loss of life.
On more than one occasion tribes have told investigators tales of hunters and fishermen who have unwittingly penetrated this creature's haunt, only to have their boats capsized while their helmsmen were held beneath the muddy waters of the Likouala by the animal's massive tail. The corpses of these unlucky mariners have often washed ashore with their ribs crushed, but showing no signs of being eaten, which is consistent with the theories regarding the vegetarian diet of the Mokele-M'Bembe.
While numerous expeditions have been mounted over the past two centuries, very little evidence regarding the existence of these "living dinosaurs" has actually surfaced. The one exception to this rule can be seen in the form of a few precious feet of film, which was taken by a Japanese television crew in 1987, while flying over Lake Tele during the production of a documentary featuring this animal. Although skeptics were quick to claim that the image on the videotape showed nothing more than a grainy, birds-eye-view of two men in a canoe (the first one standing, which created the illusion of a head and neck) there are many who staunchly believe that the object captured on that film reel was none other than the Mokele-M'Bembe itself.
With the recent discovery of the long thought to be extinct Coelacanth as well the discoveries of may new species over the past decade, the possibility of discovering something as amazing as a living dinosaur would rock the entire scientific community.
Cryptid Files: [link]