They were an integral part of the marine ecology from roughly 220 million years ago till about 65 million years ago, when nearly all dinosaurs were considered to have gone extinct in a great global cataclysm . Plesiosaur remains have been found on every continent except Antarctica so far.
This article seeks to explore the possibility that Plesiosaurs or perhaps a slightly evolved form thereof still exists in isolated pockets.
Loch Ness Monster
The Modern Nessie legend dates to December 1933 with a handful of sightings. Photographs of it from the era bare a resemblance to what could possibly be a Plesiosaur.
However, some naysayers have alternative explanations. One that is more plausible than others is that it could possibly be a rather large Sturgeon, which is not unheard of. See - Images of Stugeon Resembling Sea Monsters
In 2007 enthusiast Gordon Holmes filmed an elongated black shape swimming just below the waters surface, American computer experts analysed the footage and speculated that it showed eels of about 15 feet in length. - Click for Image
There is an extensive history of Nessie sightings, some more credible than others. None are irrefutable proof that Nessie is a pleisosaur or representative of a hitherto extinct species of marine mamal or reptile. While Loch Ness remains the most famous of potential pleisosaur sites it is hardly the most plausible. For an exhaustive list of Loch Ness Monster sightings See - Official Loch Ness Monster Sightings Register
Australia's Loch Ness Monsters
In Australia there is a creature depicted in aboriginal art known as the Yarru or sometimes Yarrba. It was drawn by an aboriginal artist from the Kuku Yalanji tribe who inhabit a rain forest region in the Australian North Queensland region.There are many ponds and lakes in the region which in earlier times were said to be occupied by the plieseosaur like Yarru .
There is a tribal story of how a Yarru once devoured a young maiden. When the tribes artist was asked to paint the story he drew the image above left. It should be noted that the tribesman had no knowledge of western paleontology and had no idea what a pleisiosaur was, or even looked like, he drew simply based on the tribes ancient oral traditions.
Elsewhere in Australia another indigenous group, the Dharug people have legends of beasts they called Mirreeulla or moolyewonk that dwelt primarily in Hawkesbury River near Sydney. Contemporary and Modern Sightings of 'Mooleywonk' depict a plesiosaur like creature. Estimates put its size at roughly 50 feet long.
The whites of Australia call their version of the Loch Ness monster - plesiosaur "The Hawkesbury River Monster". Early settlers were told tales by Aborigines of people being attacked by the creature. As per Australian naturalist Rex Gilroy 'Information ... suggests to me that the creatures are breeding somewhere offshore and laying their eggs inland. This would not be out of character, as there were both freshwater and saltwater breeds during the Cretaceous period .... They are still being seen in the Hawkesbury River of course, which is not surprising because it is such a deep river. Actually it is a sunken valley ... It seems to me that we do have a race of creatures that are officially extinct, yet they are still with us'
Lake Champlain Monster
Skipping across the Globe a tad more than halfway back to Loch Ness we land in North America where we have tales of the Lake Champlain Monster, more than just tall tales we also have a credible video [Top Left] and some intriguing photographs.[Bottom Left]
Written records of the Lake Champlain Monster date back to the French explorer for whom the lake is named Samuel de Champlain. In 1609 he made a note on his journal of a 20 foot Sea serpent with a horse shaped head. It is possible that what Champlan and his cew saw was a Gar Pike which could be construed to be a sea monster and it is also quite possible that what he saw was an ancestor of the creatures in the present day video and photograph.
Over the several Centuries since Champlain reported his Sea serpent there have been roughly 600 reported sightings which are chronicled by Joseph Zarzynski in his book Champ Beyond the Legend.
In the 1970s Mr. Dennis Hall claims to have found a bizarre foot-long reptile in the marsh bordering Lake Champlain. The creature bore no resemblance to any other living reptile he knew of and possessed a snake like forked tongue. Nay Sayers have claimed that perhaps Mr. Hall spoke with a forked tongue because shortly after he turned the creature over to researchers at the University of Vermont it mysteriously vanished, although they did initially claim it was like no other reptile they had ever seen.
In the early 90s, a Japanese research team conducted a search of the lake with a small armada and several helicopters. They produced a sonar report showing an object about 20 ft long swimming under one of their craft.
Cadborosaurus or simply Caddy, is a sea monster that trolls the waters of the Pacific Northwest and British Colombia near Cadboro Bay, from whence it acquired its name. The Chinook Indians, were familiar with it and called it "hiachuckaluck".
Over the past 2 Centuries there have been in excess of 300 sightings. It is described in terms that are reminiscent of other sea serpents of the world which in effect places it on the growing list of possible Plesiosaur candidates.
Cadborosaurus is said to have a horse or camel like head , shaped like a serpent with flippers and a hairy neck. Descriptions range from 40 - 70- feet in length.
In the current era the first documented and publicized sighting was reported by the Victoria Daily Times in 1933 , around the same time Nessie was rearing her head in Scotland. The witness was a Canadian Attorney and his spouse out for a cruise on their yacht. As per the duo it was a "horrible serpent with the head of a camel." The following calendar year there was another sighting as two local Canadian Government officials reported seeing it. Their description matched that of the 1933 sighting.
In 1937 the carcass of a giant sperm whale was cut open revealing the partially digested remains of a creature fitting the description of Cadmosaurus. Photographs showed a creature roughly 12 feet in length with a large camel-like head and a serpentine body .
A peculiar sighting or perhaps a fish tale about the one that got away was made by duck hunters who tried to retrieve their wounded duck. Cadmosaurus lurched out of the water, gobbled down the duck, snapped at some gulls buzzing about and then re-submerged. The hunters described a six-foot long elongated beast with saw-like teeth.
The Alvin Plesiosaur
An encounter with a Sea Monster, a possible Plesiosaur comes from the 1977 book by Charles Berlitz- 'Without a Trace' . Berlitz relates the story of a submarine pilot Captain Marvin McCamis who claims to have seen a creature that strongly resembled a plesiosaur off Grand Bahama Island in 1965. The craft was the "ALVIN" a Naval Deep Submergence Research Vessel. Click Here for a sketch by Dale Drinnon of Frontiers of Zoology based Captain McCamis report. As per McCamis the sea serpent / Plesiosaur was encountered at the depth of roughly One mile down.
Alaskan Ice Monsters
1. In the Chena River in Fairbanks, Alaska. Employees of the Alaskan Bureau of Land Management filmed what may or may not be a sea serpent. Estimates put their 'creature' at 12 to 15 feet long and the video shows it slithering through the water in a serpentine fashion.
Some have speculated it is kin to the Loch Ness monster or other Plesiosaur type creatures spotted around the world. My first view of the video left me with many doubts as to its biological nature. The 'creature' appears to be encrusted in ice and although its movement wreaks of a serpent or at the very least an enormous eel like animal its texture did not appear to be biological.
In the end, my suspicions were were verified when experts at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game stated that the 'creature' was 'frazil ice stuck to a rope that is probably caught on a bridge pier.' Video Craig McCaa, of Alaska's Bureau of Land Management, captured on video something moving in the Chena River in Fairbanks, Alaska. Was it the American Loch Ness Monster!?
2. A second Alaska Sea Creature was filmed by tourists is much more convincing. A video clip shows a number of fins swimming around following a glacier collapse.
Speculation is that the loud noise caused by the glacier collapsing awoke or at the very least disturbed the liquid lurking leviathan. Video
Ogopogo sometimes referred to as the lake demon is a creature reported to live in British Columbias Okanagan Lake. Ogopogo has been allegedly seen by native Amerindians since at least the 1800s.
In 1926 a sighting was witnessed by about 'thirty cars of people' who all claimed to have seen the same creature.
A 1968 amateur video by a man named Art Folden shows footage of the creature, showing a large wake moving through the water. [ Video ]
In 2011, a cell phone video shows a questionable depiction of what may or may not be 'ogopogo'.
Since the 1940s Lake Pend Orielle in Northern Idaho has been the location of numerous sightings of a pleisiosaur type creature dubbed by locals as 'paddler'. Sightings have been relatively consistent and are in agreement with sightings of similar creatures from various locales around the world. A large aquatic creature with an elongtaed neck that extends above the waters surface. . Read More about the Paddler
1. Questions About Creature Unanswered Augusta Chronicle Sept. 1999
2. Abominable Science!: Origins of the Yeti, Nessie, and Other Famous Cryptids Daniel Loxton , Donald R. Prothero Pg. 242