Around 66 million years ago, the Earth was hit by a 6 mile wide asteroid traveling at over 45,000 miles per hour. The impact was 2 million times more powerful than the most powerful explosive device created by man, the Tsar Bomba.
The effects of this catastrophe were felt globally and included immense fires, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, followed by strong acid rain.
The ash in the atmosphere inhibited photosynthesis. The plant eaters died and the carnivores followed. The dinosaurs and great aquatic reptiles went extinct, never to be seen again. Or have they?
Reports of great beasts come from many times and places. The Loch Ness monster has been featured in legends dating back hundreds of years.
Eyewitnesses claim that this mysterious aquatic creature still makes appearances. The cryptid in Lake Ness is only one of many more dinosaur-like enigmas that presumably still walk (or swim) the Earth.
The Congo is the deepest river in the world and the jungle surrounding it is the second largest on the planet. Only a fraction of this virgin rainforest has been explored by modern humans. It stands to reason that they hold many secrets.
Tribes living in the Congolian forests have been passing down legends since immemorial times. They talk about the Mokele Mbembe, meaning the one who stops the flow of rivers as a fearsome creature with an elephant-like body, a long neck and tail and a small head.
Although a herbivore, this creature is aggressive and highly territorial. It prefers deep waters and would sometimes drag boats under if they dared disturb certain river bends.
One of the first expeditions in search of this animal that closely resembles an extinct sauropod happened in 1776. The members did not find the creature but they did stumble upon its footprints. Their circumference was over three feet. In the next 200 years, over 30 official expeditions followed but none could disprove the existence of Mokele Mbembe. The tribesmen still tell frightening stories and footprints are still found.
Is the Mokele Mbembe a species of dinosaur that managed to survive and adapt, making it largely unnoticed into modern times? Is it some other undiscovered creature. The questions are many and the answers lie in the deep, dark African jungle.
This is another creature from Africa, but stories of it have surfaced only recently. In November 2000, William Gibbons did some preliminary research in Cameroon for a future Mokele Mbembe.
He was accompanied by David Wetzel. They were planning an expedition to look for the fabled Mokele Mbembe when the locals told them of another thunderous animal that lived in the area.
Despite being smaller in size, it was said to fight elephants and rhinos over territory. The men said that it looked like a rhinoceros only it had six horns around a bony frill.
When shown pictures of a Triceratops, they said Ngoubou resembled it but had more horns. During the Late Cretaceous, there lived a dinosaur called Styracosaurus and it fits that description perfectly. The tribesmen took the issue seriously and they couldn’t have mistaken the creature for any known animal.
The locals had noted a firm decline in the population of these animals lately, making them harder to find. It is most likely to be a misidentified or exaggerated rhino, but may also be a surviving dinosaur.
Fossil records show that the flying Pterosaurs were a common sight during the time of dinosaurs. They were highly-specialized creatures that effortlessly glided the hot air currents of the Cretaceous seashores. The largest of them, Quetzalcoatlus had a wingspan of almost 35 feet and could easily swallow a human.
In late 2001 and early 2002, several people in Pennsylvania reported seeing huge flying creatures with long necks, similar to birds but lacking feathers. Their descriptions reminded people of similar sightings that happened in Texas, in 1978 and 1982.
Other reports come from the Congo River basin (again) where another huge creature with a bad attitude towards boats makes its nest. The people call it Kongamoto, the Overturner of Boats and describe it as having a smooth skin and a beak packed with sharp teeth. It would come out at dusk and fly between the hills.
An expedition in 1988 was looking for the 30 foot creature in Namibia when a member caught a glimpse of it. The creature looked exactly as the locals described it, a huge black shadow with white markings.
Dinosaurs like T. rex and Allosaurus were the top predators of their days. If they would have been around when humans first developed, we probably wouldn’t be here today. It looks like they only have a place in movies or our imagination. And in Australia.
The Australian Aboriginal people tell tales of a giant two-legged reptile with enormous jaws and tiny arms. In the 1950’s several ranchers found its tracks when searching for their missing cattle.
Suddenly, one of them made a run for the nearby river. The others heard terrifyingly loud grunts and saw the silhouette of a giant bipedal lizard disappearing in the brush.
The following morning they found the missing cattle. Some were mutilated while others were bitten in half.
The metabolism of dinosaurs is not yet understood. They were probably in between cold-blooded and warm-blooded animals. Some say they were adapted only to their warm environments and they perished as the weather changed.
But there are other reptilian creatures that existed before dinosaurs and are still thriving long after them. Snakes.
The largest snake ever discovered was Titanoboa cerrejonensis. Its fossilized remains suggested it reached lengths of over 40 feet. But not all bones turn into fossils and not all fossils are discovered. It wouldn’t be crazy to assume that even bigger ones existed.
But natives of South America have legends of much larger snakes. They are said to inhabit the murky waters of the Amazon, sometimes reaching lengths of over 150 feet. It is called the Yacumama, Mother of the Water. Although never documented, the natives swear by its existence.
The largest Anaconda reported measured about 25 feet in length. If real, the Yacumama could be an undiscovered species or a real adult anaconda. It could even be a surviving T. cerrejonensis.
The Amazon jungle is enormous and not fully explored. Who knows if it will ever give up its secrets.