Wednesday, May 1, 2013
We have come to a pretty clear grasp of the life way of the pleiosaurs that remains extant. I will also add though that there are additional observations that suggests that we have more than one species involved. However they all reside most of their lives in the deep ocean under the thick surface layer, putting them well out of our reach.
Present observation is quite poor simply because we make an awful lot of noise when we are at sea and thus never catch them unaware when they do come to the surface. This did happen during the days of sail. The result is rare sightings of singular animals residing in a deep lake.
The surprise is just now many lakes actually have their local specimen. Effectively all acceptable lakes, even into the tropics, have witnesses and stories. Of course, they have little reason to talk to each other so little connecting of the dots has occurred. Again this creature is not out looking to encounter us anyway and may well be naturally shy of us.
I had reasonably assumed that the need to return from the sea to these lakes had a lot to do with their need to set up a niche to hold their eggs and that perhaps they hung around for hatching. It turns out that we have a far better explanation. This is all about a safe refugia for a live birth and early protection of its young. A simple cave would suffice and the young would remain there until they were ready to go down to the sea.
Thus any old swamp would not be suitable at all. What does work is a deep lake able to house the mother. Better these lakes will have food and no oceanic predators at all. Thus the young can grow to a size that is able to easily confront the natural risks in the Ocean.
I have only recently come to understand that live birthing was possible and confirmed in related species. That was really the final brick.
The success of this strategy is pretty obvious. We barely know that they exist. For that reason alone, there should be some speciation and others adapting to a similar lifeway particularly in the tropics. Thus I do have reports of creatures sporting back crests for example.
Again recall that these creatures operate at the temperature of the deep itself and need far less oxygen which they acquire though what must be external gills. They have no need to come to the surface ever to breath. I would be surprised to discover actual lungs here because of the depth that they operate at.
We now have reports from a mile down from Alvin, and a mile up in the Andes as well as reports from the Canadian and Russian boreal forests as well as the ones we have from more populated lake sides.
This short item came from a cryptid site on the internet and is quite useful in helping us understand that several real options actually exist. Again I do dismiss the mammal option simply because we have external gills and no surface breaching for air and live birth is established among reptiles.
Plesiosaurs are aquatic, predatory reptiles that lived during the same time period as the dinosaurs and are often wrongly thought to be dinosaurs. Plesiosaurs had paddles instead of legs. There were many species of plesiosaur that came in a number of shapes, including some elongated, serpentine forms. The classic plesiosaur can be described as having a turtle-shaped body (but without any shell) with a dinosaur's long neck and tail attached. There are certain sea serpents and lake monsters, such as the Loch Ness Monster, that strongly resemble plesiosaurs in many of the reports made by witnesses. Therefore, some people working in the field ofcryptozoology have suggested that the mystery of lake monsters and sea serpents has been solved. These creatures are surviving plesiosaurs, and as soon as we manage to capture one we will see that this is true.
However, the plesiosaur concept is an older theory that has lost credit in recent years. Current thinking in the field of cryptozoology has mostly discarded plesiosaurs in favor of zeuglodons, primitive whales that supposedly looked just like sea serpents. People working in the field of cryptozoology say that zeuglodons are more likely candidates than plesiosaurs because sea serpent and lake monster reports often contain features that indicate mammals, not reptiles. These features include hair, vertical spinal undulations and cold-water habitats. Even if something looked extremely like a plesiosaur, it could still be a zeuglodon. Known zeuglodons did not look hugely different from plesiosaurs, and if any zeuglodons were still around today, it is possible that they might look even more like plesiosaurs because of the forces of parallel evolution.
Quite a number of globsters (controversial rotten carcasses that wash up on sea shores) have been touted as plesiosaurs because they strongly resemble the classic plesiosaur shape. These nearly always get officially labeled as basking sharks, because when basking sharks become rotten enough and certain parts drop off, they develop an overall shape that looks remarkably like a dead plesiosaur. This fact is so well known among scientists that they seldom investigate such a globster first hand. Often the "basking shark" declaration is issued without a second thought whenever people claim that a dead plesiosaur has washed up on the beach. Most of the time, scientists are saving themselves from wasting time with yet another basking shark, but a few "plesiosaur" globsters have remained a force to be reckoned with in the field of cryptozoology, because they exhibited features not consistent with the basking shark hypothesis, such as the wrong size, a body with almost no rotting that still looked like a plesiosaur, or bone characteristics not found in sharks.
The basking shark hypothesis has also been used, erroneously, to explain away sightings of live creatures that resemble plesiosaurs. Basking sharks do not look anything like plesiosaurs until after they have become quite rotten. Reports of creatures swimming around in a very animate way and raising long necks from the water could not be basking sharks unless the witnesses had an incredible breakdown in their perceptual equipment. If the witnesses had suffered such a breakdown, it would be far easier to attribute the sighting to pure hallucination or to some living creature observed under very odd conditions than to a dead carcass that does nothing but float.