Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Did the Kraken Exist?

So why did the fabulous Kraken go extinct?  The short answer is that it has not gone extinct.  After all human reports, rare as they are, go way back among sailors during the days when boats were small and slow enough to be mistaken for a whale.  Now we have the necessary fossil evidence of their nests or equivalent with the appropriate debris midden.

The difference today is that the kraken’s hunting protocol no longer overlaps human seagoing at all.

A Kraken on the hunt rises from the deep in pursuit of obvious prey such as a pod of whales.  This is a slow process by itself and must bring the creature stealthily into attack range of only a few meters below the surface itself or at least within a jet propelled sprint.  This movement is likely triggered by observation of a nearby population moving into range by the sounds they make.

An ambush attack provides a victim quickly subdued and drawn down to the deep to provide a food supply that would last a long time.

What we need to do now is to find a more recent such nest were the midden is not yet fossilized.

Did the Kraken exist after all? Fossils revive idea of ancient sea monster that turned its prey's bones into works of ART

Kraken is a legendary tentacled monster that ate whales and even ships
Markings found in 2011 gave rise to claims the Kraken may have existed
Researchers have now found a fossil said to belong to an ancient squid
They also found bones from the animal's prey arranged in strange patterns
Discoveries have revived claims about the mythical creature's existence

UPDATED: 16:33 GMT, 1 November 2013

As the story goes, the mythical Kraken was an ancient tentacled sea monster that ate whales and devoured entire ships.

In 2011 researchers found the remains of a marine lizard that had been arranged in a strange pattern by what they claimed was a giant Kraken-style octopus playing with its food.

These claims were widely criticised, but now new fossils discovered by the same researchers add further weight to the theory that the Kraken not only existed, but that he used his prey's bones as art. 

This fossil, found in Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park in Nevada by Professor McMenamin is believed to be part of the beak of a giant ancient octopus- or squid-type creature. This has revived claims made by McMenamin that a mythical tentacled sea monster called the Kraken may have actually existed

Both claims have been made by Professor Mark McMenamin, a paleontologist at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. 

Professor McMenamin initially found the strange arrangement of vertebrae of the ichthyosaur Shonisaurus popularis in Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park in Nevada. 

The shonisaurus was a sea reptile that lived around 200 million to 250 million years ago. 

His latest discoveries include the beak of what is believed to be an ancient cephalopod, as well as more bones arranged in unusual patterns and shapes. 

Discovery: Researcher Mark Professor McMenamin says this arrangement of lizard bones, which were brought to this area in a pattern of a tentacle, could prove the existence of the Kraken 

The new discovery of fossils, including this shell-like fossil believed to belong to an ancient octopus-type creature, made Professor's McMenamin's 'eyes pop out of his head' because they supported his 2011 theory about the existence of the Kraken

This new arrangement of ichthyosaur fossils, which Professor McMenamin saw from a photo taken at the University of Nevada's Museum of Natural History, show the bones laid out in the museum exactly how they had been found in the park.  

Next to the remains of the ichthyosaur was a 'debris pile' of scattered bones that were no longer in their correct order within the skeleton. 

McMenamin told LiveScience: 'When I saw that photograph, basically my eyeballs popped out.'

'We think one plausible explanation of this is an attack on the icthyosaur by a much larger predator.'

Professor McMenamin argues that the way the bones were arranged could not have occurred naturally. 

He reiterated his point at a meeting of geoscientists recently by saying there was 'virtually zero' chance the sea's currents could have moved them into such an arrangement. 

As the story goes, the mythical Kraken, illustrated here, was an ancient tentacled sea monster, which ate whales and devoured entire ships. Stories about this monster seem to date back to 12th century Norway. These tales often refer to a creature so big it was mistaken for an island

Professor McMenamin said that evidence of the Kraken, which would have been up to 30 metres long, comes from the vicious injures it inflicted on the giant marine reptile ichthyosaur, either by drowning the creature or snapping its neck. 

The researcher claims he can tell this by examining the placement and sucker markings on bones, which seems to prove the creatures were drowned or had their necks snapped by a Kraken-like creature.

But Professor Professor McMenamin said: 'I was aware that anytime there is controversy about depth, there is probably something interesting going on.'

A Kraken destroys the Edinburgh Trader in the 2006 Disney film Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, still from the film is pictured

'It became very clear that something very odd was going on there," he said. 'It was a very odd configuration of bones.

Professor McMenamin also noticed, because of the arrangement, that they had been carried away from where they were killed, leading him to think they had been carried to the Kraken's lair and dumped in the pattern of the mysterious creature's tentacles in a 'midden' - a pile of remains accumulated by the beast.

'Modern octopus will do this,' Professor McMenamin said. 'What if there was an ancient, very large sort of octopus, like the Kraken of mythology?'

'I think that these things were captured by the Kraken and taken to the midden and the cephalopod would take them apart.'

Professor McMenamin explained the absence of any Kraken fossils with the fact that octopuses are soft-bodied creatures, but sceptics say his explanation is simply circumstantial evidence. 

Today's cephalopods - even the largest - are rarely much bigger than a human being. The largest existing specimens of this Pacific giant octopus species tend to weigh around 150lb

No comments: