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Posted on Thursday, February 01 - 2007

" 2000-2007 SKYGAZE.COM Do dinosaurs still exist? The question may sound absurd. After all, conventional wisdom holds that these giant reptiles lapsed into extinction some 65 million years ago. Still, occasional reports from remote regions of the earth have kept the issue alive, if only t..."

2000-2007 SKYGAZE.COM

Do dinosaurs still exist? The question may sound absurd. After all, conventional wisdom holds that these giant reptiles lapsed into extinction some 65 million years ago. Still, occasional reports from remote regions of the earth have kept the issue alive, if only to readers of tabloid newspapers and to the handful of scientists, adventurers, and nature writers who have tried to make sense of the accounts and, where possible, to investigate them. Much of the investigation has centered on a legendary creature generally referred to mokele-mbembe and described as a sauropod-like animal, with a long neck, small head, bulky body, and tail. The first printed mention of the huge, plate-shaped tracks associated with the beast appears in a 1776 history of French missionaries in west-central Africa. In the next two centuries missionaries, colonial authorities, hunters, explorers, and natives would provide strikingly consistent descriptions of the animals supposedly responsible for tracks of this kind. Sighting reports in recent years have been confined to the swampy, remote Likouala region of the Congo.

In 1980 and 1981 University of Chicago biologist Roy P. Mackal led two expeditions to the area, the first in the company of herpetologist James H. Powell, Jr., who had heard mokele-mbembe stories while doing crocodile research in west-central Africa. Neither expedition produced a sighting, though Mackal and his companions interviewed a number of native witnesses. The creatures, greatly feared, were said to live in the swamps and rivers. A band of pygmies supposedly killed one at Lake Tele around 1959. Though the Mackal expeditions were unable to reach the nearly inaccessible Tele, a rival group, headed by American engineer Herman Regusters, successfully made the journey. Over a period of two to three weeks, he and his wife Kia Van Dusen would claim, huge long-necked animals came into view on several occasions, both in the water and in the swampy areas around the lake...


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