Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sea serpents = new pinnipeds?

Dr. Darren Naish and two co-authors are publishing a peer-reviewed sceintific paper asking whether unclassified species of pinnipeds (seals, sea lions) are indicated by "sea serpent" reports. THeir conclusion is that there may be as many as three species of pinnipeds, one of them upwards of 10m long, behind the serpent tales.
The authors analyze the rate of discovery of pinnipeds and other large marine vertebrates and report that new pinnipeds (the last truly new species was classified in 1905), statistically speaking, can still be expected. THey try to emphasize that the article is not about sea serpents, but about new pinnipeds, although they admit the sea serpent aspect is what's going to be featured in the media.
This paper may be a major breakthrough for cryptozoology, assuming at least one new pinniped turns up to bolster it with "ground truth" ("water truth"?) It's an impressive piece of work by any standard.

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