Saturday, June 11, 2011

Beast Hunter

I saw two episodes (looking for Cadborosaurus and the Amazon beast called mapinguari) of the new National Geographic cryptozoology series "Beast Hunter." Not bad - certainly better than most programming on the subject. Biologist Pat Spain seems to be under contract to utter the word "scientific" at least 400 times an episode, but he's open-minded and as thorough as the one-hour format allows. (Spain is related to Charles Fort, the famed collector of oddities). He thinks there is a real unknown animal in the Cadborosaurus saga, perhaps something that normally inhabits the deeps and surfaces only occasionally. He meets a scientist at Woods Hole who cites, approvingly Charles Paxton's statistical work estimating some 10-50 large undiscovered animals remain in the ocean. Spain looks at the conventional explanations and is careful to note how eyewitness error, fear, and myth can influence what is reported. Spain also says the bizarre, serpentlike oarfish can grow to 50 feet, and I wonder where he is getting that - 25 seems to be about the longest documented.


omegaman66 said...

There are numerous websites that report the oarfish reaching length of over 50 feet. Such as here: Oarfish Not sure of the length of the one in the picture on that page but it looks to be close to 30 feet or so. Officially the largest I can find is on the order of 36 feet long. But considering nobody really fishes for these things it is doubtful the offical world record as large as they get. So 50 some odd feet long doesn't sound to far fetched.

Matt Bille said...

Good point. I should haver done a little more pre-reading and used the 11m record. Several sites do mention 17m, but it seems 11 is the longest where the carcass was actually in hand.