What comes to mind when you think about the word “dinosaur”? For most people, the word conjures thoughts of the dawn of time or bones in a museum. For others, it brings thoughts of movies or books. Others may think about video games or family events. What do all of these things have in common? The tie that binds all of these thoughts together is that none of them place dinosaurs in the modern day. It is a scientifically proven fact that dinosaurs walked this Earth many years ago. The dominated the population through three periods in time, the Triassic period, the Jurassic period, and the Cretaceous period. Then, sadly, they were wiped out of existence. However, for some people, the belief that dinosaurs are gone is laughable. Some people believe that some dinosaurs survived all of those years ago and continue to thrive. This may sound insane to some people, after all, dinosaurs were huge! How could they possibly be around now and everyone not knows it? The world is filled with various myths and legends. Each one of these myths is generally rooted in some grain of truth that has been altered through every retelling. In some cases, the facts are easier to find than others. When faced with something that seems impossible, the human brain races to come up with an explanation, this often leads to something small morphing into the biggest monster imaginable. Other times, the story is a version of the truth, just perhaps not an exact version. Still other times, there seems to be no explanation at all. There are also times when the truth is far more strange than any story someone could dream up. The question that must be asked in regards to modern day dinosaurs is, is it possible?
There are many legends around the world of large creatures, but one of the largest is by far mokele-mbembe. This creature is said to roam Central Africa, specifically the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mokele-mbembe is said the be around thirty-five feet long. It is described as having a long flexible neck and brown/gray skin. Supposedly, this creature resides in caves and enjoys digging the riverbanks. As for diet, it is believed to consume crocodiles, hippos, and even elephants. Africa, like most areas of the world, has always had legends and stories that have been passed down from one generation to the next. There are locals who swear that they have seen the elusive beast mokele-mbembe, others claim to have seen its gigantic footprints along moist stretches of land. There have been so many stories and supposed sightings, that this particular legend became of interest to cryptozoologists all over the globe. Many have even gone to the depths of the Congo in search of this supposed living dinosaur. While cryptozoology is recognized as a field of study now, it is looked down on by many scientists as being a “pseudoscience”. Because of this, many within this area of study are working harder than ever before to separate fact from fiction and to gain hard evidence to back up their beliefs. One of the first questions many people ask is, how long ago did the dinosaurs live? This is because many people try to determine if it is possible for a creature to truly survive for that long.
Mokele-mbembe has been of particular interest to many researchers include Daniel Loxton and Donald Prothero the authors of a book titled “Abominable Science: Origins of The Yeti, Nessie, and Other Famous Cryptids. These two researchers dove headfirst into the local lore and legend to sort through the information and find the facts. What they discovered may be a bit disappointing to some. They found that there was no mention of mokele-mbembe until after the discovery of fossilized dinos. In fact, the first mention of this creature that they were able to find lies within the pages of a book from the year 1909 written by a man named Carl Hagenbeck. The book was titled “Beasts and Men” and in it, while discussing some recently discovered dino bones, speculated that sauropods, long-necked dinosaurs could still exist in the depths of Africa. This statement was quickly taken up by the media in headlines such as “Brontosaurus Still Lives”. This is not actual proof of anything other than the fact that the media has always loved to pounce on any potential story and run with it regardless of fact. Because of the fact that they were unable to locate any mention of mokele-mbembe before this, Mr. Loxton and Mr. Prothero determined that this creature is nothing more than a legend.
Perhaps one of the most famous tails of a potential living dinosaur is the Loch Ness Monster. Not everyone believes Nessie to be a remnant of the time of the dinosaurs, but many do. There is an abundance of theories as to what exactly Nessie could be, but one of the strongest cases states that she is a surviving dinosaur that took Loch Ness as her home. While this is as plausible a theory as any, there are a few things to consider. One of the biggest things to consider is this, if Nessie exists and is a living dinosaur, then there is a family of them in the Loch. It would be impossible for one dinosaur to still be living and active from the time that Nessie was first supposedly spotted and now. This means that there would have to be at least a couple of these creatures, a male and a female. They would have to be able to reproduce to keep the possibility of continued sightings. If this were true, it is likely that they would not be able to thrive because of a lack of resources. Think about the size Nessie is supposed to be to be and then think of the size of the Loch. Now take into consideration how crowded Loch Ness would be if there were three of these creatures at the same time, a male, a female, and offspring. Also, it can only be speculated at why the birth rate of this living dino would be. It is possible that they would have more than one offspring in a single pregnancy. The Loch is not equipped to handle that many huge creatures.