Monday, February 25, 2013

Cryptid Expeditions

My friend and fellow cryptozoologist, Nick Redfern, just wrote an article listing the top three cryptids that he’d like to search for.

Nick wrote the post in response to a question I’ve been asked myself on a number of occasions: “What strange creature, which you haven’t yet searched for, would you like to chase down?”  It’s a great question and since cryptozoology is a vast field, there are plenty of strange creatures to chose from.  Nick puts forth some interesting, personal choices and in the spirit of his post, I thought I’d join in the fun by listing three that spring to my mind when asked this question.

First for me is the Thylacine.  Also known as the Tasmanian Tiger, the Thylacine existed in abundance in Tasmania in the early days of Australia’s settlement.  The animal has a canid like appearance with tiger stripes on it’s upper portion.  Farmers constantly blamed this carnivorous marsupial for the loss of livestock and the result was a bounty for Thylacine pelts.  By the time anyone had the good sense to step in and try to prevent the complete extinction of the species, there were only a handful of the creatures left.  The last Thylacine killed in the wild was shot in 1930.  By 1936, official protection was put in place for the species but sadly, the last animal in captivity died two months later.
The Thylacine may not have vanished completely though.  Over the years, there have been numerous reports from people who believe they have seen a Thylacine in the wild.  Even as recently as January 2013, possible video has surfaced that may prove the animal still exists.  The wilds of Tasmania are home to many unusual and dangerous animals.  Perhaps the Thylacine still roams, trying to keep its distance from humans.  I for one, would love to find out.

Second is the Mongolion Death Worm.  Although I’ve traveled in Asia, I’ve never been to Mongolia or the Gobi Desert where this animal is reputed to dwell.  The death worm is supposed to reach lengths of two to five feet and have a bright red color.  It earned it’s name due to it’s reported ability to emit an electrical discharge that can kill a human from a distance.
Additionally, it can spew forth acid that will corrode anything it touches.  Mongolian natives have long told tales of the death worm but it wasn’t brought to the attention of westerners until 1926 when Professor Roy Chapman Andrews mentioned it in his book, “On the Trail of Ancient Man”.

While the death worm is certainly part of Mongolian tribal belief, many people are skeptical that it truly exists.  Westerners have taken a tongue in cheek approach to the stories.  The popular film series “Tremors” was loosely based on the death worm and featured giant worm like creatures that could sense a human’s vibration on the desert floor.

A few expeditions have been launched to search for the creature, but no solid evidence has ever been found.  Still, wandering the Gobi desert looking for a giant death worm is sure to be a great outing.

Last but not least, I’ll agree with Nick on one of his listing.  The Megalania prisca.  Many of you will not have heard of this creature.  It’s a large, carnivorous lizard that can grow up to twenty feet in length.  Sometimes called the ‘giant ripper lizard’ the Megalania seems to have vanished around 40,000 years ago.  The Megalania has toxin secreting glands and is the largest venomous vertebrate known to have existed, and it may still be out there.  Reports from the sub-tropical area of Australia have surfaced through the years that indicate that this creature may still survive in modern times.  Imagine, a giant, flesh eating lizard twenty feet in length charging out of the tropics.  If it’s really there, it would be quite a challenge to launch a quest for it.  So Nick, when you’re ready, I’ve got a bag packed, though searching for the death worm may be a lot safer!

Nick Redfern’s post can be found here:

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