Bigfoot DNA: Is it Real?

Does Bigfoot really Exist?

Does Bigfoot really Exist?
Description: “Artistic depiction of Bigfoot.”
Attribution: “LeCire”
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Melba Ketchum released her eagerly-awaited Bigfoot DNA research paper today…and already it’s looking like a disaster. No academics (just forensic experts) were involved in the research. In order to get their paper published, they were forced to purchase and relaunch their own peer-reviewed journal. The paper, from what I understand, assumes Bigfoot exists and then goes about setting to prove its existence. Ultimately, it concludes with this comment: “The data conclusively proves that the Sasquatch exist as an extant hominin and are a direct maternal descendant of modern humans.” I’ve written about pseudoscience extensively. And from the looks of it, this is pseudoscience at its finest.

“Good science isn’t about proclaiming a hypothesis to be fact. Rather, it’s about doing everything you can to refute your own hypothesis. This requires creating unique and creative tests in order to rule out alternative theories. But even if these tests are done in a comprehensive fashion, an unassailed hypothesis still isn’t fact. It merely hasn’t been refuted yet. It might hold up under thousands of different tests. But all it takes is one test to send it to the dustbin of history.” ~ David Meyer, Monsters, Ghosts, & UFOs: Protosciences…or Pseudosciences?

The jury is still out on the actual data. But early word is that the results look more like contamination than anything else. Also, there seem to be a lack of rigorous tests done on the data. Here’s more on the Bigfoot DNA paper from idoubtit at Doubtful News:

Melba Ketchum’s long LONG awaited paper on Bigfoot DNA is published today. But you’re not going to see it.

Back in November, Ketchum announced her results: A team of scientists can verify that their 5-year long DNA study, currently under peer-review, confirms the existence of a novel hominin hybrid species, commonly called “Bigfoot” or “Sasquatch,” living in North America. Researchers’ extensive DNA sequencing suggests that the legendary Sasquatch is a human relative that arose approximately 15,000 years ago as a hybrid cross of modern Homo sapiens with an unknown primate species.

There was no paper to go along with the results. There is now a paper. With it comes a BOATLOAD of issues that leave this announcement less than spectacular…

(See the rest at Doubtful News)

A “Loch Ness Monster” discovered in Siberia?

A Loch Ness Monster discovered in Siberia?

A Loch Ness Monster discovered in Siberia?
Description: “Hoding stood erect and whirled his axe up against the descending muzzle”
Attribution: Illustration by E.L. Blumenschein for “Thyra: A Romance of the Polar Pit” by Robert Ames Bennet (1901)
Source: Project Gutenberg Australia

Who needs the Loch Ness Monster? Siberia has its own version called the Devil, which actually predates Nessie. And unlike the Loch Ness Monster, there are actually bones here to back it up…or so an underwater scanner says. Here’s more from Mail Online:

Russian scientists claim to have spotted the ‘jaws and skeleton’ of a mystery creature which could be ‘the Siberian Loch Ness monster’. Divers braved temperatures of minus 42C to investigate long-held beliefs that a monster lives at the bottom of the remote Lake Labynkyr 4,500 miles east of Moscow in the Siberian wilderness. And the geologists told local media their underwater scanner found the remains of a jaws and skeleton which could be the rumoured beast nicknamed ‘the Devil’.

‘There have been all sort of hypothesises about what kind of creature it could be: a giant pike, a relic reptile or an amphibia. We didn’t manage to prove or to disprove these versions….. we managed to find remains of jaws and skeleton of some animal,’ Viktor Tverdokhlebov told the Siberian Times…

(See the rest at Mail Online)

The Dinosaur Expedition…What Went Wrong?

The Newmac Expedition, which hoped to investigate the legend of mokele-mbembe, the so-called last living dinosaur, appears to have come to an abrupt end. What went wrong?

“Is a Brontosaurus Roaming Africa’s Wilds?
The New York Herald, February 13, 1910
Source: Old Fulton NY Post Cards

Mokele-mbembe…the Last Living Dinosaur?

The Newmac Expedition used Kickstarter to raise $28,925 from 750 backers in order to categorize “plant and animal species in the vastly unexplored Republic of the Congo.” They described the Congo Basin as “a region of Central Africa larger than the state of Florida, more than 80% of which has been totally unexplored.”

Most of the publicity surrounding the Newmac Expedition has been centered on its interest in the mokele-mbembe. The mokele-mbembe, or “one who stops the flow of rivers,” is a mythological creature supposedly residing in the swamps of the Congo River Basin. Details vary but most descriptions refer to it as having a long neck, a long tail, and a relatively small head. Some cryptozoologists speculate it might be a sauropod…in other words, a dinosaur…the last living dinosaur.

The Expedition launched on June 26. Three days later, it suffered a major blow when Joe Marrero “decided to completely withdraw from the Newmac Expedition.”

“I am disappointed on how the expedition was managed and found it necessary to severe my involvement in the expedition. I wish Stephen and Sam the best of luck on their adventure.” ~ Joe Marrero

On July 19, we reported rumors that the Newmac Expedition had gone extinct. This has yet to be confirmed.

What happened to the Newmac Expedition?

Two days ago, Marrero posted an article on his website detailing his reasons for withdrawing from the Newmac Expedition. Ultimately, it came down to financial problems.

“Two days before Stephen and Sam left for the Congo, I had begun to suspect that the expedition had financial problems when I was told that a specific purchase was not within the budget. Within two days of the team entering the Congo, I was forced to withdraw from the expedition when I was told that there “wasn’t enough funds for three months.” This was shocking and I was disappointed that I had placed my reputation on the line, only to have someone I trusted disappoint me with their poor financial planning.” ~ Joe Marrero, “So what happened to the Newmac Expedition?”

Marrero also cleared up the mysteries surrounding the disappearance of the Newmac Expedition’s social media platform. It seems he was running the Twitter account as well as the website. When he disassociated himself with the group, he began the process of transferring those things to Stephen McCullah, co-leader of the Newmac Expedition.

Marrero announces Expedition to find Mokele-mbembe

In his article, Marrero stated his intention to launch a separate expedition to search for the mokele-mbembe. He plans to work with a professional hunter named Cam Greig. Apparently, Greig has led dozens of expeditions to Cameroon and seven to the Congo.

As many of you know, we’ve been working on our own expedition here at Guerrilla Explorer. Planning such a trip is no easy task. With that said, we’d like to offer a piece of advice for Marrero and Greig. They may want to consider targeting a different cryptid. If the Newmac Expedition is indeed defunct and ends up forfeiting on its promises, it could prove difficult to gather support for another expedition to the Congo.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Take

At this point, the rumors of the Newmac Expedition’s extinction are still just that…rumors. Its current and future status remains unknown. But as we mentioned the other day, the team members might experience financial ramifications from this whole affair. Kickstarter funds come at a cost. Project leaders are expected to fulfill certain pre-determined packages based on the amount of the donation.

In the case of the Newmac Expedition, packages range from $5 (which promises daily updates and pictures as well as “a genuine pygmy made string and bone bracelet) to $10,000 (which promises a whole bunch of stuff including having “a chosen species” named after the pledgee).

Based on Marrero’s article, the Expedition is at the very least short on cash. If the rumors are true and they were forced to return to the U.S., they’ll need to fund another trip to the Congo and find a way to fulfill their pledged promises. Either that or they’ll have to give out refunds, which could be difficult if the money has already been spent on gear and other things. The third option is to forfeit on the promises. We’re not sure what would happen in that case.

We’ll keep an eye on this situation for further developments. But for the moment, it appears the mokele-mbembe, if it even exists, is safe from discovery.

 

Guerrilla Explorer’s Coverage of the Newmac Expedition

The Dinosaur Expedition goes…Extinct?

Several months ago, the Newmac Expedition raised $30,000 from private donors to fund a trip to the Republic of Congo. Among other things, they hoped to investigate the legend of mokèlé-mbèmbé, the so-called last living dinosaur. Less than a week ago, the expedition hit a major snag. Now, it appears to have run into more troubles. Has the Newmac Expedition gone extinct?

The Hunt for the Last Living Dinosaur

The Newmac Expedition used Kickstarter to raise $28,925 from 750 backers in order to categorize “plant and animal species in the vastly unexplored Republic of the Congo.” They described the Congo Basin as “a region of Central Africa larger than the state of Florida, more than 80% of which has been totally unexplored.”

Most of the publicity surrounding the Newmac Expedition has been centered on its interest in the mokèlé-mbèmbé. The mokèlé-mbèmbé, or “one who stops the flow of rivers,” is a mythological creature supposedly residing in the swamps of the Congo River Basin. Details vary but most descriptions refer to it as having a long neck, a long tail, and a relatively small head. Some cryptozoologists speculate it might be a sauropod…in other words, a dinosaur.

The Expedition launched on June 26. Three days later, it suffered a major blow when Joe Marrero “decided to completely withdraw from the Newmac Expedition.”

“I am disappointed on how the expedition was managed and found it necessary to severe my involvement in the expedition. I wish Stephen and Sam the best of luck on their adventure.” ~ Joe Marrero

The Newmac Expedition…goes Extinct?

Yesterday, we received an anonymous tip that the Newmac Expedition had returned from the Congo. Supposedly, the group was forced to curtail its 3-month trip. The exact reason remains unclear but we were told that Expedition member Stephen McCullah posted a message on his personal Facebook page about a lack of research permits. We’ve also heard that the Expedition suffered gear losses via theft.

This information has yet to be confirmed. But if true, it explains Marrero’s decision to withdraw from the Expedition. Adding fuel to the fire are the changes made to the Newmac Expedition’s social media platform. Its website has been abandoned. The last Facebook update came on June 21. The last Twitter update, announcing the departure of Joe Marrero, came on July 10. And the last update on Kickstarter (which we are unable to access) came on July 13.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Take

Let’s assume for a moment the Newmac Expedition has gone defunct. What are the consequences? Well, the money raised from Kickstarter wasn’t free. People in various pledge categories (ranging from $5 to $10,000) were promised certain packages. For example, here’s the package for the $5 category:

“Everyone in this pledge category will receive daily updates and pictures of progress- Via text or email, so you will be one of the first to see the findings. Weeks ahead of the media. Furthermore we’ll send a you a genuine pygmy made string and bone bracelet to commemorate the launch of The Project.” ~ Documentary Expedition to Congo- KILLER REWARDS!!!

This package was initially scheduled for delivery in June. According to recent comments on the team’s Kickstarter page, at least some of the backers haven’t received it yet. However, from what we understand the delivery date was switched to October (coinciding with the Expedition’s original expected return date).

The $5 package is the simplest one. For example, people who pledged $50 were promised “an authentic piece of a new species of plant.” People in the $100 category were promised “a DVD collection of the entire trip and a handcarved Spear made by the Baka Pygmy people along with a picture of the person who carved it holding YOUR spear.” And the rewards only get more complicated from there.

If the project is indeed defunct, then this would appear to be a case of over-promising and under-delivery. And according to Kickstarter, unsuccessful projects are expected to be refunded.

“If you realize that you will be unable to follow through on your project after it has been successfully funded, you are expected to offer refunds to all your backers. To avoid problems, don’t over-promise when creating your project. If issues arise, communicate immediately, openly, and honestly with your backers.” ~ Kickstarter FAQ

All along, skeptics have claimed the Expedition was poorly-planned and perhaps ill-conceived. Unfortunately, that now appears to be the case. We’re still waiting for official word from the team. It’s always possible they will attempt to relaunch after they get everything straightened out. In fact, we have reason to believe this is their plan. But for the time being, it appears the Newmac Expedition has gone extinct.

 

Guerrilla Explorer’s Coverage of the Newmac Expedition

The Dinosaur Expedition Disintegrates?

Several weeks ago, the Newmac Expedition traveled to the Republic of Congo. Among other things, they sought to investigate the legendary mokele-mbembe, believed by some to be the last living dinosaur. But now, the expedition appears to have hit a major snag. Is this the end of the Newmac Expedition?

Dinosaur Skeleton
Photographer: Harris & Ewing (1913-1917)
Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

The Hunt for Mokele-mbembe?

The Newmac Expedition used Kickstarter to raise $28,925 from 750 backers in order to categorize “plant and animal species in the vastly unexplored Republic of the Congo.” They describe the Congo Basin as “a region of Central Africa larger than the state of Florida, more than 80% of which has been totally unexplored.”

Most of the publicity surrounding the Newmac Expedition has been centered on its interest in a strange creature known as mokele-mbembe. The mokele-mbembe, or “one who stops the flow of rivers,” is a mythological creature supposedly residing in the swamps of the Congo River Basin. Details vary but most descriptions refer to it as having a long neck, a long tail, and a relatively small head. Some cryptozoologists speculate it might be a sauropod…in other words, a dinosaur.

What’s New?

The Expedition launched on June 26. Three days later, it suffered a major blow when Joe Marrero “decided to completely withdraw from the Newmac Expedition.”

“I am disappointed on how the expedition was managed and found it necessary to severe my involvement in the expedition. I wish Stephen and Sam the best of luck on their adventure.” ~ Joe Marrero

The remaining members of the Expedition noted his departure over twitter.

“Joe Marrero has withdrawn from the expedition. We wish him the best on his future adventures.” ~ Newmac Expedition, July 10

As best as we can tell, the Newmac Expedition started out with five principals. According to their website, they are now down to three.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Take

Obviously, we don’t know the full story behind this situation. But the loss of a principal is no small matter. Unfortunately, this doesn’t bode well for the Newmac Expedition. This whole thing is starting to look exactly like what critics claimed it would be…a poorly-planned and perhaps ill-conceived operation. We’ll continue to follow this story as best we can but for now, the future of the Newmac Expedition appears to be in doubt.

 

What is the Dead Man’s Hand?

On August 2, 1876, Wild Bill Hickok was playing poker in Deadwood, South Dakota. Suddenly, a pistol fired. Hickok died instantly. His hand at the time, ”aces and eights,” has become known as the Dead Man’s Hand. But is that a legend? Or is it real?

James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok
Date: Unknown
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Wild Bill Hickok

James Butler Hickok was originally known as “Duck Bill,” apparently due to a large nose and an upper lip that jutted out from his face. Eventually, he grew a mustache and in 1861, adopted the moniker, Wild Bill.

His exploits in the Old West were legendary. He was a skilled scout and an expert marksman. He fought and killed a bear with his bare hands, suffering severe injuries in the process. He killed Davis Tutt in the first known “quick draw duel.” He acted in a play called Scouts of the Plains with Buffalo Bill Cody and Texas Jack Omohundro. Calamity Jane, the famous American frontierswoman, claimed to have married him.

In July 1876, Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane arrived in Deadwood, South Dakota via wagon train. Some say he had a premonition of sorts regarding his impending death.

“Well, as to that, I suppose I am called a red-handed murderer, which I deny. That I have killed men I admit, but never unless in absolute self-defense or in the performance of an official duty. I never in my life took any mean advantage of an enemy. Yet, understand, I never allowed a man to get the drop on me. But perhaps I may yet die with my boots on.” ~ Wild Bill Hickok to Mrs. Annie Tallent, Several months before his death, Pioneer Days in the Back Hills, John S. McClintock

On August 2, 1876, Wild Bill Hickok entered Nuttal & Mann’s Saloon No. 10. He usually sat with his back to the wall. However, the only available stool required him to put his back to the door. He sat down and started to play five-card-draw. But he was uncomfortable with the arrangement and twice, asked another player named Charles Rich to switch stools with him. Rich refused.

Dead Man’s Hand

During the game, a former buffalo hunter named John McCall strode into the saloon. He parked himself a few feet away from Hickok and drew his pistol. “Take that!” he shouted as he fired it. The bullet careened through Hickok’s skull and Wild Bill died instantly.

According to popular legend, Hickok held two black aces and two black eights at the time of his death. The fifth card, or kicker, is a source of mystery. Some claim it was the queen of clubs. Others say it was the nine of diamonds, the jack of diamonds, the five of diamonds, or the queen of hearts. Still others say no fifth card ever existed, suggesting Hickok was in the middle of drawing a new card when he was murdered.

But what about the “aces and eights” part? Is that accurate? Well, no contemporary sources exist that indicate what cards Hickok was holding at the time of his death. “Aces and eights” was provided by Frank J. Wilstach in his 1926 book, Wild Bill Hickok: The Prince of Pistoleers. Wilstach quoted “Doc” Peirce, the town barber, who was asked to serve as an “impromptu undertaker.”

“Now, in regard to the position of Bill’s body, when they unlocked the door for me to get his body, he was lying on his side, with his knees drawn up just as he slid off his stool. We had no chairs in those days — and his fingers were still crimped from holding his poker hand. Charlie Rich, who sat beside him, said he never saw a muscle move. Bill’s hand read ‘aces and eights’ — two pair, and since that day aces and eights have been known as ‘the dead man’s hand’ in the Western country.” ~ Ellis T. “Doc” Peirce, Wild Bill Hickok: The Prince of Pistoleers

This account was published 50 years after Hickok’s death. It has yet to be collaborated by any outside source.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Take

If Peirce was right, then aces and eights was known as the dead man’s hand in “the Western country.” However, newspapers from that location and period tell a different story. The first known mention of a Dead Man’s Hand, a July 1, 1886 article in the Grand Forks Daily Herald, not only disagrees with the Hand itself but also its origin.

“I was present at a game in a Senator’s house one night and saw him win $6,000 on one hand. It was the dead man’s hand. What is the dead man’s hand? Why, it is three jacks and a pair of tens. It is called the dead man’s hand because about forty seven years ago, in a town in Illinois, a celebrated judge bet his house and lot on three jacks and a pair of tens…When his opponent showed up he had three queens and a pair of tens. Upon seeing the queens the judge fell back dead, clutching the jacks and tens in his hand, and that’s why a jack-full on tens is called the dead man’s hand.” ~ Grand Forks Daily Herald, July 1, 1886

Later accounts show different versions, including jacks and eights, tens and treys (threes), and jacks and sevens. Regardless, none of these articles connect the Dead Man’s Hand to Wild Bill Hickok.

At this point, the definitive origin of the Dead Man’s Hand remains an unsolved mystery. If the Wild Bill Hickok story could be proved by contemporary sources, it would be the oldest known version of the legend. For those of you in the New York area, consider taking a trip down to the New York Public Library. That’s where Wilstach’s papers are located. Perhaps there’s some additional information in “Doc” Peirce’s letter. Or maybe, just maybe, there’s some other evidence waiting to be found. If you find anything, let us know and we’ll cover your discovery right here on Guerrilla Explorer. Who knows? You just might solve one of history’s most puzzling unsolved mysteries!

 

Guerrilla Explorer’s Wild West Coverage

The Newmac Expedition: What is the Mokele-Mbembe?

Tomorrow, the Newmac Expedition leaves for the Republic of Congo. Among other things, they seek to investigate a strange legend, centuries in the making. What is the mokele-mbembe?

Is Mokele-mbembe the last living dinosaur?
“Mrs. Tooler-Monde, President of the Fortieth Century club, takes her husband to see the newly restored Prehistoric Monster”
Drawn by Oliver Herford (1918)
Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

Background on Mokele-mbembe

As you may recall from yesterday, the Newmac Expedition used Kickstarter to raise $28,925 from 750 backers in order to categorize “plant and animal species in the vastly unexplored Republic of the Congo.” They describe the Congo Basin as “a region of Central Africa larger than the state of Florida, more than 80% of which has been totally unexplored.”

Most of the publicity surrounding the Newmac Expedition has been centered on its interest in a strange creature known as mokele-mbembe. The mokele-mbembe, or “one who stops the flow of rivers,” is a mythological creature supposedly residing in the swamps of the Congo River Basin. Details vary but most descriptions refer to it as having a long neck, a long tail, and a relatively small head.

“The animal is said to be of a brownish-gray color with a smooth skin, its size is approximately that of an elephant; at least that of a hippopotamus. It is said to have a long and very flexible neck and only one tooth but a very long one; some say it is a horn. A few spoke about a long, muscular tail like that of an alligator. Canoes coming near it are said to be doomed; the animal is said to attack the vessels at once and to kill the crews but without eating the bodies. The creature is said to live in the caves that have been washed out by the river in the clay of its shores at sharp bends. It is said to climb the shores even at daytime in search of food; its diet is said to be entirely vegetable.” ~ German Captain Freiherr von Stein zu Lausnitz, 1913, Published in Willy Ley’s 1959 book, Willy Ley’s Exotic Zoology

What is the Mokele-mbembe?

So, what is the mokele-mbembe? Well, many cryptozoologists speculate it might be a sauropod. Sauropods were dinosaurs. Their ranks included the Diplodocus and the Apatosaurus (better known as the Brontosaurus). Like all dinosaurs, the sauropods are believed to have died out 65.5 million years ago in the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) extinction event. Not a single dinosaur bone has ever been found above the K-Pg boundary, which is a layer of sediment in the earth’s crust marking the switch from the Cretaceous Period (K) to the Paleogene Period (Pg). This indicates that non-avian dinosaurs became extinct at or before the creation of this boundary.

There’s no hard evidence proving the existence of the mokele-mbembe. Photographs exist but they don’t show much of anything. And that’s in spite of the fact that various expeditions have scoured the Congo River Basin for decades.

On the other hand, reports of the creature go back a long way. For example, in 1776, a French missionary named Abbé Lievain Bonaventure wrote about strange footprints seen by natives in the Congo.

“The missionaries have observed in passing along a forest, the track of an animal which they have never seen; but it must be monstrous, the prints of its claws are seen on the earth, and formed an impression on it of about three feet in circumference. In observing the posture and disposition of the footprints, they concluded that it did not run in this part of its way, and that it carried its claws at the distance of seven or eight feet one from the other.” ~ Abbé Lievain Bonaventure, History of Loango, Kakonga, and other Kingdoms in Africa (1776), Translated by John Pinkerton in A General Collection of the Best and Most Interesting Voyages and Travels in all Parts of the World: Volume 16 (1914)

Obviously, the natives have believed in the mokele-mbembe for centuries. However, it’s unclear whether they consider the creature to be a real-life physical animal or some kind of spirit.

Most likely, the mokele-mbembe doesn’t exist. A second possibility is that the creatures eyewitnesses have seen are actually giant monitor lizards. Regardless, we’re curious about this. As such, we’ll be doing our best to follow the Newmac Expedition. Fair warning though…it could prove challenging. They will be traveling through extremely remote areas. Also, it appears daily updates and photos will initially be distributed only through donors. So, news might be rare for the time being.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

Incidentally, one of the running themes here at Guerrilla Explorer is our deep skepticism toward most so-called cryptids. Not all cryptids, mind you. But many of the popular, land-based ones.

“If undiscovered megafauna still exist on Earth, the most likely place to find them is in the ocean. After all, in the past twenty years, scholars have discovered eight large previously-unknown marine animals. Thus, from where I stand, the most believable cryptids are so-called sea monsters such as the Daedalus Sea Serpent and the Valhalla Sea Serpent.” ~ David Meyer, Bigfoot Lives…!

It seems highly unlikely that undiscovered air or land-based megafauna like the Thunderbird or Bigfoot are anything more than long-running figments of our imagination. We have slightly more faith in the Yeti and the mokele-mbembe, although not much. The Yeti supposedly lives in the frigid, treacherous Himalayas. The mokele-mbembe resides in the swamps of remote, isolated jungles. Few people live in these areas and the conditions make expeditions difficult.

But while we’re skeptical of cryptids, we certainly don’t reject the possibility of their existence. One of the things that frustrates us about modern science is the built-in disdain many researchers hold for fields like cryptozoology. Regardless of our opinions, we must continue to evaluate any and all scientific claims with an open mind…even if its about the legendary Sasquatch or an undiscovered dinosaur living in the Congo. After all, that’s what science is all about.

“What I object to in particular is the knee-jerk reaction that any interest in cryptozoology makes you a crank or a naïve believer in the impossible. Not only are some targets of cryptozoology entirely ‘believable’ (example: new marine sharks and cetaceans), the assumption that people interested in cryptozoology necessarily ‘believe’ in the existence of the supposed targets of cryptozoology is erroneous. Clearly, you can investigate mystery animal reports because you’re interested in what they might tell you about the evolution and transmission of folklore, the reliability and abilities of eyewitnesses, and so on. Furthermore, I always thought that the scientific evaluation of claims of any kind was meant to be a good thing. Basically, there’s definitely science to do here, whether you advocate the possible existence of the respective supposed animal species or not.” ~ Darren Naish, Paleontologist

 

Guerrilla Explorer’s Coverage of the Newmac Expedition

The Search for the Last Dinosaur?

In two days, the Newmac Expedition will head to the Republic of Congo. The members hope to find something that will stun the world. Do Africa’s deepest jungles conceal mokele-mbembe, the last of the dinosaurs?

Is Mokele-mbembe the last living dinosaur?
“Norman Ross of the division of Paleontology, National Museum, preparing the skeleton of a baby dinosaur some seven or eight million years old for exhibition” (March 19, 1921)
Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

Background on the Newmac Expedition

The Newmac Expedition consists of five young explorers. Using Kickstarter, they raised $28,925 from 750 backers in order to categorize “plant and animal species in the vastly unexplored Republic of the Congo.” They describe the Congo Basin as “a region of Central Africa larger than the state of Florida, more than 80% of which has been totally unexplored.”

“Our first expedition will be dubbed The Newmac Expedition. It will be a preliminary three month (or as long as our health allows) four man venture. We’ll launch on June 26th and we anticipate discovering hundreds of new insect, plant, and fish species during the course of our research and work in the area. There is also the legitimate hope of discovering many reptile and mammalian species as well. We have received reports from week to two week expeditions in the region of eye witnesses seeing canine sized tarantulas, large river dwelling sauropods, and a species of man eating fish (which was recently discovered on river monsters).” ~ Stephen Mccullah, Newmac Expedition

Large River Dwelling Sauropods = Mokele-mbembe?

Good lord. Canine sized tarantulas? Man eating fish? And what’s this about sauropods? Sauropods were dinosaurs. They possessed long necks, giant tails, and rather tiny heads. Their ranks included the Diplodocus and the Apatosaurus (better known as the Brontosaurus). Like all dinosaurs, the sauropods are believed to have died out 65.5 million years ago in the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) extinction event. The exact cause of the K-Pg extinction event is unknown. Many scientists blame it on the asteroid that caused the Chicxulub crater in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. But this is controversial to say the least.

“However, not everyone believes the official story. These individuals point to the fact that dinosaur bones become less frequent as they approach the K-Pg boundary. Also, there is a “fossil gap” since no bones have ever been found within the boundary itself. Taken together, these things indicate that the extinction predated the impact at Chicxulub. If this is the case, then dinosaurs were probably killed off more gradually, by things such as a volcanic winter, the Deccan traps, falling sea levels, and/or climate change.” ~ David Meyer, What Killed the Dinosaurs?

Could a living, breathing sauropod exist today? It seems unlikely. Dinosaur bones have never been found above the K-Pg boundary, which is a layer of sediment in the earth’s crust marking the switch from the Cretaceous Period (K) to the Paleogene Period (Pg). This indicates that non-avian dinosaurs became extinct at or before the creation of this boundary.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

However, that hasn’t stopped the stories. According to native tribes, a mythological creature known as mokele-mbembe (“one who stops the flow of rivers”) exists in the Congo Basin. Many cryptozoologists believe this creature could be a real-life sauropod. However, no one has ever found definitive proof of its existence.

Does the mokele-mbembe exist? Is it a sauropod? Curiously enough, in 2009, the television show MonsterQuest claimed to have seen sonar images of long, serpent-like creatures in the Congo Basin. Of course, sonar imagery is always problematic. But still…

 

Guerrilla Explorer’s Coverage of the Newmac Expedition

The Baltic Anomaly: What is the next “Anomaly”?

The mystery behind the Baltic Anomaly continues to deepen. While we wait for samples to be analyzed, it seems like a good time to look at some other exciting Baltic Anomaly-type expeditions coming up over the next year or so.

“The great sea-serpent, found in Hungary Bay, Bermuda, on January 22, 1860″
Sketched by W.D. Munro for Harper’s Weekly (March 3, 1860)
Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

The Newmac Expedition (June 26, 2012)

The Newmac Expedition consists of five young explorers who plan to search the deepest jungles of the Republic of Congo for…you guessed it…a dinosaur! The expedition has raised almost $30,000 and hopes to discover the source of a mysterious mythological creature named the mokele-mbembe. For decades, eyewitnesses have reported sightings of this odd animal. While most scientists doubt it exists, some cryptozoologists think it could be a sauropod, which resembles a brontosaurus.

The Earhart Project (July 2, 2012)

On July 2, 1937, Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan vanished while attempting a circumnavigational flight around the Earth. Their disappearance is one of the most famous mysteries of all time. For more than two decades, the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) has searched for them, focusing most of its efforts on tiny Gardner Island.

On July 2, 2012, the 75th anniversary of Amelia’s and Fred’s disappearances, TIGHAR will venture back to Gardner Island, hoping to once and for all solve this enduring mystery.

The North Pole Inner Earth Expedition (July 2013)

The Hollow Earth hypothesis proposes the Earth is, well, hollow. Once a fairly serious theory, it has lost almost all credibility in the eyes of mainstream science since the late 1700s.

However, a fervent band of believers still exists. Apparently, they are launching an expedition to the North Pole region in July 2013 to search for an entrance into the Earth’s interior.

“The science is real. The story is more than 5,000 years old. The legend says that at a certain place above the Arctic Circle, there exists an oceanic depression or an entrance into the Earth. It’s a place where the maritime legend claims sea level isn’t level anymore.”

“The discovery that the earth is hollow would forever shatter our long-held beliefs about how planets are formed. More importantly, however, discovering life beneath the earth’s crust could potentially provide us with new tools that would allow life on the surface to regain environmental balance, harmony, and possibly even peace. These prospects make the North Pole Inner Earth Expedition the greatest expedition in the history of the world.” ~ North Pole Inner Earth Expedition Web Site

Unfortunately, we’re a little skeptical of this trip. Scratch that. We’re very skeptical. This trip was scheduled to begin as early as 2009 (here’s a business plan to that effect). Also, we can’t help but notice that the trip is asking for massive donations to the effect of $350,000. So, this could very well be a hoax. But we’re holding out hope.

The Guerrilla Explorer Expedition (201?)

Once upon a time, the entire world thrilled to the exploits of arduous journeys into the unknown. Henry Morton Stanley’s search for Dr. David Livingstone. Sir Edmund Hillary’s venture to the highest peak of Mount Everest. The Race to the North Pole. The Moon Race.

But after generations of explorers and the rise of satellite technology, the world often feels small and lacking in mystery. Mankind has ventured to the four corners of the Earth, the deepest parts of the ocean, and into space. What could possibly be left to explore?

The Ocean X Team’s expedition to the Baltic Anomaly as well as the expeditions listed above hark back to some of those fascinating adventures from days gone by. The truth is there is so much out there still waiting to be discovered. Space remains virtually unexplored. And new discoveries are made everyday across the world. We here at Guerrilla Explorer do our best to showcase as many of them as possible.

We can’t make any official announcements yet. But we’re working on some expedition concepts of our own. So, stay tuned…exciting days are ahead!

Guerrilla Explorer’s Coverage of the Baltic Anomaly

Killing an Ancient…Vampire?

Vampires might be mythological beings. But for centuries, people from across the world have feared them. So, how did ancient people deal with suspected vampires?

How did ancient people deal with suspected vampires?

How did ancient people deal with suspected vampires?
Description: Le Vampire Engraving
Attribution: R. de Moraine (1864)
Source: Wikimedia Commons

How did Ancient People deal with Suspected Vampires?

Generally speaking, vampires are mythological creatures who feed on the blood (the essence of life) of living individuals. They’ve been scaring people for centuries, perhaps all the way back to the prehistoric era. Recently, archaeologists excavated numerous skeletons dating back to the Middle Ages. They were found near Sozopol, Bulgaria. Curiously enough, the skeletons’ chests had been pinned down with iron rods.

“These two skeletons stabbed with rods illustrate a practice common up until the first decade of the 20th century.” ~ Bozhidar Dimitrov, Head of the National History Museum, Sofia, Bulgaria

Apparently, more than 100 similar corpses have been discovered in Bulgaria. While belief in vampires was common across many ancient cultures, individual groups of people developed their own ways of dealing with them.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

Staking was fairly common, although the choice of stake and its placement varied. In this case, iron rods were hammered into the chest bones (the heart was probably the most common placement elsewhere, with the mouth and stomach being other popular targets). Most likely, the chest was chosen so the rod would deflate the corpse as it started to bloat into a vampire.

Nowadays, vampires have become a significant part of the horror genre. But many centuries ago they were regarded as much more than mere fiction…they were a horrifying reality…a reality that could only be stopped by the most extreme measures.