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The Cadborosaurus Wars

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on April 25th, 2012

Darren Naish has posted the following interesting article on his blog, Tetrapod Zoology.


Two renditions of ‘Cadborosaurus’ (upper one by C. M. Kosemen; one at lower right by Naish) with a pipefish. Not to scale!

As I aim to show here, dealing with cryptozoologists can be a frustrating, even infuriating, business. As most people interested in mystery animal research will know, Michael Woodley, Cameron McCormick and myself recently argued that an alleged ‘baby Cadborosaurus’ was very likely no baby sea-serpent at all, but rather a mangled and half-remembered description of a pipefish (Woodley et al. 2011). We tabulated the various observations reported by the witness (William Hagelund), compared them to lists of characters compiled by examining numerous candidate species, and showed as clearly as possible that the pipefish identification is the one that best matches Hagelund’s observations. In other words, we did our best to examine the identity of the alleged creature in an empirical, critical fashion (Woodley et al. 2011). As I explained last time round, we have to remember that Hagelund wrote up his description of the encounter about two decades after it actually occurred, and that he did not ascribe the various ‘cadborosaur’ traits to his animal that the primary supporters of ‘Cadborosaurus’ (Edward Bousfield and Paul LeBlond) said that he did.Darren Naish


William Hagelund’s ‘baby Cadborosaurus’ compared with a pipefish. Illustration by Cameron McCormick. See Woodley et al. (2011) for explanation.

Read the entire article on Tetrapod Zoology here: The Cadborosaurus Wars

About Craig Woolheater
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.


6 Responses to “The Cadborosaurus Wars”

  1. Richard888 responds:

    This sounds like a story I once read about the capture of a strange looking creature in the mini archipelago between Victoria and Vancouver. After capture the creature, that resembled a small serpent with long lateral flippers, was placed in a bucket of water until it could be given to a lab. But it began showing signs of extreme distress including shrills that made the capturer uncomfortable enough to eventually decide to release it. If the shrills are part of the story (and not something I invented later) how can they be explained if it was a fish?

  2. DWA responds:

    Is it just me?

    Or does Cadborosaurus just have to be the name of a really good, really big candy bar?

  3. nzcryptozoologist responds:

    Following this line of reasoning is it possible Cadborosaurus could be some form of unyet discovered giant Pipefish, living in cool watres gigantism would seem to make sense?

  4. John Kirk responds:

    The mini creature captured by Captain William Hagelund was no pipefish. First of all Hagelund knew it was not a fish. He was a whaling captain for many years and very familiar with BC’s aquatic life. Secondly, Hagelund said the mini Caddy swam with its head held out of the water which is something a pipefish can’t do. I have personally interviewed Captain Hagelund and he was adamant that this was an unknown species.
    Messrs. Naish and Woodley created a table of 29 characteristics and Caddy has 23 of these and the pipefish sixteen. There is a difference of seven characteristics and in some areas there is no match such as the anal fin and the dorsal fin which a pipefish has, but Hagelund’s creature does not. Their own table does not support the juvenile creature being a pipefish.

  5. Redrose999 responds:

    I kind of like the idea of a new species of pipefish.

  6. springheeledjack responds:

    While it is a theory, it’s still all that it is, empirically speaking.

    Since they didn’t see it, all that it is, is a possibility. However, from the acount I read, it didn’t behave like a fish. Even looking at the two drawings, there are distinct differences: the flippers, the lack of a back fin. The picture of the “Caddy” leads more to the idea that it was something undulating, which certainly couldn’t have been a piper fish.

    Not to mention the sounds it made. And I’m still going with the eye witness’s expertise when it comes to the fact that they saw something out of their normal experience. They had a lot of hours in on fishing, enough to give them benefits doubt.

    I’ve got problems with anyone speaking as “confidently” as they are when they’re working off of information years after the fact. I’ll accept that it’s a theory or a possibility, but they certainly haven’t proved (or even come close) the identity of what was captured briefly and put in a bucket.



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