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Pondering OOP Dolphins and Manatees

Posted by: Loren Coleman on October 28th, 2006

What is to be made of the recent reports of river-dwelling manatees and now a dolphin? Have some of these known species been misidentified as cryptids in the past? Well, yes, they probably have been.

First, let me share a mention of the newest account. Reporter Elizabeth Ratto of the Boston Globe writes that a “common dolphin” was sighted on Friday, October 27, 2006:

…swimming in the Fore River, just outside the Braintree Yacht Club, until it exited Boston Harbor with high tide around 3 p.m., according to Tony LaCasse, spokesman for the New England Aquarium.

The aquarium was alerted that the dolphin was in the river late in the morning and volunteer biologists were able to observe the 7-foot-long and roughly 200 pound dolphin from a yacht club float.

The news organization noted that the last time a dolphin was reported in Boston Harbor was in 2004.

This incident follows this summer’s Hudson River, New York sightings of an “out of place” (OOP) manatee nicknamed by the media, Tappie. Jokes about it being the “Loch Ness Monster,” as you will recall, were part of the reportage at the time.

Tennessee Manatee

October 2006 saw another OOP report from the Mississippi River’s Mud Island Harbor of sightings of a manatee. It was even photographed (see above), putting to rest any doubt about the reality of the “Memphis Manatee”.

As one recent commentator shared here, when pondering the Memphis event: “Hmm makes you wonder if this is actually a more common occurrence and we just don’t see manatees or misidentify them other times. Maybe there are many ‘lake monsters’ that are in fact manatees that have swam up river.”

I would agree wholeheartedly without going overboard, but, yes, this is one of the cautions that comes to mind for most cryptozoologists investigating Lake and River Monsters.

Indeed, Patrick Huyghe and I looked to a manatee to explain a frequently reported cryptid from a lake in South America. In The Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents, and Other Mystery Denizens of the Deep (page 188), we wrote: “Bolivia’s 12-foot ‘Lake Titicaca Seal,’ seen mostly around the Copacabana peninsula and the Strait of Tiquina, is most probably a form of the Amazon Manatee (Trichechus inunguis), the only exclusively freshwater form of Sirenian.”

OOP animals, I have always felt, need to be tracked as the possible sources of some explanations for a few cryptids. Even the out-of-place alligators….

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.


5 Responses to “Pondering OOP Dolphins and Manatees”

  1. ilexoak responds:

    Do you think that feral pythons, boas and such could also account for some aquatic monsters? Chessie immediately comes to mind.

    Wayne

  2. matonagi responds:

    I tend to agree that certain lake and river monsters are really dolphins or manatees. Time will tell.

  3. Bob Michaels responds:

    I would tend to agree with the caveat that a budding cryptozoologist at least investigate and determine the truth.

  4. Rillo777 responds:

    Alligators, Crocodiles, and even Piranha have been seen in the White River in Indiana where I live. they’re in the news every couple of years and some have been captured. They are explained as pets that were dumped. Last year a fisherman pulled an octopus out of the Ohio river in northern Kentucky. It was dead and had been dumped also.

  5. joe levit responds:

    As far as the octopus in the Ohio River is concerned, check out this interesting link, which discusses the possibility of freshwater octopus.



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