Cryptid Mammal Reptile or Prehistoric Seal?

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on December 22nd, 2006

Here at Cryptomundo, we get quite a few submissions emailed to us, from questions, to news tips, stories, from mild to wild, and even photos. Remember the Yarwen, the baby Bigfoot that was sold for $17 million? I’m still waiting for that announcement to hit the streets…

Back in late November, we received an email from an AOL email address, wanting us to post their photos of a "Cryptid Mammal/Reptile." Loren asked some questions about the who, where & when, and didn’t get much, if any info in return.

We were told "This is the real thing." So, without any verification, and without any further delay, here is the witness sketch, two photos and an article with an accompanying drawing showing what I can only guess are what the submitter feels are similar creatures.

This is the text of one of the recent emails we received:

why on gods good earth would you not post the biggest story of the twentieth century? This is not a hoax, or a fake, or some joke. we have two seal biologists on board and are planning an expidition to the area in mid august. once again heres the story.

August 2001

While fishing in the mangroves, south of Tampa bay, Florida, Gene Sourwine encountered a most unusual creature. It resembled a seal, but looked like it had gator skin or armor on its back. There were several of the things and he watched in amazment for an hour or so and went home. The next day he returned with his video camera and began a 4 year documentation of the creatures. He is currently working with two biologists from a nearby university and hopes to validate the species.

Cryptid Mammal Reptile

Click on drawing for larger version

Cryptid Mammal Reptile

Click on image for larger version

Cryptid Mammal Reptile

Click on image for larger version

Cryptid Mammal Reptile

The person that submitted the photos to us has claimed that the two marine mammal biologists believe that it is a prehistoric seal.

Myself, I have no idea…

He has asked where how he can get video clips of the footage they have of these creatures. I have provided a mailing address, as well as advised that I can receive the clips by email. 

If the video shows up, and we are given permission to share it, rest assured you will see it here at Cryptomundo. 

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.

47 Responses to “Cryptid Mammal Reptile or Prehistoric Seal?”

  1. DWA responds:

    Hee hee, I’ll look at anything for free.

    More interesting than the usual cryptid shotz. But you know what they can do in Photoshop these days. 😀

    Four YEARS? If any substantial time was devoted (like more than two weekends over four years), I’d expect to see something interesting.

    Lemme go make some popcorn here. 😀

  2. CRH responds:

    One reason that it can’t be the ‘biggest story of the 20th century’ is that entries for that particular century are now closed. However, it is an interesting little snippet that may well be worth investigating further…until we know for sure, who’s to say no? (besides the scientific mainstream, naturally…)

    All the blessings of the season to cryptomundo and its readers from the woods of northern Ontario!

  3. DWA responds:

    Oh. As to

    “why on gods good earth would you not post the biggest story of the twentieth century? This is not a hoax, or a fake, or some joke. we have two seal biologists on board and are planning an expidition to the area in mid august. once again heres the story.”

    Well there are several things I’d have a problem with.

    1. Grammar and punctuation being not the most important consideration, still, they’re a consideration.

    2. “why on gods good earth” would one take something like this seriously when one responded to the initial query then got no response, like, pronto?

    This is the heavy lifting of crypto, I guess. You sure can’t expect a scientist (TWO seal biologists? Guess I understand why they don’t want the world to know who they are just yet) to be jumping on this bandwagon on the basis of what I see here. But you follow up leads and see where they go.

    And then get accused of pseudoscience.


  4. shovethenos responds:

    On the other site someone said it could be a Carribean Monk Seal, which was thought to have become extinct in the 1950s. There have been reports from various parts of the Carribean of sightings since then.

    But if the witness has marine biologists involved and they think that its a different species maybe it is something new. In either case its still cryptozoologically significant and some very interesting evidence. The tail looks pretty weird for a seal.

  5. shovethenos responds:


    What is the significance of the page from a book or magazine that you included? I can’t read the print or enlarge it.

  6. frostea responds:

    they have been researching it for 4 years and this is the first time its posted and these are the best pictures we get?

    would be a cool discovery well i guess we will have to wait and see

  7. bill green responds:

    hey craig, definetly a very informative new article about prehistoric seal. very interesting. thanks bill

  8. btgoss responds:

    My problem is the “just south of Tampa” part of this. It isn’t 25 years ago, there has been a huge amount of development in that area, especially along the coast and inter coastal.

    Someone else should have noticed “seals” in the area during the past 4 years. Unless I am mistaken that would be something pretty unusual for the area.

  9. PasqualeSaggese responds:

    I totally exclude that the “animal” in the first picture is a seal. The distal flippers of seals are their modified posterior libs. According to the picture, the “thing” which emerges from the water has a tricuspidal shape, which does not matches to the morphology of a seal’s posterior limb.

    Probably (I’m quite sure) it’s a fake. The movement of the water beside it, seems to prove it.

  10. One Eyed Cat responds:


    I haven’t been home in several years, but I will point out he said “…fishing in the mangroves, south of Tampa bay, Florida ….” “In the mangroves” being the key point. I would be as amazed as anyone if this is truly real, but I would also be surprised if every mangrove grove has been removed, thus opening the coast completely to the ravages of even a passing Tropical Storm.

    Tampa has become very built up, but this south of the bay, not just Tampa. Tampa still does not completely circle the bay.

    Please note it is Tampa and Tampa Bay, just like San Francisco and San Francisco Bay.

    I would like a more specific location for one thing. Still,I look forward to any updates.

  11. Bobcat responds:

    We have a duty to be skeptical when it is warranted otherwise we risk not being taken seriously when there is good reason to investigate and pursue compelling evidence.

    4 years and one bad picture?

    I am not saying this is a hoax, but this guy has not given you any reason yet to believe otherwise.

  12. DWA responds:

    Couldn’t agree more, Bobcat.

    Except that it looks like two bad pix to me. 😉 Albeit granted they are far better than about 90% of alleged crypix.

    There is much to be skeptical about here. Especially what seems like the usual: lots of crowing with bery bery little backup. We must always remember that extraordinary claims (and a big sea mammal, operating close inshore, as yet undocumented by science, in the 21st century is, while very credible as a possibility, an extraordinary claim) require extraordinary evidence. As in: the kind of evidence that would get a scientist off his duff, knowing that more needs to be done here.

    That all sasquatch evidence can be chalked up to lies hoaxes illicit substances or honest misidentification is a truly extraordinary claim. But if we hold the claimant’s feet to the fire on that one, we sure need to on this one as well. Not sure whether this stuff constitutes smoke or clouds. Enlighten us, please.

  13. Bobcat responds:

    I had mistakenly assumed the second picture was for comparison purposes of an ordinary seal. If the second photo is purported to be of the new cryptid seals then I have to ask (because I am not a marine biologist) is there anything in the 2nd picture that distinguishes it from a picture of a normal seal? Or for that matter a couple of Black Labs playing fetch in the water? I am not qualified to answer that question, but would be interested in any opinions.

    The individual who sent these pics has no business acting indignant for not getting quicker posting/attention if he hasn’t provided sufficient evidence to warrant consideration on this board and of course legitimate researchers would understand that rather than sending a terse email.

    Again it might be genuine, but from what has been provided it looks like someone with too much time on their hands looking for attention. If there is any validity to it then this individual has done a very poor job of gathering/presenting evidence – given the supposed 4 years of research I find that hard to believe so my vote is hoax. The real mystery/frustration is why? Penn and Teller “wanabees?”

  14. Loren Coleman responds:

    When someone comes to me and wants something, no, demands that something be published on Cryptomundo, I am careful. When someone additionally doesn’t give me some simple answers to the who, what, and where, I get a gut feeling that a prank is being pushed on us.

    This was and is my reaction to this whole affair.

    For someone who says that they have videotape of this “discovery of the century” showing mating, and can’t supply but two captures that look like photoshopped humpback fins put in a river setting and a seal’s head, well, I’m even more careful. Furthermore, the water doesn’t look the same, and the background seems “funny” for the Tampa area.

    Show me the video, quit yelling in emails, and be a bit calmer if you want my attention.

    Who are the “two seal experts”?

    Sorry, I’m not convinced.

    My gut tells me this is a punking.

  15. fuzzy responds:

    Shovethenos ~ Right-clik on that article, clik Save As and save it into your My Pictures or some other file.

    Then go to My Documents, select the file and double-clik on the pic – it should come up in the MS viewer, which has a magnifying glass allowing you to enlarge the image.

    Most of the text is readable.

  16. Trapster responds:


    This is easy. The first photo is a fishing bird of some type flapping its wings to shake off water as they sometimes do. The second photo is a manatee.. I’ve been in the water with them plenty of times.

    Sounds like someone saw a sturgeon fish at some point and made up all kinds of crazy stories. I’d like it to be some unknown animal, but I am from that area and spent plenty of time out there. Some unknown marine mammal is not going to be in that part of the would without being seen for this long. Just too many people there.

  17. DavidFullam responds:

    Long time reader, first time poster. I think the first photo is a fake, although Trapster makes an interesting point about it being a water fowl (that I can see after he pointed it out). I think the second shot is of a moose and the drawing, interestingly enough, looks somewhat like a character that a cartoonist friend of mine created called “Merdog.” I’d love for this to be real, but it isn’t.

  18. alanborky responds:


    There’s something about the shrill, hysterical, genuinely wounded, egotistical tone of “Gene Sourwine” that makes me suspect that rather than this being an outright fraud or hoax, what we might be dealing with here is someone who really believes they’ve been a witness to – and are onto – something highly unusual.

    However, after having spent a great deal of time searching through innumerable text books and the like for clues as to what, and having similarly failed to capture precisely the kind of authentic video or photographic ‘proof’ that’d not only vindicate to himself his original, perhaps one-off observation, but also turn him into a kind of latterday ‘Patterson of the Dino-seals’, he’s resorted out of sheer desperation to simply ‘synthesizing’ ‘evidence’, (somewhat as Ray Santilli of ‘Alien Autopsy’ fame latterly claims to’ve done, [after, I suspect, having been in fact scammed himself, though this is something he’s never admitted to]), Mr. “Sourwine”‘s ultimate hope being to provoke precisely the sort of expedition he claims is already in hand, giving him perhaps his final shot at proving he’s right.

    p.s. everybody’s assuming his reference to the “two seal biologists on board” refers to two biologists who’re supposedly experts on seals, but maybe he’s really referring to two seals who’re experts on biology!

  19. One Eyed Cat responds:

    Okay, one: DavidFullam,

    Moose are not normal to Florida. When I saw the second photo the first time I thought ‘dog,’maybe?

    I can see the bird in Photo one also now.

    I know researchers have tracked dolphin pods in the Bay for years, so a question is: how would dolphins and these ‘seals’ interact?

    I agree: Who are the “two seal experts”?

    This is turning into a fish tail.

  20. shovethenos responds:

    I don’t know, trapster:

    – The tail picture has the water coming off it in largely the manner that a splashing tail would.

    – The head picture looks very much like a seal snout rather than a manatee.

    If these are fakes they are pretty convincing ones. On the side of the argument that it’s fake, “Gene Sourwine” could be a made-up name to hint that its a prank. But maybe not.

  21. DavidFullam responds:

    I know Moose are not native to the region. Wasn’t saying it was. If it is a prank (and I would love for it to be real), the shot could have been made anywhere and could be a moose, a dog or a known seal or sea lion.

  22. Shihan responds:

    Trapster is right – my first thought on the 2nd photo was “..manatee..” I see them all the time here in SW Florida. While I believe that most people know what a manatee “looks” like, they may not know what a manatee face looks like as it swims towards you with its body submerged. As for the first photo – looks like a photo-shop version of a water bird. Just fill in the edges of the wings to hide the individual feathers, then add a water splash over the birds head – you’ll have something VERY similar to photo #1

  23. king_fisher responds:

    I believe the first photo is a pelican.

    My first thought was the second picture is a manatee but on closer observation my opinion is it is a dolphin, faces to the right. Then there are rocks and white specks have been photoshopped (even a white speck inserted into dolphin’s eye) to trick the viewer as to what it really is.

  24. PhotoExpert responds:

    I’ll go on record as saying very sketchy! There are a couple of red flags on this one and several orange ones.

    The tail photo is very incredulous. If you enlarge it, you will see flat water before the splashing tail, although the momentum of the tail appears to be slightly forward and somewhat vertically oriented. For the apparent size of the tail and given the amount of water spray, indicating disruption of water–one would expect to see a wave preceding the tail in the photo. The amount of energy would certainly generate a wave or visible proportions. There should be some kind of wake. Or in terms of physics, there should be some kind of a wave. The only thing that would prohibit a wave or wake before the tail would be opposing waves in the opposite direction, or constructive antinodal interference. One wave would cancel the other wave out. But one can clearly see that the water is calm before the tail from the photographer’s perspective. Also, the texture of the tail does not sit well with me. It looks like a felt cutout that was manipulated through water and then digitally put into the photograph.

    There are other extenuating circumstances that make this story even less believable. Given the limited vocabulary and ambiguity of information as a couple of posters have pointed out, combined with telltale photo evidence, I would say I smell something fishy.

    There is just something not right about this entire story. It just does not sit well with me. Sure, people will use one authentic photo that can be proven true in part or whole, in hopes of persuading the objective observer into thinking that other “photoshopped” photographs must be authentic as well. But I am not buying the complete story as authentic. That would be subjective. We are relating one photo to another and they must be looked at independently. My objectivity would not allow it.

    I suspect what we have here is someone wanting attention or notoriety. They had their 15 minutes, make that 2 minutes of fame. I am not buying what they are selling. Nice try! I do not pretend to know the motives of the person submitting the information, but I do not think they are noble. Or at least that would be my subjective opinion.

  25. czenquirer responds:

    If the pictures and location are genuine then I wonder if this is a caribbean monk seal. This would be of great interest since the species is now classified as extinct.

  26. busterggi responds:

    I can’t think of any aquatic or marine vertebrate that’s ever evolved a tripart tail fin/fluke. That alone is enough for me to doubt the reliability of this.

  27. czenquirer responds:

    Disregarding the drawing, the smaller lob on the right in the top photograph might just be the tail, and the two larger lobs on the left the hind limbs or flippers.

    But of course I guess that we cannot rely on the image not having been digitally altered.

  28. Paul78 responds:

    Hi I’m Paul from the UK, first time post.

    I think if this was an genuine expedition and their were scientists involved they would be announcing this in the appropriate science journal first rather than a website, no offense to the site. This is the one solely Cryptid site I visit.

    The first pic is clearly a fake, if it was a type of seal and that was it’s tail I’d say somewhere along in evolution this species tail and legs did not fuse to create the type of seal tail we all know.

    The second pic looks like a photo of two seals though it’s mouth looks funny, more like a Manatees.

  29. kamoeba responds:

    If this story is real then I have a Yarwen in my basement. The mere fact that the hoaxter submitted this “evidence” a month ago and it hasn’t seen the Cryptomundo light of day until now speaks volumes. Also, these photos look more like video captures to me, probably from a television nature program. Dominick Perez, have you returned?

  30. DWA responds:

    Tell you my rule of thumb:

    When you see this kind of discussion of a cryptid photo, you have what is called a “don’t-call-us-we’ll-call-you” type of situation.

  31. saleenstang responds:

    The first pic is definitely fake, look at the reflection for starters. There is no tail in the reflection and its much too big for the height of the tail. That right there pretty much proves it. The tail and water itself are much too bright and the colors don’t look natural at all. The tail looks more like a drawing that was pasted in and then they put some of those water effects in. Notice the little white speck on the second one’s body? That’s drawn in. Also notice there’s almost no water movement, but yet it’s moving. A large animal like that would definitely move a good amount of water.

  32. shumway10973 responds:

    I read this last night kinda late, but while I was drifting off to sleep I realized that I’ve seen these pics somewhere else. I do have a multitude of strange/cryptid sites bookmarked, so there’s no telling where I saw them. With 2 “professional scientists” with him one would think that they would have captured one by now. Nothing horrific, mind you, just something to get one out of the water long enough to take complete photos and get a dna sample. It’s one thing to capture big foot, much easier to capture a seal. Also, the 2nd pic, that looks like any pic of aquatic mammals at play.

  33. PhotoExpert responds:

    kamoeba–Your last sentence in your post was exactly what I was thinking!

  34. Scrabbydoo responds:

    One word somes this up – Fake!

  35. One Eyed Cat responds:


    No insult to you intended, but something as obvious as a moose nose would be the the proof this is a hoax.

    Either that or the claim would be sightings of Caddy in Florida!

  36. DavidFullam responds:

    Now Caddy on the east coast I would love.

  37. ABLegler responds:

    What really sells it for me is the drawing. The labeling makes this credible beyond the shadow.

    Whisker, spine, tail. Wow, after 4 years and after enlisting the help of “seal biologists” on this “expidition”, I don’t think we could ask for more.

    Two seals playing in the water and a stolen still picture from that teenage mermaid movie that came out this year.

  38. Bob K. responds:

    I’m no expert but something looks very ‘fishy’ about the first photo, and why should I be compelled to connect photo 1 with photo 2? I’ll just take a ‘wait and see’ on this one.

  39. Sunny responds:

    Dear Santa,

    I’ve been very well-behaved this year for once, so please, please would you leave me and my friends a *real* cryptid photo this year?



    (your cookies and milk are on the table)


    A drawing’s a drawing — my son did one this afternoon of a Sasquatch with a horn. Hey, who’s to say? Don’t put much stock in drawings, especially when they don’t come with whens and hows and whos.

    First photo — mangrove swamps don’t look like that — they’re not mangrove trees for starters, and mangrove trees don’t grow in dirt. And anybody who thinks that estuaries in Florida have long sloping clay banks needs to take a serious look at the map, ’cause you ain’t in Florida, babe. Further, I’m no expert on photography, but that one looks like someone’s having fun with Photoshop again.

    Second photo (coughs) manatee.

    A very warm and merry whatever-you-celebrate to all — hope we all get what’s on my list.

  40. wenonahplace responds:

    I can understand and appreciate the extraordinary nature of the photos and story, however every word of it is true and I’m sending a few clips off the video footage so all you critical skeptics can see for your self, as for the not so critical commenters, it’s good to know that the wonder and significance of this discovery is appreciated.

    Sincerely, Mark Z.

  41. wenonahplace responds:

    again the photos are of a real creature and not fixed or whatever you said. they were taken off the footage and I’m sending a few clips to craig, the same clips the photos were taken from on different days and possibly in different months of the year Hence the variations in color and light level. the mangroves are clearly visible and are actual florida mangroves, or at least thats what ive been told for the last 37 years i’ve been wading around in them. the two biologists both stated they could be hooded seal or carribean monks, until they saw the clips that you will all soon see. then the just looked at each other and said nothing. we will be awaiting your updated responses post viewing of the clips that clearly show the anatomy of an unknown marine mammal. save your comments and expect to be amazed. they’re real and unknown.

  42. ffhard responds:

    Hi all. First post I’m afraid but here we go:-

    Frankly? I don’t believe a word of it. The first picture just looks so completely wrong (admitted I’m no expert) and just not animal-like. The second one could be anything and the drawing is just a drawing and proves nothing. The way the whole issue has been presented makes no sense. If I found or saw an animal previously unknown I would probably put something up here but I would also be going to Universities, magazines and the media in general, unless of course I had no confidence in the claim and just wanted five minutes of fame.

  43. wenonahplace responds:

    nice, ffhard but I have no reason to send any more emails or pictures to any more universities or for that matter any one else at all. Ive tried to do all that, with little or no results. Just read loren’s comments above and you’ll see that even my own supposed field experts don’t believe. undaunted we move forward. My only motivation here is honesty, I’m not a liar, or a fraud. craig will let you all know soon, cause as soon as he gets the footage he’ll change his tune to.

  44. jasonpix6 responds:

    It’s a manatee with a “healed mangled” tail. E-mail them back an tell them thanks, nice try.

  45. The Cryptidite responds:

    Cool! It looks real, but I’m not sure. Oh, well. It’s still a good story. I hope I can see that video soon.

  46. wenonahplace responds:

    I am the one who is responsible for the cryptid mammals in Florida still photos. its not a bird or a manatee or a figment of my imagination. I have a serious attitude at this point with anyone who doubts the validity of my story or the untouched photos I offered in the hopes that someone with any brains at all in there head would recognize a “real” photo when they see one. I have finally acquired the necessary tools for copying the exact moments on the film itself as the photos I originally sent. so when Craig gets them I imagine he’ll let you all see them, hopefully.

    You all should know that in my opinion Craig has a very open mind and was always appropriate withme in spite of my aggressive toned and sometimes insulting emails to him.

    Loren simply doesn’t believe me. Or at least that’s the idea I get from his comments on the matter.

    Also, on the footage I’ve sent there are a few “other” things swimming around in the area that defy explanation. Or at least I can’t even begin to understand what I’ve seen.

    See for yourself soon. Z.

  47. leesonet responds:

    Hello All,

    I know this is an old posting, but I would like to comment. I live in Boca Raton, Fl. A few months ago, my 16 year old daughter told me about an animal she spotted in the canal or lake (i’m not sure what it is) behind our home. She was walking our dog, when she spotted something coming out of the water and sort of crawling onto to the grass. She said it looked like a seal but it had a weird tail. Needless to say, I didn’t believe her story, and thought maybe she was seeing things or she saw something else. Anyway, a few weeks ago, I was talking with my brother in law (grown man) who also told me about a story that sounded way too similar. He described the animal looking almost like a seal, but it had a weird tail and both stories soundes a like. I called my daughter right away, and both of them shared their stories again. For my daughter, it was a relief, knowing someone else saw the same thing.

    I started googling for an animal that resembles a seal in south florida, so I can educate my daughter and brother in law, when I ran into this story… The drawing looks like the animal, both, my daugther and brother in law described to me. I have emailed both of them the drawing and the picture to see if it looks familiar to them.

    For the person who wrote the story in 2006 regarding this Prehistoric seal or whatever it it, I believe your story and we will wait to see what happens. I am asking you to please send the clips or pics. I am so curious to see what kind of animal that thing is. It’s not only in Tampa, they are here in Boca Raton, FL too….

Leave your comments

You must be logged in to post a comment.

|Top | Content|

Connect with Cryptomundo

Cryptomundo FaceBook Cryptomundo Twitter Cryptomundo Instagram Cryptomundo Pinterest


Creatureplica Fouke Monster Sybilla Irwin


|Top | FarBar|

Attention: This is the end of the usable page!
The images below are preloaded standbys only.
This is helpful to those with slower Internet connections.