Cadborosaurus Carcass Recovered?

Posted by: Loren Coleman on August 18th, 2010

Let’s reexamine this case in light of the new footage.

Galveston Daily News
Galveston, Texas, USA
1934 November 24, page 13

Carcass of Strange Marine Creature Found on Pacific
Prince Rupert, B. C., Nov. 23. – AP
Amid the “I told you so” remarks of persons who in recent years had reported seeing enormous serpents cavorting the Pacific hereabouts, scientists sought today to restore to its origins! appearance the emaciated carcass of a strange monster found by a fisherman.
The creature apparently had been about 30 feet long, with a skin like sandpaper, a head resembling that of a horse and a hide partly covered by hair and partly by spines or quills.
Scientific classifications indicated the creature might have resembled the ichthyosaurus or the proteosaurus, an order of extinct marine creatures known to have existed in the mesozoic age, when animal life on earth supposedly progressed from flashes to reptiles.
The monster, discovered by H. Sunderstrom, a fisherman, appeared after a long series of reports by fishermen, ship captains and other seemingly reliable sources that three sea serpents had been seen along the Pacific coast many times in the last two years.
Dr. Neal Carter, director of the dominion fisheries experimental station, who brought the carcass here, said the creature had been dead about two months.
His description of the remains was exactly like that of several persons who reported seeing a swimming sea serpent in the Jordan River shortly after Easter.
The monster was popularly called “Jorda” by the Canadians, who said it must be the daughter of “Hiaschuckalick Cadborosaurus,” the 80-foot serpent, and his mate, “Penda,” a 60-foot monster, both of which had been reported seen by hundreds of persons during the two-year period.
Dr. Carter’s monster apparently resembles no species of marine life heretofore known in these waters, scientists said. They added that no attempt to classify it would be made until an intelligent reconstruction had been made.
“In life it must have been slender and sinewy,” said Dr. Carter. “The remains were lying on the beach of Henry Island, which is north of Vancouver Island. Possibly it was left stranded in the inlet, trapped by the rocks when the tide went down; it might have fled there to escape some unknown enemy, or have gone there to die of old age.
“Sea gulls had been feeding upon the flesh, and about all that was left was skin, sinews, hair and quills and a somewhat elevated backbone.”
Dr. Carter said there probably were no bones, except the backbone. The flesh clinging to it was red, which he said would put it definitely out of the fish class and into that of the mammalia. He expressed the opinion it was a deep sea dweller.
The only evidences of external appendages were four fins or flapperlike projections of cartilagenous material about four feet long, one pair about four feet from the head, another about 20 feet lower. Only two of the fins remained attached.

The Emporia Gazette
Emporia, Kansas, USA
1934 November 22, page 2

Sea Monster Found.
Remains of Strange Animal Studied By a Scientist.
Prince Rupert, B. C., Nov. 22 (AP) – The remains of a strange marine monster were studied today by Dr. Neal Carter, director of the Prince Rupert dominion fisheries experimental station. Found on the beach of Henry Island, lies south of here, the remains were partially decomposed.
Dr. Carter announced:
1. The creature was about 30 feet long.
2. Red flesh indicated it was some sort of a warm-blooded marine animal.
3. It had a head shaped somewhat like that of a horse, and a tough, rough skin.
4. The upper part of the skin bore hair and the lower part quills. like spines.
5. The only bone of importance was the backbone.
The find was made within a few hundred miles of the playground of Amy Cadborosaurus, Britrish Columbia’s most popular sea serpent, often reported cavorting about ocean inlets on southern Vancouver Island, and once the object of a quest of scientists from Seattle.

Lessons are to be learned from the so-called “Henry Island Carcass” or “Prince Rupert Sea Serpent” of 1934.

So what did this turn out to be?

Only days later what has been credited as Dr. Carter was able to identify the carcass (also known as Henry Island Carcass) as Cetorhinus maximus, the world’s second largest known shark, the basking shark.

Craig Hainselman has written a well-researched article including images and news articles in the BioFortean Review of November 2006, entitled “Zaweaksh, The Prince Rupert 1934 Sea-Monster.”

According to the articles and Heuvelmans, according to Markus, instead it was Dr. Clemens from the Government Biological Station at Nanaimo. Dr. Carter has thought first that it was a mammal. But as Dr. Clemens analyzed parts of the backbone and the skull he identified it as C. maximus. Others still said it could be a Steller Sea Cow (Hydrodamalis stelleri). As Heuvelmans points out the Illustrated London News reproduced a picture of the monster with skeletons of a Sea Cow and a basking shark (see plates 15, 16, 17 ofIn the Wake…). What do you think which one is more similiar?

Markus goes on and notes that a lesson someone has to learn dealing with such carcasses is that the press or the people nearly always titles such a carcass as “Sea Monster” or something (consider that in this case Caddy arised a short time before and was in everyone’s mind). For example, the carcass of Ataka (a Bryde’s whale) was a “Sea Elephant,” “Sea Monster”. The Egyptian experts also couldn’t identify it first but later announced his real identity.

Markus of the German Kryptozoologie is to be thanked for bringing this online resource to our attention and his helpful comments.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. 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. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

12 Responses to “Cadborosaurus Carcass Recovered?”

  1. Paul78 responds:

    If it was a Basking Shark why did all Carter’s earlier descriptions state it as not a fish, plus you only have to look at it to see it’s not!

  2. MountDesertIslander responds:

    Why oh why in all of these early photographs is the cameraman more interested in how many people he can get in the frame as opposed to a clear shot of the subject?

    One close-up of the head would be worth so much more than what we are left with – that is unless the photographer knew he was misrepresenting the subject.

  3. Markus responds:

    Markus’ comments have been used to update the posting above. Please read the main body of the text, above. Danke

    ~ Loren.

  4. MattBille responds:

    The basking shark seems to have been designed by the Creator as a joke on cryptozoologists. The lower jaw quickly falls away, then most of the body, and what is left by the time it washes ashore looks like a serpentine animal with a small head on a definite neck. The “sandpaper” skin is one clue. Many learned people have made the same mistakes.

  5. tropicalwolf responds:

    MDI is dead on. These photogs knew all about perspective, just like modern day fish photographers. One close up of the head would solve the mystery…..however, it doesn’t serve the “greater story” to solve the mystery.

  6. springheeledjack responds:

    with a two month old carcass, I’d be skeptical of any hip shooting explanation. At first, as I was reading and before I had finished I was going to ask when the first oar fish was discovered, but now that’s a moot point.

    I still think the 1937 photo is a much better piece of evidence for the cadborosaurus question.

  7. Paul78 responds:

    A reason for the photographers not taking a clear picture of the creature is that it was common to have these types of group images back then, it is easymistake to put modern thinking on another time period. Also the group shot of people is also to take in the size of the creature for the public.

  8. Paul78 responds:

    I completely get what people say about decomposition but i just don’t know how some can say horse-like head for a Basking Shark skull. Yeah fair enough the skull is smaller when the cartlidge jaw in front is gone but i just find it hard sometimes to see it.

  9. Roy3rd responds:

    Any chance of this being another misidentified oarfish?

  10. Markus responds:

    No if you ask me. 😉

    Let me add some more general thoughts and informations. Following the articles in press the carcass was titled as „Dragon of Sea“, „Sea Monster“, „Sea Serpent“, „Horse-Headed Fish“, „Sea Beast“ (21. – 23./24. November) and beginning with the speculations as „Cadborosaurus“, “Zaweaksh“, „Sea Cow“ and finally „Basking Shark“ (24.November – 05. December). There are a few other mostly summarizing articles talking about the former speculations of a Sea Cow and a Ribbon Fish after the identification as C. maximus but not many and because of their summarizing of the past speculations worthless. If you study other cases like this one (not only in the past also today) you will find a similiar development in press-articles respectively the statements of people (not only amateurs also expert opinions of that time) dealing with the carcass and that’s what I meant writing that there’s a lesson you have to learn. The last important word to this case in press was that from Dr. Clemens.

    I don’t want to say many to the points Dr. Carter has given. „Red flesh“, „hair“ and the other factors excluding a fish according to him can be explained as parts of the deceased body of a basking shark what literature to all the other pseudo-plesiosaurs has shown. One article of the NYT of 25. November is interesting regarding this. Here we find that Dr. Carter was by no means sure what animal this could be (he only „knows“ that it was no fish) as he wanted further opinion for example of Prof. Trevor Kincaid of the University of Washington and naturally of „our own biological expert“ Dr. Clemens. Two points are essential as I think in this discussion which I found mentioned in „Cadborosaurus: Survivor of the Deep“ (LeBlond, P. H., & Bousfield, E. L. (1995). Cadborosaurus – Survivor from the Deep. Victoria, B.C., Canada: Horsdal & Schubart): „From characteristic features of its skin and bones Clemens recognized the carcass as belonging to a basking shark.“ Thats important and interesting to know I think without any original explanations of Dr. Clemens how he identified the carcass because with the help of the dermal tenticles and the backbones someone can safely identify a shark.

  11. Paul78 responds:

    I kept picturing the huge basking sharks you see on telly and after trawling through images of basking sharks i found one picture of a small freshly dead Basking Shark laid out on a plank in the same way and can see that if it was decayed it would look similar to this in body and size, not sure of the head never found a picture of a confirmed Basking Sharks decayed head. So in good science style i’d like to revaluate my possession to “yeah Basking Shark, maybe”. Still finding the earlier description odd though.

  12. Markus responds:

    The skull of basking shark is very interesting not only decayed but also in good condition. As I’am no Ichthyologist I find it very hard to say this or this skull looks similiar to this one (especially while most of the pictures unfortunately not very good and the original skull is almost not available to take a new picture). That also because weeks of scrubing on stones and decomposing changes the skull very much in my opinion. But there are pictures of such basking sharks for example of the carcasses of Querqueville, Girvan, Parker’s Cove or Deepdale Holm. You see that the shape and condition of the skull is very different in every carcass.

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

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