Beautiful New Manta Video

Posted by: Loren Coleman on July 26th, 2008



The smaller manta.


The larger manta, the new species.


It truly is a tale of Beauty and the Beast. Dr. Andrea Marshall is shown on a beautiful new video, swimming with the recently discovered manta and discussing her discovery. The scenes remind me of the swimming ballet of The Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Dr. Marshall (pictured above & below) can be viewed on the video by clicking here.



Quite compelling.


Dr. Andrea Marshall is also pictured above. The photo accompanies her notice that she supports her work by conducting trips and tours related to manta research. In one planned trek, it is mentioned it will be “a week of combined science, underwater photography and fun with Dr. Andrea Marshall and Tim Rock. Andrea is the founder of the Mozambique Manta Research Project and is doing some ground-breaking work in the area of manta study and marine science. Tim is a Lonely Planet author and Micronesia-based photojournalist as well as expert Manta shooter. They will be on the dive boats daily along with Manta Man Bill Acker.”


Now…let’s attempt a little manta recognition game. You be the cryptozoologist-of-the-day.

Try to sort out the replicas of manta rays available in museums and aquarium shops. Which represents the smaller species, and which is the new larger, migratory species? Talk about hiding in plain sight!!

Record your choices in comments:



Bullyland Manta Ray.



CollectA Sea Life Collection Manta Ray.



Nature Wonders (in essence, the retired edition of #2) Manta Ray.



Safari Ltd. (type 1 – Monterey Bay Aquarium Collection) Manta Ray.



Safari Ltd. (type 2 – Wild Safari Ltd Sea Life) Manta Ray.



Schleich Manta Ray.

Images of manta replicas courtesy of T.G.F. Toys. Go to T.G.F., type in “manta” in upper righthand corner search box, and reveal direct links to more about each manta replica pictured above.

Our congratulations to Dr. Marshall and her incredible new species discovery!

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International Cryptozoology Museum
c/o Loren Coleman
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Portland, ME 04112

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Please “Save The Museum”!

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Thanks everyone!

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.

18 Responses to “Beautiful New Manta Video”

  1. captiannemo responds:

    Great post Loren, thanks!

  2. Sunny responds:

    Guys —

    I’m not offended by a girl in a bikini. She IS pretty.

    BUT…the general tone of women involved in or interested in cryptozoology here seems to constantly be predicated by her physical characteristics. The post about the Southeastern Asian women in the posts about a documentary some time back had kittenz and I rolling our eyes at your behavior.

    People tell me I’m attractive on a regular basis, so this isn’t a case of sour grapes. I’m also not a feminist or a ‘libber’, and I didn’t support the ERA. But you don’t post about a guy’s masculinity, or his abs, or whether he’s a hotty….so why would you do it to the women you highlight?

    You’re all far too good and far, far too intelligent to denigrate the web site and these ladies’ work in the field by such tripe.

    If the photo you have shows a attractive lady in a bikini, that’s fine…post it. But don’t refer to it as Beauty and the Beast.


  3. Loren Coleman responds:

    1. Dr. Andrea Marshall is the individual using her attractiveness to draw attention to herself, in a positive fashion, to support her research. I find there is nothing wrong with that, as her ultimate goal is further knowledge and the saving of mantas. Cryptomundo did not produce these videos or these photos, and is merely reporting what is there.

    2. The young women tracking the Johor Bigfoot are likewise attractive and entertainers on a television show in which their appeal to their audience is highlighted by them and their employers. In a similar way, it could be said this may be the reason for why Ms. Dana Holyfield, a woman, produces her Cajun videos in the fashion she does.

    Boston Rob

    3. If you have been following Cryptomundo closely, you will have noted we have also demonstrated a gender-neutral pattern of pointing out how various attractive males – e.g. Josh Gates on “Destination Truth” and Boston Rob on “Sci-Fi Investigates” – have been used to showcase cryptozoology. There have also been discussions here of how the media picks younger, attractive people (males and females) over older cryptozoologically-aware individuals.

    Boston Rob

    4. The “Beauty and the Beast” phrase was suggested by a French colleague. It could be used just as easily with a male media celebrity as with a female one. The comment was made as shorthand for a media analysis.

    5. In terms of a continuing critique here of how both males and females get media attention and become celebrities in the field of cryptozoology, Cryptomundo will not shy away from the fact that attractiveness is an important component in the mix. Intellect, passion, and patience are too.

  4. helgarde responds:

    Actually, I kind of choked on the “Beauty and the Beast” thing too. And yes, I do self-identify as a feminist–because what else can I be if I believe that all people are created equally? And yes, for the record, I am an attractive woman, so, like Sunny, I am not commenting out of a sense of sour grapes.

    That said, Loren has a point, to an extent.

    Dr. Marshall -did- willfully wear a bikini in the video publicizing her discovery, but as I understand it–it is awfully hot in Africa, where she is. And I know for a fact that sitting in a wetsuit outside of the water isn’t really very comfortable, having done so myself.

    So, I suspect that rather than using the fact that she is a pretty woman to get people to take notice of the manta ray discovery, Dr. Marshall is wearing her bikini, because that is what she wears while out in the boat and not in the water because it is very hot out there.

    And yeah, Loren is right that there are nice looking men involved in the crypto world, particularly when it comes to publicizing and mass media, but, I have yet to see one of these men referred to as a “Beauty.” It would detract from their perceived masculinity, and it would call into question the masculinity of the man who referred to the other man as a “beauty.” It just doesn’t happen in polite discourse among men to point out each other’s attractiveness, especially if it is not the topic at hand.

    So, if it is not part of polite discourse to comment upon the attractiveness of a man between men, why is it considered okay to comment upon a woman’s looks? Dr. Marshall -could- have been plain or ugly or a cross dresser, but that would not negate the significance of her find at all.

    I mean, think about it, was Dr. Jacques Cousteau that good looking? No, he was a slender old French dude with leathery skin from being out in the sun forever. But, did it stop people from tuning into his shows every time they were on? No–because we weren’t watching to see him, really, we were watching to see the door he opened on the wonders of the ocean for us. He could go where we could not, and was a master of showing us what most of us would never see in reality.

    That is what is valuable about Dr. Marshall’s video–she shows us a magnificent creature that very few of us are ever going to be able to see first hand, and she shows us its grace, power and beauty.

    The fact that in parts of the video she is wearing very little clothing because she is in a part of the world that is quite warm is beside the point.

  5. Loren Coleman responds:

    “Dr. Marshall -did- willfully wear a bikini in the video publicizing her discovery, but as I understand it–it is awfully hot in Africa, where she is.”

    That’s not what happened, not what was said, and not what is implied.

    Dr. Marshall used this photo of herself to publicize her trips and tours that support her research. Please re-read the passages above, view the video, and so forth.

    The use of the words “Beauty and the Beast” very specifically referred to her swimming in her wetsuit, underwater, in the video, not in her bikini.

    BTW, I am a feminist and a humanist, as anyone that knows me understands.

  6. cryptidsrus responds:

    My word, are we going to get into a “gender studies”-type discussion here??? 😉 😉 😉

    To put it another way—and in the words of that famous philosopher Rodney King: “Can’t we all just get along?”

    For what is worth, good points on both sides, but I have to give the laurel crown to Loren. Loren IS a humanist and a feminist, and whatever “offense” was created was totally unintended.

    To be honest, the real good that can come out of this is that these magnificent, elegant creatures can finally be allowed to have their point in the spotlight, if only for a little while. Stingrays/Mantas are underrated creatures—and generally friendly towards humans.

    They sort of acquired a black eye after Steve Irwin’s death (despite the fact that they feed on plankton and are not aggressive, generally), so ‘m glad this goes a long way in “rehabilitating” their image and setting the record straight, for once. Nobody wants a repeat of the supposed “Great Stingray Massacre,” were some of Irwin’s more “extreme” fans supposedly went around killing a bunch of them at the beach shortly after he died. Nobody wants that.

  7. gridbug responds:

    “…various attractive males – e.g. Josh Gates on “Destination Truth” and Boston Rob on “Sci-Fi Investigates” = best laugh I’ve had all day! 😀

    Seriously though, I agree with Loren 100% on the issue. In addition, let’s collectively pray that Tom Biscardi doesn’t decide to up his ante by parading around the Pacific Northwest in an equally stimulating pink bikini. That would be… bad.

  8. PhotoExpert responds:

    Oh, I must have misunderstood. I thought for a moment when reading the title, being the ever enthusiastic cryptozoologist that Loren is, he had a momentary manic lapse and became a misogynist.

    I thought he was referring to the manta ray as the beauty and the biologist as the beast. LOL

    Just having some fun. In reality, the subject title is open to interpretation, from the reader’s point of view and their own frame of reference.

    Knowing Loren to be profeminist, I never took the subject title to be deragatory in any fashion. Knowing Loren to be on the “pro” side of the cryptozoological fence, we know he was not being deragatory towards the manta ray.

    My point is, my experience here at this site has been nothing but positive as it refers to Loren. He simply posts and reports breaking news from the cryptoworld. Sometimes, that news is brought to us third hand, from existing media sources. They skew it the way they like for the purpose of making it interesting. And sometimes, it is marketed to news agencies from the originator, so that word gets out more readily. I think this was the case hear. Loren just reported the way he obtained it.

    At the risk of being called a lapdog for Loren, I think his reporting is almost always fair and balanced. The vast majority of the time, readers here are in agreement with him. Not because of any loyalty they have for him but rather, it is because Loren makes perfect sense as he explains the finer points of a story.

    So seriously, someone could read that same title, and in fairness, could interpret it the other way around, thinking the beast was the bikini clad female biologist and that the beauty was the manta ray. It is a matter of perception and frame of reference. But no posters here mentioned that. And in fairness and balance, I just did. I had to point that out.

    But yes ladies, I do hear what you are saying. There are sometimes when a story is either presented by Loren, that was already skewed by the originator or the media reporting the story. But we should not kill the messenger for delivering the message. We must keep that in mind and give the poster the benefit of the doubt. I do see what you are saying. Even as a male, I sometimes cringe, not by what Loren posted, but by responses in the thread. Sometimes the response poster will perseverate or focus on the biological difference, and revert back to the testosterone filled days of boys in a locker room. That I have seen here. And then the content of the thread is lost to bravado and biological urges showing up as a reply post.

    So I am in agreement with you there. I see that from time to time. But it is an effect and not the cause that makes these threads take that sexist turn. That truly is not Loren’s doing. That is coming from the reply posters’ frame of reference and their perception of what they see and read.

    I hope my post vindicates Loren of any malintent. He can surely defend himself. But I thought you might appreciate hearing it from another male reader’s perspective, just to be sure. I say this from a neutral position. If you don’t believe me, go back and read any of my posts. You will not find one sexist comment. All of them are neutral and objective as far a a sex biased point of view is concerned.

    I hope that clears things up a bit. I don’t like seeing anyone being put in a position to defend themselves when it is not warranted. So I felt compelled to intervene as an objective third party.

    Enjoy your weekend!

  9. Loren Coleman responds:

    Just to be absolutely clear, my title to the posting here, “Beautiful New Manta Video,” was, indeed, in reference to the overall beauty of the manta ray swimming in unison with a human being. It did not even dawn on me that someone would think I was speaking about Dr. Marshall. To me, this Manta species is beautiful, as it gracefully glides through the water.

  10. MattBille responds:

    I don’t see anything where she proposes a name for the new species – have I missed that?

    Mantas have traditionally been assigned to one species (Manta birostris), although there are questions about whether the distinctly marked variant called “Beebe’s manta” should qualify as a species in its own right, and at least two other species (Manta ehrenbergii, Manta raya) have been proposed at various times. Now Dr. Marshall is convinced she has ended this confusion by determining there are at least two species, and there may be three.

    As the S.O.S. news release puts it:

    “The two species have mainly overlapping distributions, but their lifestyles differ greatly; one is migratory and the other is resident to particular areas along the coast. Other differences between the two species lie in their colour, skin texture, reproductive biology, and the presence of a non-functioning type of sting on the tail of one of the species.”

    The commonly known species is the one tending toward (though not exclusively residing in) coastal zones. The migratory animal is larger, and very little is understood about it. SO it sees like this is the one for which she needs to propose a new name.

    So here we have, in the 21st century, the discovery of one of the largest fishes on the planet. It can be argued that, when Dr. Marshall publishes her formal paper naming the new species, it will be a reclassification rather than an entirely new discovery, but this does not diminish the impact of her findings.

    It’s interesting to note that this episode, with its determination of new species based in part on range and migration, is reminiscent of the debate over whether “resident” and “transient” orcas are members of the same species. In that case, too, there is speculation about a third, poorly understood, population which may qualify as a species. That a huge fish and a huge marine mammal raise similar questions is a thought-provoking hint about how much we still have to learn about the denizens of the sea.

  11. Loren Coleman responds:

    I think the formal Latin scientific name has not been publicized in the popular media because Dr. Marshall’s paper has not been published yet. We may have to wait for that occasion, perhaps in the newsletter of the meeting where she announced this news, before we know to what species she assigned this new species.

  12. mystery_man responds:

    MattBille- Well, being somewhat of a “splitter” when it comes to taxonomy, I agree; reclassification or no, the discovery has a great impact. I am looking forward to seeing what the formal scientific name ends up being.

  13. helgarde responds:

    I wanted to post again to make it clear with Loren and everyone else that I wasn’t really, truly offended by the “Beauty and the Beast” thing–I just wasn’t so certain that he really would call a male cryptozoologist a “beauty.”

    And yes, Loren, I do know that you are both a feminist and a humanist, as I am (although I am more of a humanist in the stricter Renaissance meaning, than the more general modern definition), and I don’t think that you yourself meant any harm in your words. It was a good headline, but it still struck me that if it had been a male PhD who had found the gorgeous new manta, that line would not likely be used.

    And here is the deal, Loren, and everyone else, what is interesting about this whole thing is that if Loren was a woman and had posted that same phrase, I don’t know if I would have reacted the same way. I might have–but not necessarily. It is like when Senator Obama called a female reporter “sweetheart,” or “darling,” I don’t remember which, and it at first made me bristle, and then I thought, “But, Barbara, -you- call men and woman you don’t even know “honey,” and “darlin'” all the damned time, both male and female, so what’s the problem here.

    The problem is that historically speaking, not that long ago, women were nearly universally dismissed in public life and the professional sector, with condescending terms like “sweetheart,” and were judged primarily on their looks. (Many people mentioned the fact that Eleanore Roosevelt was not what one could call attractive, and many people, men and women both, judged her harshly based on her looks alone, not to mention that she was considered to be “uppity” because she worked for social change.)

    That history is still there, in the backs of our heads. Times have changed, and great leaps have been made by women and men both, to create a truly egalitarian society, a culture that we can all truly be proud to have our children grow up in. But we are not quite there yet–there is still sexism, racism and all kinds of isms still left for us to struggle against, both within and without ourselves.

    I mostly at this point find it interesting that if Loren had been a woman, it probably wouldn’t have struck me as forcefully. Even knowing that he did not mean any harm in it (and I did–you can’t have read so many books by a writer without knowing something of his character–and I don’t believe that there is an overt sexist bit to Loren’s personality), it still rattled me a bit. And when I realized that I might have used that headline myself in his place–well–what does that say about me as a woman?

    I guess it mostly means that until we are truly in an egalitarian society, we all have to be careful with how we use our language in order to convey respect. Especially those who are/were of a privileged class of people. But we also need to cut each other a lot of slack.

    All of that said, I wanted to post this hours ago, but I had to go to work, so I apologize, especially to Loren. I never thought that you meant any ill-will or harm in your words–they just tripped me up perhaps, especially because you are definitely not a sexist person.

  14. alegler responds:

    Loren – you should not have to apologize for pointing out that both the manta ray and the researcher who discovered it are both beautiful creatures. The manta ray may have no idea, but Dr. Marshall clearly is aware of the fact that publicity photos of her in a white bikini will ge more play in the media. She is doing good research and using her natural attributes (clearly her intelligence to perform the research she does combined with the fact that she is very attractive) to draw attention to her findings. There is nothing wrong with that, and there is nothing wrong with commenting on it.

    As for “why” women who are interested in Cryptozoology AND are far above average in their physical attributes receive extra attention from the readers of this website – lets be honest for a moment. I work in research, and the majority of my peers (myself included) would not be described as “hot” unless your definition of hot included attributes such as paunchy, pasty white, and unkempt. As one of my female co-workers once said, “They don’t give Nobel prizes for pretty.”

  15. Sunny responds:

    Helgarde, you have expressed my feelings perfectly — and very eloquently.

    I KNOW you aren’t sexist, Loren. You know I’ve been a reader for several years now, and I wouldn’t have stuck around this long if I didn’t constantly find something interesting and thought-provoking on Cryptomundo on a regular basis.

  16. Lightning Orb responds:

    Just for the record:

    #1 – smaller species

    #2 – larger species

    #3 – larger species

    #4 – smaller species

    #5 – larger species

    #6 – smaller species

  17. MattBille responds:

    This is an interesting topic (albeit one that veers a bit from cryptozoology). There is some value, I think, in the awareness that women playing an increasingly important role in the “man’s world” of science can still be feminine and sometimes strikingly attractive. The media aspect is obvious, and a handsome male scientist is no less of a scientist for using his photogenic appeal to draw a little more attention to work he thinks of as important. (One woman I know mentioned Neil DeGrasse Tyson in this context.) Dr. Marshall is doing fascinating work. If she gets a little more press for being an attractive female, that may help inspire young women as well as draw notice to her findings.

  18. HOOSIERHUNTER responds:

    I noticed no one was coming to the defense of the poor manta. it wasn’t wearing ANY clothes. 🙂

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