That “Cryptid Mammal Reptile” Footage

Posted by: Loren Coleman on April 23rd, 2009

This week’s MonsterQuest appears to revisit a 2005-2006 tale that both Craig Woolheater and I investigated at Cryptomundo, up to a point, and with which we were not too impressed. See here.

MonsterQuest : SEA MONSTERS
Wednesday April 22nd 2008 at 9PM eastern / 8PM central on HISTORY
Mariners have long told stories of frightening beasts that stalk the coasts of Florida, but what if new video could prove that old sailors were seeing real sea monsters? A forked tail, ferocious teeth and a large body were all characteristics of the historic sea monsters, seen by schooners packed with scared passengers. Now, one Florida man says that not only has he witnessed these creatures on countless occasions, but he also has hours of video proof. Experts are divided over the controversial evidence that shows tantalising glimpses of these strange sea creatures. One marine biologist claims it is a disfigured known species, another expert says it is a seal thought long extinct, and still others maintain that it is something altogether unheard of. Whatever monster lurks here, close to innocent vacationers, MonsterQuest will investigate. Using state of the art sonar technology, a dive team will penetrate the murky waters while marine experts and forensic artists attempt to identify this sea monster caught on tape.

Indeed, what we saw in 2005-2006 seemed like a strange mixture of images from perhaps manatee, seal, and other known aquatic species. Some of the screen captures didn’t seem to match the filmed animals, and the drawings may have been of other alleged or imagined sightings.

I think at one point I was rather convinced that one item I was viewing was footage of manatees mating. But we were not given full access to all the information.

Even the presentation to us, that it had to be some kind of “Cryptid Mammal Reptile” (sic) seemed a little off.

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

But what did you think of the program and what you saw?

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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.

39 Responses to “That “Cryptid Mammal Reptile” Footage”

  1. JBrook responds:

    This looks like it will be a good MQ. Debate is healthy for the field and it looks like they have some tangible evdience to go off of. What it turns out to be, or whether there is a consensus is yet to be seen but it looks like it wont be all hype no results. On that note, I dont expect there to be results every time or any of the time for that matter, but, when you hype up a show past the point of no return and dont deliver, viewers will be angry. Im not expecting an Ogopogo repeat with this one as there has been zero hype thus far.

  2. maeko responds:

    2nd pic looks photo-shopped. The reflection on the water in the foreground doesn’t add up.

  3. StinkFoot responds:

    the pics look like they were shot for a movie.

    One thing is for sure i’m not going to get “monster quested” on this one, playoff games are on tonight.

  4. DavidFullam responds:

    Wow, that brings back memories. I remember when you tackled this story.

  5. chrismarks responds:

    2nd pic – the animal on the right is clearly a seal. The one on the left likely is as well.
    I see alot of seals off the coast of Nova Scotia and I recognized this without hesitation.

    The 1st pic looks like a see bird thrashing about and extending its wings.

  6. chrismarks responds:

    I meant sea bird above……damn I’m tired today.

  7. MountDesertIslander responds:

    Someone should tell the MQ promotions dept that it’s 2009. Doesn’t that mistake just speak to the whole MQ reputation of looking careless and a bit amateurish.

  8. Shelley responds:

    That really does look like manatees. For those who have never seen them in the wild, they can be amazingly dark in color when they are living in waters full of mud and vegetation. We saw a couple in a sewage lagoon and they were pitch black and rolling around together. They are not always the light grey color that is pictured usually.

  9. Viergacht responds:

    That tri-lobed fin is very likely a manatee with a healed boat propeller injury. Sadly I used to see this sort of thing all the time when I lived in Florida.

  10. Remus responds:

    I remember this one.

    What ever happened to the videos that the “witness” promised would soon be sent to Craig and that would soon convince us all?

  11. FeebleofHoole responds:

    What amazes me is that none of the “experts” even mentioned the dugong.

  12. Quakerhead responds:

    I just saw MQ and the first thing that popped in my mind was “MANATEE!!!”. The so-called “trident” tail looked like a big, flat manatee, paddle-shaped tail that had been sliced by a boat propeller. The tail slices looked almost “cookie cutter” like instead of appendages that had been a product of nature. That, along with the size, (12-14 feet), the gray coloration and the presence in typical manatee habitat (coastal mangrove estuary) easily fills in the blank.

  13. TimmyRyan65 responds:

    That was a pretty good MonsterQuest tonight in that they didn’t keep stringing us along like they always do with very little to show at the end. However this one did deliver for the most part.

    I would almost tend to agree with the Manatee theory except that trident tail keeps bothering me. I don’t believe it is a mutilated tail at all. The tail and the three parts that make up the trident are too symmetrical! I believe there is something there that is either a mutation or an unknown!

    Why can’t MonsterQuest just stay for a couple of weeks instead of one day?

    Anyway thats my 2 cents!

  14. kgehrman responds:

    Oh come on…

    These photos (photo 2) look like manatees. Probably youngsters. I see no seal chrismarks. Notice the proboscis.

    As Viergacht explains there are many propeller-mutilated manatees in Florida. Like Loren says manatees whip around a lot when mating so photo 1 could easily be an orgy.

    MQ stretches out obvious elements a lot I notice, to extend airtime.

    When I saw their “Demon Fish” episode in Baja it was obvious to me that the cryptid was a whale shark.

    They purposefully showed us no video of the creature as the plane descended to a closer view of what they were filming. They only showed high altitude video. The pilot could easily have descended to 100 feet above the sea surface to reveal the true nature of the beast.

    Whale Sharks are not rare in the Sea of Cortez. They are seen often there. Notice they never actually interviewed a native Mexican fisherman.

    Those guys are laughing at his episode.

  15. Craig Woolheater responds:


    He did send me a DVD with some footage on it.

    He then reneged on permission to post it here at Cryptomundo.

    I have not yet watched tonight’s episode, so I can’t yet say if MonsterQuest showed the same footage I received.

    After I watch the DVR’ed program, I will report back.

  16. sasquatch responds:

    Didn’t look like a manatee except for the size/girth. The head was different and the tail looked very much like a fish tail. The slightness of it was very fancy goldfish looking! It was just weird looking to me.

    There was one clip they showed a few times that looked like a damaged alligator tail- real vertical.

    Another thing that got me about the fancy looking tail was the way it waved around in the air with a very light look to it. I’ve never seen footage of manatees (or seals) doing this. They might, but I only recall seeing footage of very slow moving manatees with their lobe shaped fins angling downward almost all the time.

    I bet that fisherman has seen manatees, gators, seals etc. He seemed pretty adamant that this was something else.

    And if he thought it was so important to hide the exact local of his sightings, that also makes me think he at least THINKS he’s onto something unusual. Jury’s still out for me.

  17. Colpittsdragon responds:

    I would just like to take this moment to point out a slightly disturbing phenomenon that I see occurring here quite regularly. I speak, of course, of the tendency of people here on Cryptomundo to jump to conclusions when it comes to pictures (any picture), that is to immediately denounce it as a fake.

    When this was posted yesterday (before the episode aired) there were an awful lot of comments that went something like, “That first one is obviously (insert here: photoshop, water bird, not the right location ect.)” or “The wake in the second…” You all know how they go. The fact that all this happened before the episode had ever aired, that is before all the evidence had been fully laid out, made me wonder: With all this conjecture and jumping to conclusions, what might happen when a real piece of evidence surfaces? I’ve seen real pictures that look fake just as many times as I’ve seen a fake picture look real. So a real picture turns up, the crypto community denounces it as a fake and it dies an investigated death.

    While I think a healthy amount of skepticism is healthy, too much is deadly. I know, after the bigfoot fiasco last year people are probably more leery than ever about pictures no matter how real they look, but it’s still unscientific to jump to uninformed conclusions.

    All that said, I saw the episode last night, and the video seemed real to me. But I have to say, I think that there are multiple manatees and one with a bump tail. As for the sonar contact they made, that’s interesting.

  18. cliff responds:

    I have to admit I was somewhat impressed with the MQ episode last night. I was really disappointed in the last episode and the deceptive promos, but the episode last night was interesting and entertaining.

    I’m not sure what we were looking at exactly, seal or manatee, or perhaps both maybe. It seemed that there were 2 creatures being shown at times, but only 1 of them exposed it’s tail. So the question of whether or not that was a mangled manatee tail that we saw, or the tail of an unknown species, could be answered somewhat I guess if we also had footage of the other creature exposing it’s tail end above the water surface.

    Anyway, I’m not really convinced either way. There were times that the footage seemed to be showing a manatee and at other times I thought the creature looked more like a seal. What would be cool is if it did turn out to be something that looked like the animated creature that the forensic artists came up with.

  19. cryptidsrus responds:

    To be honest—I lloked at the MQ episode last night and it really looked like an out-of-place seal to me. Not totally sure.
    Could also be what Scott Marlowe suggested. A species thought of as “extinct.” THAT would be exciting.

    Could also be a hybrid of seal and something else.
    Definitely worth looking into.
    Great episode.

    I also must wholeheartedly agree with Sasquatch. The dismissive tone of some of the posters here without even looking at the evidence first is really uncalled for.

  20. bigralph responds:

    I enjoyed the MQ episode last night although it didn’t resolve anything. Looks like a mammal to me. Bears a resemblance to some kind of seal or manatee. However, eyewitness accounts and sonar say that it’s 12-14 feet long which would make it a REALLY big seal or manatee. It may be an unusually large specimen of either or it might be a new animal entirely. Hopefully, they’ll catch a clearer photo/video of it.

  21. springheeledjack responds:

    I thought the footage was really interesting. I don’t know if they said in the episode, but I was not sure if everything shot was on the same footage or whether it was different times and days.

    The reason I say that is because I think that everything on the video footage is not the same critter. I think the second picture looked very manatee like…with the head and snout…BUT I do not believe the first footage with the trident tail was a manatee. The tail does not look “cut” as in other pictures of manatee tails, and the manatee tail is rounded and the images of the tail do not look rounded even if you take into account boat propellers.

    Also, from one of the stills last night, where a head surfaced, the snout was too tapered and enlongated to be a manatee’s face…even with the angle…again, definitely not a manatee.

    Which is why I asked the original question…was the video footage shown last night all from the same animal or same footage. OR were there different portions shot at different times so that we might be actually seeing different animals videotaped in the same area???

    And while sometimes a seal is just a seal, or a shark is just a shark, just because someone sees something just off the coast of Florida, does not mean categorically that it is a known animal. I did not like the attitude or narrow mindedness of what’s-her-face last night (I’m going off on a tangent, but that’s me:). She as much as said she was trying to fit it into something that lived around there, so I have little respect for her opinion.

    Alright, I’m done…next…

  22. Roy3rd responds:

    The second pic appears to be an adult manatee next to a juvenile.

  23. scmarlowe responds:

    To the writer with the dugong comment:

    We did consider the dugong and even the Stellar Sea Cow and dismissed both as improbable for a variety of reasons.

  24. Samson77 responds:

    cryptidsrus: how is a dismissive attitude uncalled for?

    If you make make suggestions alluding to the fact that you have found something or will show proof of something over and over again for an extended period of time and deliver NOTHING of what you have suggested you will deliver, should people blindly continue to ingest your product?

    If the georgia bigfoot hoaxers came to you and said they were sorry about the 1st hoax but this time they really had a bigfoot body, would you not be somewhat dismissive of the fact that they had anything but another hoax?

    Blindly following without proof or justification is a dangerous path to follow. If you believe blindly what you are being presented by MQ, that’s your choice. But given the body of evidence that we have been fed by MQ to date, I don’t think it is unreasonable to take the path of doubt and a “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me” attitude.

  25. maslo63 responds:

    I like how the drawing points out the anatomical features of the animal “nostril, spine, tail”. LOL, thanks for that.

  26. KristyBeast responds:

    When I saw the back come out of the water in the video that aired on Monster Quest last night I immediately thought of a manatee. It is Florida, after all.

    But I was looking up aquatic mammals with forked tails. I didn’t find very much. Most manatees have rounded tails.

  27. Gothic_Thylacine responds:

    I fully agree with Colpittsdragon

    C’mon guys, let’s have a little optimism! The animal in the footage may be a manatee, & it may not, but no matter what we are looking at some EXTREMELY good footage of a yet unidentified animal! And I for one am excited.

    Even if it is proven to be just a scarred manatee, that’s no reason to start the “it’s fake/I knew it” attitude. I have been heavily into Cryptozoology since I was 5. And you can’t be so negative. True, there will be many many misidentified animals & hoaxes, But you can’t let those ruin your view on cryptozoology.

    I too have lately been dissapointed with MonsterQuest, but I still watch & was impressed by this episode & look forward to updates on this story!

    Never lose hope guys

  28. Dj Plasmic Nebula responds:

    come one people it’s not a manatee, looked at the pattern of the tail. both sides are perfect, and the middle is perfect too. that does not look like an injury to me! plus the head description is not even manatee.

    it seems like a seal hybrid. maybe seals can make beautiful mysterious fantasy like animal babies. like this one! if they can mate with manatees than that would make sense, cause look at a manatee features it looks like a animal from fantasy books. plus this animal seems to fit a manatee/seal hybrid. the head looks like a seal kind. but then again, i can be wrong. its too skinny to be a manatee. the body shape fits a seal. i never seen a skinny manatee like how this creature was portrayed in the picture and animation. it looks more seal than manitee.

    look at the drawing and picture again you’d see what i mean. Plus back in old days they didn’t have propellers i think. So how can the other sea creatures have tails like a trident? that don’t make sense. it’s not a injured manatee! 😀

    some people have to accept that it can be unknown! that everything has to be known animal. i saw the show twice to see the creature. i know it’s not a manatee. it could be a hybrid of seal manatee.

  29. Colpittsdragon responds:

    Thank you Gothic (that’s three posts here that say, in effect “keep an open mind”).

    Anyway, that’s not really why I’m posting. Actually, I wanted to urge people saying it’s a manatee to do a Google Image search of “manatee nose”. I did it on a whim and saw that manatees have their nostrils situated directly atop, or at the front of their noses, not on the sides. If you look at the creature in the second picture the nostrils appear to be on the side of the nose. It actually looks more hippopotamus like. I’m no expert on manatees, and maybe it’s just a trick of the light, but the second picture doesn’t look like a manatee nose to me.

  30. lumbarjack03 responds:

    I’m not one too comment and for all the talk maybe it just is a manatee, but how come know ones mentioned that extinct seal. perhaps there is a colony left still unbeknowest too us like the wood bison. after all the picture of that seal with the tail looks exactly like the video footage. how come no one is talking of that in depth which i think is more feasible

  31. Greg102 responds:

    Kudos to MonsterQuest. Great episode. I’m not entirely sure it’s solved though. A lot of that footage is obviously different animals at different times. The trident tail I would have to agree is too symmetrical to be an injured manatee. Once again a 2 day expedition doesn’t turn up anything. I know they have budget restraints, but this is one case where if they spent 1-2 weeks on that water this would absolutely be solved, I’m sure of it. Oh well…

  32. Remus responds:

    Thank-you for the update re: the promised videos, Craig.

    Reneged on permission to show them after the big build up on this site? Not surprised.

    Proof of this claim is sketchy and the behavior of it’s “discoverer” suggests either a hoax or a delusion IM”H”O.

  33. wegojoe responds:

    The animal on MonsterQuest looks a lot like an Elephant seal, especially the tail.

    Then again it might have been Bigfoot in a wet suit.

  34. Samson77 responds:

    After watching this episode, and seeing the video clip of the “trident” tail flipping up out of the water, I 100% believe it is an injured manatee tail. Not only can you see where the cuts are forming the “trident”, but you can also see smaller, shallower cuts on the end of the tail.

  35. skyninja responds:

    I’m surprised that there is little to no discussion of the behavior of the creature when trying to discover the identity. People only reference appearance, which seems silly in this case, since we can never really see the thing.
    I’m no expert on manatee behavior, but my understanding was that manatees are typically very docile and lethargic. I looked up some videos of manatees, just to make sure. Sure enough, there they were, just bobbin’ around. I’m sure they are capable of the thrashing about and carrying on that’s seen in this video, but if we were seeing a pod of manatees, I would think there would be much more footage if them behaving as manatees behave on a regular basis.

    On the other hand, there’s strong evidence that this isn’t anything special. It seems to me (though I may be wrong), that any group of scientists dedicated to the discovery of unknown creatures were shown compelling footage of a new animal, led to its “lair,” and then found the creature on sonar, they would probably stick around for another week (or whatever it took) to get the job done. They didn’t, either because MQ is on a tight budget and schedule, or because they actually solved the mystery, and it was a dud, but the investment was made and the show must go on. I’m going with the latter explanation, because the men in charge know that their budget constraints would be eased up considerably with the discovery of a living “sea monster,” and scheduling can be adjusted to accommodate such a victory. Either way, the re-learned lesson here is, when it’s all said and done, this is entertainment, not science.

  36. Dj Plasmic Nebula responds:



  37. Dr. Strings responds:

    It was definitely a combination of seals/manatee/dugong or some other similar seal-type mammal. The problem is that people see something that is mundane (like this guy that shot the footage), and then shape it to fit their idea of a cryptid. His drawing that he had done based off his own description simply looked like a manatee with a monstered-up head and face. That’s the letdown; somebody sees something mysterious that usually has a perfectly logical explanation, and then turn it into something it’s not and challenge everyone to disprove it. It’s also a giant red flag when somebody claims to have conclusive proof (i.e. the San Fran Sea Serpent videos) yet won’t offer it up or tries to charge any interested parties money. It’s usually a big hype-up in an effort to generate cash before the so-called proof is debunked.

  38. aclockworkorange responds:

    To the seal/manatee hybrid theory:

    Impossible. Seals and manatees may appear superficially similar, but they are not closely related by any means.

    Manatees, believe it or not, are actually more closely related to elephants. And their skull structures are completely different–seals are carnivores with more forward facing eyes and predatory teeth and manatees are herbivores, with eyes further to the sides of their head and lots of molars–like cows.

    As far as a mix of footage of a seal and a manatee? It’s still a great find of a seal that shouldn’t be there! There aren’t any warm-water dwelling seals native to Florida anymore–went extinct.

    So at the very least, by the seal theory, we have an out of place seal, perhaps an “extinct” seal, and at most a completely new species.
    Personally? I don’t know. That three-pronged tail seemed way too thin and graceful and perfectly symetrical to be an injured manatee. And out of the 2000 injured manatees the Florida fish and game dep. has photo-documented, none came close to matching that tail.

  39. Loren Coleman responds:

    “It’s still a great find of a seal that shouldn’t be there! There aren’t any warm-water dwelling seals native to Florida anymore–went extinct.”

    That statement makes the assumption that any filmmaker’s reported location of footage is as stated (in this case allegedly Florida). But one has to be careful, for nothing assures any of us that what we are seeing was actually filmed where it is said to have been recorded.

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