Monday, April 7, 2014

Mokèlé-Mbèmbé, A Living Dinosaur? Part 3: Kasai Rex & Afroraptor

Artist impression of the Kasai Rex obtained by modifying clip art

Kasai rex is a darling of the internet. No discussion online of African dinosaurs can be made without someone claiming that the Kasai rex must be real because we have photos. The Kasai rex is supposedly a living Tyrannosaurus rex (and it is always T. rex rather than any theropod that was actually indigenous to Africa) that stomps about the Congo like Godzilla.

The glamor of this huge carnivorous theropod seems to cause people to lose their objectivity. I say this because as soon as one does even a few minutes of research the Kasai rex story dissolves into a huge pile of steaming manure.

The Kasai Rex Report

Most believers speak of a tradition among the natives of a tyrannosaurus in Africa. However, note that nobody gives it a native name. The reason for this is simple - the “tradition” of the Kasai rex does not exist. The only evidence for it is a single report by a white hunter.  There are several versions of this report but in all of them the sighting was made by a Swedish plantation owner named John Johnson (also spelled Johanson) and supposedly occurred on February 16, 1932 in the Kasai valley, Belgian Congo.

Most versions on the internet are actually a short summary of the sighting that state:

Johnson was traveling with a servant in the Kasai valley, in the Belgian Congo. They encountered a rhinoceros, and, while attempting to pass it without detection, were surprised by a large creature rushing out of the undergrowth and attacking the rhinoceros. The servant ran away and Johnson fainted. He awoke to see that the creature was eating the rhinoceros.

Most websites simply say the creature was a Tyrannosaurus. Those that give a description usually state that the creature was reddish in color with blackish-colored stripes, a long snout with numerous teeth, was 13 meters (43 feet) long, and had thick legs that reminded Johnson of a lion, “built for speed". All of which sound more like a vastly exaggerated tiger than any dinosaur.

The most complete version of the report can be found in the Rhodesia Herald and is as follows:

On February 16 last I went on a shooting trip, accompanied by my gunbearer. I had only a Winchester for small game, not expecting anything big. At 2 p.m. I had reached the Kasai valley.
No game was in sight. As we were going down to the water, the boy suddenly called out "elephants". It appeared that two giant bulls were almost hidden by the jungle. About 50 yards away from them I saw something incredible - a monster, about 16 yards in length, with a lizard's head and tail. I closed my eyes and reopened them. There could be no doubt about it, the animal was still there. My boy cowered in the grass whimpering.
I was shaken by the hunting-fever. My teeth rattled with fear. Three times I snapped; only one attempt came out well. Suddenly the monster vanished, with a remarkably rapid movement. It took me some time to recover. Alongside me the boy prayed and cried. I lifted him up, pushed him along and made him follow me home. On the way we had to transverse a big swamp. Progress was slow, for my limbs were still half-paralyzed with fear. There in the swamp, the huge lizard appeared once more, tearing lumps from a dead rhino. It was covered in ooze. I was only about 25 yards away.
It was simply terrifying. The boy had taken French leave, carrying the rifle with him. At first I was careful not to stir, then I thought of my camera. I could hear the crunching of rhino bones in the lizard's mouth. Just as I clicked, it jumped into deep water.
The experience was too much for my nervous system. Completely exhausted, I sank down behind the bush that had given me shelter. Blackness reigned before my eyes. The animal's phenomenally rapid motion was the most awe-inspiring thing I have ever seen.'
I must have looked like one demented, when at last I regained camp. Metcalfe, who is the boss there, said I approached him, waving the camera about in a silly was and emitting unintelligible sounds. I dare say I did. For eight days I lay in a fever, unconscious nearly all the time.'

Criticism of the Case

The Kasai rex story has been criticized due (to all things) the hunter’s claim that "giant bull" elephants were in the jungle. The complaint is that forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis) are much smaller than the familiar Bush elephant (Loxodonta africana) of the plains. Maybe so but most forest elephants are still enormous compared to a man and adult bull elephants larger than younger bulls and cows.

The report has also been criticized for being stated in “mumbo jumbo” terms as if written to entertain instead of in a neutral-termed scientific account. To this I say of course, it was meant to entertain, it was written for a newspaper not a scientific journal! Besides the report is typical of the hunting stories from its era.

Honestly to debunk the Kasai rex all you need to do is show the photograph.

The Photographs

Three photographs of the Kasai rex exist. The first one is the one actually taken by Johnson.

The Original Kasai Rex Photo

This is clearly a monitor or tegu lizard crudely superimposed upon the picture of a sleeping or dead rhinoceros. You can even see the original lighter background of the original lizard photo surrounding the “monster”.  The photo is so obviously fake that even true believers admit that yes this photo is a hoax but this one is the REAL Kasai rex photo!

The second Kasai Rex Photo by Finbar

To be honest I always thought the dinosaur in this photo looked like the Allosaurus that was animated eating a dead dinosaur in the original Land of the Lost television show. Thus I figured someone just superimposed a still from that scene over a dead rhino.

The Highland Tiger recently unmasked this photo as a mockup (not a hoax but an image made as a book illustration) created by a photo manipulator who goes under the internet name of Finbar.  Finbar says the “Kasai Rex” model was created by fellow artist  Yarriwarrior based on a Charles R Knight’s famous painting of an Allosaurus feeding upon the tail of an Apatosaurus. The Land of the Lost Allosaur was based on this same painting so I was not far off.

Alan Friswell of the CTZ has also created a mockup, which he describes as “crap” that “in all honesty--that I only took twenty minutes to cobble it together.”
Third Kasai Rex Photo by Alan Friswell

So of the three Kasai Rex photos the original has long been acknowledged to be a hoax along with the report accompanying it. Of the other two, they are admitted mockups! None are real but all have appeared as “evidence” on creationist’s websites.  

Afroraptor the Living Dromaeosaur!

There is another supposed theropod that I have seen mentioned on cryptozoologist blogs and creationist sites that I have yet to see debunked – and it really needs to be. This is a supposed “Velociraptor” inhabiting the Congo. It usually goes under the name Afroraptor.

Afroraptor in the game Zoo Tycoon 2

Afroraptor has no native reports and I first heard of it when it appeared as a “hypothetical dinosaur” in the African Abnormalities Mini-Pack for the game Zoo Tycoon 2 created by Kingcobrasaurus. It has subsequently appeared in the movie The Dinosaur Project where it sported a Jurassic Park Dilophosaurus frill.

The truth is “Afroraptor” first appeared in the role playing game supplement Dark Matter: Xenoforms for the Alternity game. This book, published by the same folks who made Dungeons & Dragons, featured a creature called Congoraptor. Congoraptor was a cryptid dromaeosaur from the Congo along with the Mokèlé-mbèmbé and similar living dinosaurs. 

Congoraptor from the 'Dark Matter' RPG

Therefore, Afroraptor/Congoraptor is not a real animal – or a hoax. Its a d&d monster like the owlbear and rust monster!

I find it hysterical that the same people who damn role-playing games as evil are useing a d&d monster as “proof” that evolution is a lie – and they wonder why so many people now think Christians are nuts. Sigh.

The conclusions are obvious: there is no Kasai Rex or Afroraptor in Africa – or anywhere else the in the real world for that matter. Both are completely imaginary and no more proof of living dinosaurs than Barney is.

Barney & Friends


Mackal, Roy P. (1987). A Living Dinosaur? In Search of Mokele-Mbembe. E.J. Brill.

Mandanas, Cedric. (March 14, 2012). 10 Cryptids That Were Proven False. Listverse.

The Highland Tiger. (Saturday, 22, March, 2010)  “The Kasai Rex, and the Laziness of CFZ Researchers.” Cryptozoology – The Truth.

The Highland Tiger. (Wednesday, 31, March, 2010)  “Are the CFZ Relaxing their Stance?.” Cryptozoology – The Truth.

Wiker, J.D. (2000). Dark Matter: Xenoforms. TSR11648. Wizards of the Coast.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Mokèlé-Mbèmbé, A Living Dinosaur? Part Two: Native Art

Kuppenhole Rock Art

In the last post I reviewed the earliest reports of the so-called African Dinosaurs and found them inconclusive at best and outright hoaxes at the worst.  Several of these early sightings mention native rock art of these mysterious saurians. Maybe they can clear up the puzzle? 

The most commonly reproduced of these images are some African rock art from Kuppenhole, Tanganyika (Tanzania). A copy of this art can be seen at the head of this articles and it is clearly a picture of a giraffe as can be seen by its mane and ossicones. Comparisons to other native drawings of giraffes conforms this.

The Kuppenhole 'dinosaur' compared to various giraffes in African Rock art 

Dale Drinnon of FRONTIERS OF ZOOLOGY thinks the animals found below the ‘dinosaur’ in the Kuppenhole picture are a Sivatherium and two seals. According to him the ungulate has “multiple horns” that mean that it is “probably a Sivatherium.”

There is just one problem; the animal does not have multiple horns. It has two horns just like the majority of bovids in the world and is clearly either a roan (Hippotragus equinus) or sable (Hippotragus niger) antelope, both of which are native to Tanzania. 

Sable antelope (on the left) and roan antelope (on the right)

As for the “seals” they are so vague and stylized it is hard to tell what they are: seals, rabbits, monkeys, or my personal suspicion – Two men, one naked and the other wearing a headdress.

Makal also sites same Zambian cave paintings reported by Clark in 1959. They are a group of three animals on one panel. The short limbs, thick necks, and long tails are consistent with depictions of lizards or crocodiles. The short snouts show that they are lizards, probably monitors. The quadrupedal body, proportions, short necks and large heads rules out sauropods or any other dinosaur.

Zambian "Dinosaurs"

The last piece of native art that is supposed to show the Mokèlé-mbèmbé is this “Little Gold Dinosaur” found by Manny Staub in a set of Ashanti balance-scale weights.  Cryptozoologists have claimed it represents a Brontosaurus, an Iguanodon and even a Tyrannosaur.  Most people however, even Dale Drinnon, suspect it is simply a monitor lizard. 

The Little Gold "Dinosaur"

Therefore, of three supposed African Dinosaur native depictions two show lizards and one shows a giraffe, a Hippotragus antelope, and possibly some naked men. None show dinosaurs.

What about photographs? The Kasai Rex photos are often given as the best ones of the so-called African dragons. Let us look at them next. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Mokèlé-Mbèmbé, A Living Dinosaur? Part One: 1776 to 1939

Mokele-Mbembe according to Roy P. Mackal

Mokèlé-mbèmbé is a legendary water-dwelling creature of Congo River basin folklore, claimed to be a living sauropod by creationists and many cryptozoologists. In addition to a sauropod some claim there are living sivatheres, ceratopsians, stegosaurs, and even tyrannosaurs in the African Congo. To these people Central Africa is an actual Lost World that will disprove evolution

Unfortunately, no matter how much I would love to see a living dragon, once the actual reports are consulted the claims fall apart into wishful thinking, misquoted scientists, reports of known animals, reports of an unidentified rhinoceros, and hoaxes.

First the name “Mokele-mbembe” is a Lingala word that can mean a variety of things including "one that stops the flow of rivers, "one who eats the tops of trees," "monstrous animal “or even”spirit beast." It is thus a generic local term for “water spirit/monster.”

Now let’s look over the history of this entity starting with the earliest reports and clearing up some of the misconceptions given in Wikipedia…

 The Early Reports

1776:  Abbé Lievain Bonaventure, a French missionary to central Africa claimed to have seen enormous three clawed footprints “about three feet in circumference."

1909: famed big-game hunter Carl Hagenbeck claimed in his book Beasts and Men, of hearing stories about a creature "half elephant, half dragon” in the Congo. Naturalist Joseph Menges told Hagenbeck about an animal alleged to live in Africa, described as "some kind of dinosaur, seemingly akin to the brontosaurs." Another of Hagenbeck's sources, Hans Schomburgk, asserted that while at Lake Bangweulu his native guides informed him of a large hippo-killing creature that lived in the Lake.

1909:  According to Lt. Paul Gratz  the indigenous legends of what would be modern day Zambia spoke of a creature known by native people as the "Nsanga", which was said to inhabit Lake Bangweulu. He was shown a hide which he was told belonged to the creature, while visiting Mbawala Island. Gratz speculated that it was a saurian after consulting with Carl Hagenbeck.

NOTE: According to Wikipedia Gratz described the creature as resembling a sauropod. This is not so. The original report states a saurian. A saurian is NOT a sauropod but rather is a term that was used for any sort of lizard-like reptile in the 18th and early 19th century. In fact it was commonly used for crocodiles as well as any sort of prehistoric reptile. Inany case it is obvious that Carl Hagenbeck is the source of the rumors that our cryptid is a living dinosaur.
A lovely piece of Apatosaurus from Clipart

1913:  German Captain Freiherr von Stein zu Lausnitz was ordered to conduct a survey of German colonies in what is now Cameroon. While there he heard stories of a brownish -gray animal with a smooth skin that was between the size of a hippopotamus and an elephant.  It was said to have a long, flexible neck a very long tooth or horn on its snout. A few spoke about a long, muscular tail like that of a crocodile. The creature was said to live in caves washed out of the river bank and to attack canoes and kill the people but not eat the bodies as it was completely vegetarian. Its preferred food was a kind of liana with large white blossoms, a milky sap, and an apple-like fruit.

The Smithstonian/Le Page Hoax

1919-1920: A 32-man expedition was sent to Africa from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. between 1919 and 1920. The objective of this expedition was to secure additional specimens of plants and animals. Supposedly the African guides found large, unexplained tracks along the bank of a river and heard “mysterious roars”. A train wreck supposedly killed four team members and injured several others so the expedition was curtailed before anyone could confirm these rumors. However, the “dinosaur” reports are actually due to the following report…

1919: In November reports began appearing in newspapers claiming that the Smithstonian Institution encountered a living dinosaur that October. It began with “A Tale From Africa, Semper Aliquid Novi” published in the London Times. According to this report  one of the explorers named M. Le Page who was in charge of railroad construction in the Congo followed some strange footprints while hunting and encountered a monster.

The creature charged out of the jungle forcing Le Page to flee. Now at a safe distance Le Page watched the animal through binoculars. It was 24 feet long with a long pointed snout, tusks like a boar, a single short rhino-like nose horn, a scaly hump on its back, and the front feet ended in solid hooves like a horse while the rear feet ended in cloven hooves!

This which-what-who then supposedly rampaged through a village, killing several natives. According to the Smithstonian “Primeval monsters could of survived in the African Swamps”.

This story was expanded upon in latter newspapers until the New York Times in December 13th 1919 claimed the hunter, now named M. Gapelle, shot a “brontosaurus of the rhinoceros order” with large scales reaching far down it’s body, a kangaroo-like tail, a horn on it’s snout, and a hump on it’s back.

Things got so silly that Wentworth D. Grey, acting representative of the Smithstonian African Expedition, contacted the London Times on January 21st to contradict the reports. According to him the dinosaur story was just a practical joke that had got out of hand and Le Page/Gapelle did not exist but the name was coined from the famed paleontologist L. Le Page.

So there you have it, the whole Smithstonian report was a Hoax!

Other Early Sightings

1927: in the 1870s Alfred Aloysius Smith while working for a British trading company in Gabon hears native tales from the natives of a strange beast called the "jago-nini" or "amali". The creature was said to be very large, leave three clawed footprints, and would surge out of the water to devour people. Smith speculated that it was responsible for the dead elephants occasionally encountered with shattered tusks. He published this in his Trader Horn in 1927.

1932: Ivan T. Sanderson claimed that, while in Cameroon in 1932, he and zoologist Gerald Russel was looking at some waterlogged caverns in the river bank when they heard animal noises. Suddenly a large back surfaced before almost immediately submerging. They latter encountered hippo-like tracks. The natives said there were no hippos in the area and that the animal they saw was called "m'koo m'bemboo". Sanderson latter joked that “The head alone was nearly the size of a hippo”, something later cryptozoologist have taken seriously.

1938: Leo von Boxberger mounted an expedition to investigate the Mokèlé-mbèmbé reports. He supposedly collected much information from natives, but his notes and sketches had to be abandoned during a conflagration with local tribesmen.

1939:  the German Colonial Gazette (of Angola) published a letter by Frau Ilse von Nolde, who asserted that she had heard of the animal called the "coye ya menia" ("water lion") from both natives and settlers.  It was a hippo sized, long necked creature that lived in the rivers. It was known to attack hippos but never ate them.


So the early history of the Mokèlé-mbèmbé is nothing but recordings of native folklore, a single possible sighting, and a hoax. Note how none of these early reports are anything like a brontosaurus. If anything they seem to be describing a new form of rhinoceros. Only a few reports mention a long neck but even they have mention three toed rhino-like tracks and a horn on the nose. In addition the neck could be long only in comparison to a hippo or elephant, so still be short by modern standards. Besides several extinct rhinoceri had rather lengthy necks such as this hyracodon: 


If the neck truly is long and the tail is indeed heavy and reptilian than the result still does not resemble a sauropod. Sauropods did not have three claws on all four feet. The front prints resembled nail less horseshoes, though early groups had a single thumb claw.

Another nice piece of Apatosaur clipart, this one showing acurate foot anatomy!

If anything the result sounds more like the dragon on the Ishtar Gate. The Dragon on the gate has often been linked to the “Congo dragon”. The Babylonian dragon or Mushushu (Sumerian for "Adorned or Glamorous Serpents" which were also called Sirrush by the Akkadians) was a common symbol in the Middle East and was considered a sacred beast. Most identify it as a monitor lizard but the bird-like feet and single horn of the animal on the Ishtar Gate caused early archeologists to compare it with the Iguanodon. And so the dragon was linked to living dinosaurs and still used by creationists to ‘prove” that dinosaurs lived with man. 

Mushushu of the Ishtar Gate
 Unfortunately for creationists the Iguanodon of the 18th century was a giant rhino-like lizard that never existed. Better fossils showed that the Iguanodon was actually a rather horse-like animal with a spike on the thumb not the nose.

In addition other images of mushushu exist that clearly show that the animal had two horns. In addition the animal is clearly the ancestor of the Serpopard (stylized snake-necked lions that have also been claimed to be sauropods by creationists) and ultimately of the questing beast of King Arthur. 

 Today, despite comparisons by some cryptozoologists to sea serpents, the mushushu is considered to be a monitor lizard wearing a crown to show it’s sacred and kingly status. Some papers even indicate that it was the source of the sacred oil used during biblical times. In all it probably was the Nile Monitor and its only link with the Mokèlé-mbèmbé is that some of the latter reports may also be of monitors.

Well that’s long enough for this post. Maybe later reports will be more dinosaurian, or maybe not. Next time a look at the alleged cave paintings of the Mokèlé-mbèmbé

Carroll, Robert T. "mokele-mbembe". The Skeptic's Dictionary. John Wiley & Sons. Retrieved 28 December 2011.

Drinnon, Dale. “Ancient Babylonian and Assyrian Dragons are also Euryapsids”. Frontiers of Zoology.

Drinnon, Dale. “More Gargoyle Dragons but out of Africa by Rome”. Frontiers of Zoology.

Gardener, Laurence. Realm of the Ring Lords;  Fair Winds Press. 2003

Gibbons, William J., Missionaries And Monsters; Coachwhip Publications, 2006

Ley, Willy (1966). Exotic Zoology. New York: Capricorn Books.

Mackal, Roy P. (1987). A Living Dinosaur? In Search of Mokele-Mbembe. E.J. Brill.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Repticulus goes off with a bang! (Sorry I couldn't Resist)

I was going to blog about the so-called living dinosaurs in Africa, Really I was, but then I saw a comic book that just blew my mind. I just had to blog about it because really someone has to. This post is rated PG-13 and is unsuitable for little children even though it was originally written for children back in June 1962 and was approved by the Comics Code Authority!

Holy Cow where to begin...

Note how the ice Age was 50 MYA (Roll Eyes)

How about with some background...

Reptilicus is a giant monster film about an acid spitting dragon thawed out of the Ice Age permafrost. The original version, which was shot in Danish, was directed by Poul Bang and released in 1961. The American version was directed by Sidney W. Pink and was initially deemed virtually unreleasable and had to be extensively reworked by the film's   screenwriter, Ib Melchior, before being finally released in America in 1962. Pink was angry at the changes and wound up in a legal dispute with AIP.

Still from Reptilicus

In 1961, Charlton Comics produced a comic book based on the film that lasted two issues. Charlton then changed the dragon's color to red and renamed it Reptisaurus the Terrible.

A novelization of the film (Reptilicus by Dean Owen) was released in paperback at the time of its original release. Supposedly one of the complaints about the American version was that the movie novelization was pornographic. I never saw the novel but based on Charlton Comics Reptisaurus #5 I believe it...

Now remember this was originally written for little kids back in the 1960s.

 Reptisaurus: The Terrible, issue 5: "Reptisaurus and the 'People's' Dragon"

Cover of Reptisaurus  #5

We start off with out draconian hero finding a nice tropical island to vacation on. Warm weather, soft sandy beaches, plenty of whales to eat, everything a vacationing dragon could want.

Ah Paradise
Unfortunately the military decides to test a bomb on the island and blow it to smithereens. Reptisaurus is NOT happy.

There goes the neighborhood

Fighter jets have plenty of fiber

Once done chewing upon the offending planes our hero flies 600 miles east (at a speed of 1,500 knots) towards Asia. Once there Reptisaurus has a confrontation with the natives and ends up over a Chinese city. And there he sees a Chinese New Year Dragon float. 

Love at first sight

He thinks it's a female of his species and immediately prances forth to, well there’s no other way to say this, he mounts it. Just take a look...

Charlton Comics Give You More Indeed - Rock the Float!

The Chinese peasants seem to think this is the most hilarious thing they have ever seen. Then again it's not every day that you see the most sacred of spiritual and magical beast hump a mechanical dummy.

Unfortunately Mao and his henchmen are less amused and they shoot at Reptisaurus ruining the mood. But our hero keeps returning to give his float some lovin.

I feel so sorry for the guy in this float

So the Communist government decides to stop this flying pest in the most absurd way possible. They fill the empty float with TNT and nitroglycerin...

Communist TNT & Nitroglycerin

So when lover boy returns we get...


A furious Reptisaurus spends his wrath on Mao then retreats to grieve over his lost love in the forbidden Himalayas with only the yeti for company. So this post had something to do with cryptids after all.

Now I have read dozens of dragon slaying epics including one where the hero fed the dragon a sticky bun to glue it’s mouth shut and one where the hero had to kick the dragon in the ass to kill it because that was it's only vulnerable spot, but this is the only one I have ever seen that involved an explosive sex toy.

To get your own copy of Reptisaurus #5 (or any of the other Reptilicus/Reptisaurus comics just go to the links below...

The comics are free and in the public domain, but none are as insane as this one.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Gorgo or the Attack of Mamma Bunyip!

Poster for Gorgo
 One of the things that really irks me is people claiming things about a fictional critter that proves they either have poor reading comprehension or never saw the movie. Gorgo is a prime exampe of this.

Gorgo is a 1961 giant monster movie directed by Eugène Lourié from a screenplay by John Loring and Daniel Hyatt. It stars Bill Travers and William Sylvester. It forms a trilogy with 'The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms' and 'The Giant Behemoth'.

In the film two treasure hunters see a 60 foot sea serpent off the coast of Ireland. They capture the creature and take it to London where the animal is made an attraction at a circus/zoo who bill their attraction as Gorgo.

Gorgo as a Sea Serpent, from comic book issue 2
Meanwhile scientist study the creature and speculate on it's origins (possibly prehistoric) and discover that Gorgo is only a baby. If the baby is 60 feet long just how big would the adult be?

Sure enough, Gorgo’s 200 foot long mother comes pounding ashore looking for her offspring and makes a bee line to where her baby is imprisoned. Nothing stands in her way be it the Army, power lines, or Big Ben. Momma rescues her baby and together they walk back into the sea leaving a destroyed London and a chastised mankind in their wake.

Original Gorgo Lobby Card
Gorgo is thus famed for being the only classic Kaju movie where the monster wins. It is also famous for two misconceptions film historians who have copied down what others said without doing any research (or actually watching the film) to see it it is true.

This is the rumor I despise the most simply because just watching the movie dispels it. Book after book written on movie monsters repeats this bit of silliness over and over. Sigh, anyone with eyes can tell Gorgo is not a Gorgosaurus. The movie never calls or even compares Gorgo to a Gorgosaurus. The movie in fact makes a big deal of having a character claim that Gorgo is so terrifying the sight of it would turn one to stone like in the Greek legend of the Gorgon. The Greek Gorgon was Medusa so Gorgo has nothing to do with the Alberta Tyrannosaur once known as Gorgosaurus.
Albertosaurus AKA Gorgosaurus

 P.S. I saw a similar bit of silliness the other day on TV Tropes involving the book Kronos by Jeremy Robinson. The writter comments that the creature in the book is supposed to be a Kronosaurus but blows like a whale and undulates vertically, something kronosaurus could not do. Fine and dandy except that Kronos is not supposed to be a Kronosaurus and the main character (who is a marine biologist) even says "That is not a Kronosaurus". Kronos is supposed to be the New England sea serpent and anyone who bothered to check the literature would have found that this cryptid does indeed spout like a whale and undulates vertically.  


I have no idea where this one started and have only seen this claim on internet sites and Wikipedia. I suppose it is because Japan did a lot of man-in-a-suit giant monster movies (such as Godzilla) during the 1960s.In addition the island that Gorgo is originally found offshore of is called Nara. There is a Nara period in Japan's history but considering the location WAS ireland it is more likely that it is an anagram for the Aran Islands, off Ireland's west coast.

 Acctually the fact that Gorgo was originally set in Australia was a fact pointed out as early as 1980 in Glut's Dinosaur Scrapbook. This was also published in the 1993 Magazine "Dinosaur: The Collectible Edition 1-A" published by Starlog. No older sourcebook ever mentions Japan. Both websites claim that the Australia story started in Bill Warren’s book 'Keep Watching the Skies' but this book was not published until 2009, decades after the fact.

As a final nail in the coffin for the Japanese theory there is the fact that the plot of Gorgo is based on the following Australian Aboriginal myth with the supernatural bits removed for modern audiences...

Long, long ago,  some men decided to go fishing to provide food for their tribe. Most of the men used worms, but one, who had put a piece of raw meat for dinner into his skin wallet, cut off a little bit and baited his line with it, unseen by his companions.

For a long time they cast patiently, without receiving a single bite; then the youth, who had baited his hook with raw meat, suddenly saw his line disappear under the water. Something, a very heavy fish he supposed, was pulling so hard that he could hardly keep his feet, and for a few minutes it seemed either as if he must let go or be dragged into the pool. He cried to his friends to help him, and at last, trembling with fright at what they were going to see, they managed between them to land on the bank a creature that was neither a calf nor a seal, but something of both, with a long, broad tail. They looked at each other with horror, cold shivers running down their spines; for though they had never beheld it, there was not a man amongst them who did not know what it was—the cub of the awful Bunyip!
Bunyip, as drawn by an Aboriginal after a supposed sighting

All of a sudden the silence was broken by a low wail, answered by another from the other side of the pool, as the mother rose up from her den and came towards them, rage flashing from her horrible yellow eyes. 'Let it go! let it go!' whispered the young men to each other; but the captor declared that he had caught it, and was going to keep it. 'He had promised his sweetheart,' he said, 'that he would bring back enough meat for her father's house to feast on for three days, and though they could not eat the little Bunyip, her brothers and sisters should have it to play with.' So, flinging his spear at the mother to keep her back, he threw the little Bunyip on to his shoulders, and set out for the camp, never heeding the poor mother's cries of distress.
Illustration of the abduction of the bunyip from the Brown Fairy Book
By this time it was getting near sunset, and the plain was in shadow, though the tops of the mountains were still quite bright. The youths had all ceased to be afraid, when they were startled by a low rushing sound behind them, and, looking round, saw that the pool was slowly rising, and the spot where they had landed the Bunyip was now underwater.  For an instant they stood watching, frozen with shock, then they turned and ran with all their might, the man with the Bunyip running faster than all. They fled to the village but the flood and the perusing mother monster was right at their heels. The village begged the youth to let the baby bunyip go but the man refused. Just then the man's arms became wings, his body covered in black feathers, and his feet became webbed. He, and everyone in the village, had been turned into black swans for their treachery.
The little Bunyip was carried home by its mother, and after that the waters sank back to their own channels. The side of the pool where she lives is always shunned by everyone, as nobody knows when she may suddenly put out her head and draw him into her mighty jaws. But people say that underneath the black waters of the pool she has a house filled with beautiful things, such as mortals who dwell on the earth have no idea of. Though how they know I cannot tell you, as nobody has ever seen it.

Bunyip crushing a victim in her jaws

Unfortunately Australia was dropped from the movie because it did not have any distinguishing landmarks at the time. If Gorgo is ever remade it should destroy the Sydney opera House as a tribute to it's origins.
Until then Gorgo will live on in pop culture if only as the inspiration for Guilmon of Digimon Tamers.

By the way all of Charlton Comic's Gorgo Magazines are in the Public Domaign. You can find them here...

Gorgo as the whale eater, a sea serpent type found in Australian and north Atlantic myth


'The Dinosaur Scrapbook' by Donald F. Glut

'The Great New England Sea Serpent: An Account of Unknown Creatures Sighted by Many Respectable Persons Between 1638 and the Present Day' by J. P. O'Neil

'Dinosaur: The Collectible Edition 1-A' Magazine by Starlog, Jan 1993

The Brown Fairy Book, by Andrew Lang, 1904

'Keep Watching the Skies! American Science Fiction Movies of the Fifties' by Bill Warren.