New clues to mystery sea monster

By | September 4, 2008

Fresh clues have been found to help a scientist in her efforts to identify a mystery creature found on Orkney.

Geneticist Dr Yvonne Simpson has researched the Stronsay Beast and will reveal her latest discoveries at the Orkney International Science Festival. The creature’s carcass, which some said was that of a basking shark, was found off Stronsay in 1808. Dr Simpson has said the descriptions of its long neck were along the lines of those of the Loch Ness Monster. … “The drawings of the Stronsay Beast carcass are strikingly similar in shape and size to the popular image of Nessie.” – bbc

From a sketch made by Sir Alexander Gibson in 1808.

The Stronsay beast was a large, dead sea-creature that washed ashore on the island of Stronsay (at the time spelt Stronsa), in the Orkney Islands, after a storm in 1808. The carcass measured 55 feet in length, but as part of the tail was apparently missing, the animal was actually longer than that (Wernerian Society Notes, 1808-1810, Library, Royal Museum, Edinburgh.[1] The Natural History Society (Wernerian Society) of Edinburgh could not identify the carcass and decided it was a new species, probably a sea serpent. Later the anatomist Sir Everard Home in London dismissed the measurement, declaring it must have been around 36 feet, and deemed it to be a decayed basking shark (basking sharks can take on a ‘pseudo plesiosaur‘ appearance during decomposition). In 1849 the Scottish professor Goodsir in Edinburgh came to the same conclusion. However, the largest reliably recorded basking shark was 40 feet in length, so at 55 feet in length, the Beast of Stronsay still constitutes something of a cryptozoological enigma.

  • The Stronsay beast was 55 feet long, as measured by three witnesses (one was a carpenter and the other two were farmers).
  • It was 4 feet wide and had a circumference of approximately 10 feet.
  • It had three pairs of ‘paws’ or ‘wings’.
  • It had skin that was smooth when stroked head to tail and rough when stroked tail to head.
  • Its fins were edged with bristles and it had a ‘mane’ of bristles all down its back.
  • The bristles glowed in the dark when wet. … – wikipedia

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