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THE JAPANESE CARCASS: A PLESIOSAUR-TYPE ANIMAL!
A review of the evidence
by Malcolm Bowden
(The following article first appeared as a Creation Science Movement pamphlet available from them Box 888, Portsmouth PO6 2YD - 2.00 inc. p+p)

Fig. 1. First side view. Note (a) the cable bent around the carcass; (b) The yellowy "horney fibres" along the edge of the front left flipper near the bottom right corner of the picture.

Fig. 2. Second side view.

Fig. 3. View of carcass on deck. Note the yellowy "horny fibres" along the right front flipper.

Fig. 4. Rear view. Note (a) the red flesh along the spine - and (b) the small lump of flesh on the right hand side of the spine.

In 1977, a rotting carcass was dredged up off the coast of New Zealand by the Japanese trawler Zuiyo Maru. On board was Michihiko Yano, a qualified biologist and an experienced crew. All of them were puzzled by what had been dredged up. Yano took five photos and pulled a few horny hairs off the edge of the front flipper, but the carcass had to be thrown back as it was feared that it might contaminate the whole catch.

Since then, there have been several articles in creationist publications, the majority of which concluded that the carcass was only that of a basking shark that had decomposed in such a way that the remains looked similar to a plesiosaur-type animal [Refs. 1, 2, 3, 4]. Wood's article [2] drew three letters [5,6,7] of criticism which were published in the Creation Research Society Quarterly journal.

In 1978 an official Franco-Japanese report [8 - CPC] consisting of separate papers by various Japanese scientists was published. Most of the papers concluded the carcass was probably a basking shark. (It should be mentioned that this report is very difficult to obtain and the British Museum did not have a copy. My creationist friend, Paul Garner, had to write to Tokyo for a copy and was eventually sent the English translation section. Paul very kindly sent me a copy of the CPC pages he had received but these did not have any of Yano's photos or diagram of the carcass. Fortunately I had downloaded good quality colour pictures of four of his photos from a website <http://www.gennet.org/nessy.htm> and Yano's drawing was in one of the articles.)

As I read this paper, it became clear that those who had later written on this subject and accepted the "basking shark" identification had obtained almost all their evidence from this one document. However, when I examined it, I concluded that it was an extremely unsatisfactory review of the original evidence and was heavily biased in favour of the "basking shark" identification from the beginning. Therefore, I have dealt first with the Collected Papers report itself. After that I examine some further articles on the carcass that agree with the "basking shark" identification, and then to one article in particular that supported the identification of the carcass as a "plesiosaur type." It is important to understand that I am not identifying the carcass as a plesiosaur - the bone formation is too different. But I do believe the evidence clearly shows that the carcass was not that of a fish or shark, but of an unknown mammal, not unlike a plesiosaur.

Regarding this examination, when quoting a passage, all words emphasised in italics or enclosed in square brackets within it are by this author. The downloaded photos all had to be reversed left-to-right to agree with those in other articles, and we have enlarged the areas to present the important information as large as possible. Some drawings have been turned so that all the creatures face the same way and they have been made the same length for easier comparison of proportions.

1. THE "COLLECTED PAPERS ON THE CARCASS..." [Ref 8 - CPC]

In the forward, Dr. Sasaki wrote that he decided to publish the report "from a proper scientific society, plainly presenting our divided opinions. Then, let the readers have their own views based on their own evaluation of the articles presented in the publication, and, from now on, let us refrain from giving individual publicity to our opinions."

This sounds a very unbiased presentation and while the whole paper does have some conflicting views, most reports generally support the identification of the carcass as that of a basking shark. An indication of this bias is contained within the foreword itself. The primary meeting was held on September 1st. at which 12 people were present, all in high positions of authority. This appears to have been the main meeting, for a second on the 19th September was for "exchanging references and opinions." Now, one might have expected the person at the centre of this investigation, Michihiko Yano, the biologist on board the boat at the time, would have been present at both meetings, but he was not; he only attended the second meeting. It would appear that the first meeting was the crucial one during which the general approach was discussed. More important, there is no paper by him recounting his first-hand account of the events in this collection of papers. It appears that all his evidence was carefully filtered by his superiors and he is only occasionally referred to in their writings.

Yano's qualifications and standing are also diminished. He is described as "one of the crewmen" [p67]. It is only in the creation articles that he is acknowledged as a trained biologist. In fact Yano was 39 years old, had graduated from the Yamaguchi Oceanological High School and was the Assistant Production Manager of the Taiyo Fisheries.

This bias against him is seen from the first page of the first paper in the report [p45]. The two authors admit that, due to their specialist subjects, they may not be fully qualified to discuss the classification of the carcass. They continue saying that "the only material providing evidence" is the horny fibres Yano brought back. They contend the photos "are apt to lead to diverse interpretations", and the verbal descriptions and sketch "may have been largely biased or influenced by the observer's preconception."

Such a comment is quite unjustified. Yano and all the crew members were experienced and would have easily recognised the corpse of a shark and thrown it back. Yet they were baffled by the identity of the carcass. They all gave as accurate a description of it as they could without claiming that it was any particular species - living or extinct. Why should such evidence be dismissed as "biased" when they had no motive to gain from their evidence?. They could not make any money or prestige from the incident as the carcass had been thrown away. There is a very clear dismissal of their evidence throughout the whole of this paper. When they are quoted, it is immediately followed by an "explanation" that suggests why they were "misled" in believing what they saw was something different. Thus, the authority of the "experts" -- who admitted they were not fully qualified to discuss the classification -- looking at only photos of the carcass overruled the first-hand evidence of Yano and the crew. They even contradict Yano's insistence that a particular member in one photo was a right anterior fin of unusual structure. Instead, these two authors consider the item to be two separate fins close together.

THE DECAYED CARCASS [p48]

The first report notes;

This is one of the most important statements in this whole report for several principle features were admitted.

    (a) The covering of strong dermal fibres - as in mammals;
    (b) The fat-like tissues - fat is not found in fish
    (c) The red muscles - not possessed by fish
    (d) The smell was of a mammal, not the strong ammonia smell of putrefying fish and sharks.
    (e) The head was hard, unlike that of a fish.
    (f) The nares were on the front of the skull - not like sharks.

It is important to note that every one of these features is a strong indication that the carcass was that of a mammal and not that of a fish or shark. This eyewitness information could only have come from Yano and the crew, but every effort is later made to "explain away" these features on the weakest of arguments - or ignore them - as we show below.

In the meantime, it cannot be emphasized strongly enough that only ONE of the above listed points need be present to ensure the carcass could not possibly have been that of a fish or shark.

Let us then examine the way in which some of these points were treated in an effort to dismiss them as not crucial evidence of a mammal.

(b) THE DECAYING FATTY TISSUES. "The strongest argument opposing the shark theory comes from Yano's observation that the carcass was covered by a fat-like sticky substance. Sharks do not have a thick layer of fat under the skin" [p65] The fourth paper makes no further observation on this subject which flatly contradicts their conclusion, but immediately discusses the red flesh.

The sixth paper is devoted to the decay of fat to adipocere, a white substance with the consistency of a soft soap - just as was found on the carcass. There is no suggestion in this sixth paper that the carcass was that of a shark and the subject gets little treatment in other papers. But this layer of fat remains indisputable and strong evidence that the carcass could not have been that of a shark and was almost certainly that of a mammal. No paper even attempts to explain how this fat could be from a shark.

(c) THE RED MUSCLES. [See Fig. 4 at top of page] The fourth paper admitted there were red muscles along the spine like that of mammals but minimised this aspect by saying ".. a former student of mine... has informed us that even the muscle of squalid sharks appears as red as tuna meat along both sides of the backbone" [p65].

Now notice what has happened in this line of reasoning. Red flesh is observed on this carcass, and it is dismissed by referring to similar red meat on squalid sharks. But Basking sharks are not one of over 70 types of squalid sharks! What has happened is that to explain away the presence of red flesh, a quite different type of shark has been referred to. Now it can either be a squalid shark (which would explain the red meat) OR a Basking shark (which would explain some of the other features). But the carcass cannot be both at the same time. Thus, if the experts wish to explain the red meat, they must stick with the "squalid shark" identification throughout, not change it to a basking shark when they meet other features. This (temporary) switching of identification gives an indication of the level of the logic used in some of these papers

(d) THE ABSENCE OF SMELL OF AMMONIA. "...the carcass did not smell of ammonia, which is a characteristic feature of shark flesh. An explanation for this could be due to the extent of skin loss and decomposition, and therefore allowing the ammonia from the carcass to be washed out by the sea" [p65].

But why should this particular carcass, if it is a shark, not smell of ammonia as all others do? If the sea washes out ammonia, there should be few carcasses that smell of it. We are asked to believe that this one shark carcass has been subjected to virtually a unique treatment by the sea which has occurred to no other shark. This is hardly acceptable. It was still decaying as one paper said that it had "a putrid smell", yet it did not smell of ammonia. This indicates, once again, it most probably was not the carcass of a shark.

YANO'S SKETCH

Whilst the carcass was laying on the deck, Yano took a number of measurements, and when it had been thrown back he made a sketch while his memory was still fresh [p48] , although Shuker claims Yano did not make the drawing until he returned to Japan. Yano did not draw the body lengths of the carcass to the correct scale to match his measurements, but his drawing (Fig. 5) was sufficiently detailed to present the basic anatomy of the animal.

yanos drawing

Fig. 5. Yano's drawing of the carcass

Yano's stretched
drawing

Fig. 6. Yano's drawing in proportion


In Fig. 6 the central portion of his drawing has been stretched to give the body lengths the same proportions as those that he measured. As can be seen, the flippers in the photos appear to be much larger compared with the carcass's length than in his rescaled drawing. The flippers are not dimensioned in Yano's sketch but the measurement of 1m in length is given in two different papers.

If Fig. 2 is examined [top of page], the yellowy horny fibres on the edge of the left front flipper can be seen at the bottom of the photo and the large size of the whole flipper relative to the size of the carcass is obvious. If this is compared on the same photo with the 2m length of the neck that Yano measured, it can be seen that the correct length of the flipper is also about 2m long and possibly longer if measured from the point where it joins the body. The flippers are triangular shaped and it is possible that Yano measured one edge only to get the 1m, but the full length is nearer to 2m or more. That the neck and front flipper are about the same length can also be seen in Fig. 4.

We would also emphasise that Yano drew both flippers with a narrow connection to the body, whereas sharks have fins that have a broad attachment to the body and taper to a point at the far end. This is where it was surely vital that Yano should have been allowed to present a more correctly scaled and fully detailed sketch, point out what the various features are in the photos and give all his evidence in his own paper in the CPC report. However, as we have already highlighted, he was never given the opportunity to provide this vital firsthand information himself.

THE FOUR FLIPPERS.

"The crewmen ascertained that the animal had four large limbs and that the posterior pair were almost equal to the anterior one in size." By far the most distinctive feature of this carcass are the four large flippers that Yano shows in his sketch and which were confirmed by the testimony of the crew. It is this feature which makes it look so similar to that of a plesiosaur.

THE "SEXUAL CLASPERS"

the sexual claspers

Fig. 7. The sexual claspers

Connected with the embarrassing size of the four flippers, the fourth report considered their large size to be due to the combination of a basking shark's rear fins with its "sexual claspers". The report notes "if the animal was a male, it must [emphasis ours]have had a large clasper which is a continuation in the median axis of the pterygium of the pelvic fin. Therefore, in the male, the pelvic fin might [emphasis ours] appear as a large structure" [p65].

Examining Fig. 7, it can be seen that even if the areas of the pelvic fins and the small claspers are added, they cannot conceivably approach the size and position of the large rear flippers that the crew insisted were present and which Yano drew.

That this paper should claim this merger of the claspers with the pelvic fins as possibly a valid reason for Yano's misinterpretation indicates that the authors of this paper were "clutching at straws." Creationists appear to have somewhat uncritically accepted this explanation.

THE BONES IN THE FLIPPERS

Yano trod on the flippers and felt hard bone-like material. He sketched in his idea of what they were like, although, because of the circumstances, they cannot be completely accurate. However, he obviously considered that they were just like the five rows of phalanges (bony "fingers") that would be expected in a flipper of a mammal and not the cartilaginous fin rays that stiffen the fin of a shark.

The first paper makes a strange comment; "If the unidentified animal were a plesiosaur, it would have paired fins with the characteristic five rows of phalanges. But phalanges were not observed in the carcass." Now the carcass DID have the four flippers (fins) and obviously the five rows of phalanges could not be "observed" because they were still within the reasonably intact flippers. It would have been these that Yano trod on and found hard and bony. So the bony phalanges cannot be dismissed as if they were non-existant simply by saying "they were not observed."!

Interestingly, the authors of the first paper also conclude that they cannot identify this carcass with any living or fossil animal.

THE CHEMICAL ANALYSIS OF THE HORNY FIBRES

[See Figs. 1 and 3 at top of page] Yano removed 42 horny fibres from the edge of the flippers and washed them in an antiseptic solution of sodium hypochlorite. When analysed, the amino acid composition was found to be almost identical to that for elastoidin that had been obtained from the fresh fin of a basking shark. That elastoidin is not found in mammals has been hailed by creationists and evolutionists alike as being definitive evidence for the carcass being a basking shark. However, the following shoud be considered;

(1) The most obvious fact is that the identity of this animal is uncertain, and it is the only specimen that they have obtained. It is therefore possible that it may be unusual in being a plesiosaur-type creature having a similar composition to elastoidin in the horny fibres at the end of its flippers.

(2) Whilst their chemical composition might be very similar, the position from which they were obtained on the animals is quite different. The horny fibres appear to be about 15-25 cms (6-10"). long and attached to the edges of the flippers. They can be seen in Fig. 4 as yellowy fronds to the flipper just below the skull. On the other hand, the elastoidin would have been obtained from the interior structures that support the fin of the shark. In no drawing of any basking shark have I ever seen any fibres hanging from any edge of any of the fins as was the case with this carcass. That they had a similar composition is far from being a crucial means of identification for this is overruled by their quite different location.

(3) Although the amino acid compositions were similar, the fifth report that deals specifically with this subject admits "In contrast to the amino acid composition described above, there was a marked difference between the horny fiber and the elastoidin in their reducible cross-links which are polyfunctional amino acids derived from lysine, .... the radioactivity of tritium incorporated into the horny fiber was 110 cpm... which was 1/7 of the specific radioactivity of the elastoidin. This fact indicated that the horny fiber contained the extremely low amount of reducible cross-links comparing to the elastoidin" [p72]. In other words, contrary to some authors' claims, differences were found.

A graph of an analysis of four chemicals B, C, D, E, that were radioactive components of these cross links, gave the following values:
ChemicalBCDE
Elastoidin0.95.511.70. 6
Horny fibre0.72.72.21.9

These values are of the radioactivity "which represents the total amount of reducible compounds". They are significantly different, and the author tries to explain them by saying they were "conceivably" due to age-related changes and the treatment by the sodium hypochloride by Yano [p72]. They had the option of treating the specimens with sodium hypochloride to see if this affected the values, but neither of these factors were examined further. It might be thought that the lower values in the horny fibres were due to the chemicals being washed out by the sea water, but this is improbable as there is more of chemical E in the horny fibre than there is in the elastoidin!

The tested substances seem to be sufficiently different to say with reasonable certainty that they were NOT the same material, yet this is not discussed further in any of these papers. By contrast, the close similarity of the amino acid content of the two fibres is hailed as crucial. One can understand evolutionists claiming this, but it must be asked why none of the creationists who had access to these papers made no mention of these differences? Why did they not bring to the notice of their readers this discrepancy? Surely, in the interest of truth and accuracy, this and the various other contradictions of the shark identification should have been highlighted. Yet no article in any creationist magazine refers to this feature. One is left asking "Why?"

We would contend that these chemical measurements are either not critical, not reliable or show that the fibres were different. We would also question whether there were other chemicals that they might have analysed which may have shown that the fibres were quite different to those in a basking shark.

This heavy reliance on chemical analysis of elastoidin to support the idea that the carcass is a rotting shark is actually criticised by the authors of paper 1, who, referring to these tests, say

    "However, no chemical substances have thus far provided to be truly diagnostic for the classification of the higher taxa of vertebrates, in spite of the modern biologists and paleontologists' eager desire to utilize chemical characteristics as clues to investigate animal phylogony. As to the amino-acid composition under discussion, we have been informed that comparative studies of some groups of animals showed the existence of many amino acids common to all groups dealt with." [p 52]

Thus, none of the many chemicals in animals can be used for classifying them; they are too universal. Different chemicals yield different possiible relationships, and thus they cannot all be right.

THE "DORSAL FIN"

The 'dorsal fin'

Fig. 8. The drawing of the "dorsal fin" in the report

[See Fig. 4 at top of page. There is no evidence of any flesh torn from the line along the spinal column.]

This supposed "feature" proposed in the paper is so misleading that one can only conclude that it is a deliberate attempt to class the carcass as a shark on the slimmest of evidence. If Fig. 4 is examined, it will be seen that there is a lump well to the right of the spine which may be either a piece of rotting fat or the upper part of the rear flipper. The second paper contends,

    "Though the dorsal fin has not been mentioned by the eye-witnesses, nor was it shown in the sketch [perhaps because it was not there! - MB], the whole shape of a dorsal fin can be recognised in one of the photographs. Yano pointed out that the right pectoral fin had a large number of fibers near its base as well as along its margin. However, by close examination of the photograph we can clearly distinguish the base of a dorsal fin, though it has slipped from the mid-dorsal line, and numerous rays hanging down from its rounded tip. It seems that the pectoral fin was overlayed by a dorsal fin, thus presenting the appearance of an extremely long fin. Only this assumption can account for the unnatural appearance of the pectoral fin."

Thus, by ignoring Yano's first-hand explanation, the carcass is provided with a "dorsal fin" of an admitted "unnatural appearance" which precludes it being a mammal. This proposal should be totally rejected for two reasons:

Firstly, Yano, who saw the carcass, protested that it was a pectoral fin (we prefer the word "flipper"), and secondly, the point of attachment of the lump is far too far to the right of the spinal column to have ever been attached at any stage along the centre. For the full length of the spine visible in the photograph, the pattern of the red flesh and fat is uniform and there is not the slightest evidence that any other appendage was ever situated over the spine. There are no tear marks, no remaining flesh around the assumed base area of the fin, etc. In addition, dorsal fins do not simply "slip" to one side as the authors glibly propose in trying to account for its unnatural position. This paper gives a very simplified drawing of the supposed "fin" shown slipped to the right as shown here in Fig. 8. The reader should examine Fig. 4 to see if it is an accurate copy of the back of the carcass - or if they agree with our opinion that it is not a "slipped" dorsal fin.

The second paper "considered" it was a "species of giant shark, e.g. basking shark" on the evidence of (a) the presence of pectoral and dorsal fins with fin rays, (b) there were myocomata in the dorsal muscles and (c) decomposition could account for the shape of the small head. The four large flippers and the decomposing fat that Yano and the crew insisted were present were completely ignored.

In contrast to these views, it is interesting that the first paper admits that "It is also strange that the carcass had paired fins but no dorsal fin." [p49].

GENERAL COMMENTS ON THE REPORT

As the CPC is the official report whose results have been well publicised in several national newspapers, it is hardly likely to be sympathetic to the creationist movement. Had its conclusion been that it was a plesiosaur type, one can imagine that it would never have reached anywhere near publication. Therefore, we would contend that there would be a definite bias in the reporting of "facts" to ensure that only those that were against it being a plesiosaur would be given any prominence. This is an important point that must be kept in mind.

2.COMMENTS BY OTHER WRITERS

KUBAN'S ARTICLE

Kuban's drawing

Fig. 9. Kuban's drawing

basking shark

Fig. 10. A Basking shark

plesiosaur skeleton

Fig. 11. A Plesiosaur skeleton

Kuban is another expert referred to in one article [3] which reproduces a drawing he made [Fig. 9]. He combines his view of the carcass with that of a basking shark to show their similarlity. In Kuban's drawing the rear paddle has been "frayed out" and drawn to merge with the pelvic fin as though it could be mistaken for this fin. We give a separate drawing of a basking shark drawn to the same size as the other drawings [Fig. 10] and that of a plesiosaur [Fig. 11] to show how dissimilar they are to Kuban's drawing.

There is, however, a huge difference in size, and even more so in the shape, between the paddles of the carcass and either the pelvic fin or the claspers of a basking shark, as can be seen by comparing his drawing with that of the shark. When Yano trod on the paddles he could feel the bony structure in them. They could not possibly be confused with a pelvic fin, but this is what Kuban's drawing has done.

Finally, in Kuban's drawing, much of the lower edge of the carcass is shown as decaying into fronds and they are drawn like the horny fibres on the flippers. But these horny fibres were only on the flippers. Kuban's drawing in confusing the decaying fat and the horny fibres is misleading on this feature also. It is surprising that Kuban's writings should be referred to by creationists as he is an evolutionist who has written several articles against creationists, particularly on the dismissal of the Paluxy River human footprints.

SHUKER'S ARTICLE

Wood [2] referred to a website article by Shuker [9] that effectively dismisses nine "sea monster" carcasses as unlikely of being any such thing. However, some that he describes were nothing like any creature living today and this site is well worth a study by those interested for the details he gives of them.

3. KOSTER'S ARTICLE - THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ARGUMENT

John Koster wrote an article that appeared in "Oceans" November 1977. This was also reproduced on the website of the Missouri Association for Creation <http://www.gennet.org/nessy.htm> [10]. His article provided the four clear colour photographs of the carcass that we have used here, and the introduction hoped that readers would "enjoy the article which evolutionists policed from your review". We are grateful to the MAC that they have publicised this important article and particularly the colour photos.

In the article, Koster gives a very objective review of the evidence. Much of it is in favour of the plesiosaur identification, and he gives the following comments by Japanese professors:

"It's not a fish, whale or any other mammal. It's a reptile and the sketch looks very like a plesiosaur". A professor of palaeontology is quoted as saying, "Even if the tissue contains the same protein as the shark's, it is rash to say that the monster is a shark. The finding is not enough to refute a speculation that the monster is a plesiosaur".

Yano went before a board of three professors who were clearly puzzled by the evidence. Amongst the comments they made were,

    "If this had been a seal, the tail would be too long... If this had been a reptile the number of bones around the neck should be greater according to the drawing... Its easier to survive in the sea than on land. One theory is that the creature is a mammal, and the other that it is a long-necked monster (in other words, a plesiosaur). Within my knowledge it looks like a plesiosaur. But I can't say for sure... If it were a shark, the spine would be smaller, and the neck is too long as shown in the picture. I think we can exclude the fish theory... I don't think it is a fish... If its a reptile, it looks like a plesiosaur. The plesiosaur has fins in the front and back and the neck and tail were not too terribly long."

In reading these comments it should be remembered that they are made by two professors from Japan's National Science Museum and one from Tokyo University's Marine Research Centre who were able to question Yano closely. Although very highly qualified, they were obviously puzzled, and not prepared to class it as a decomposed basking shark even suggesting that it might be a plesiosaur. Koster's article names five Japanese professors, all open to the possibility that it might have been a plesiosaur. One of these was Professor Obata who has said "It must be either a mammal or a reptile, but with the materials we have, we can't judge which one." Interestingly, Obata was the only one of the five referred to in Koster's article who wrote one of the CPC papers. He co-authored the first paper, which shows far more bias against the plesiosaur possibility than Obata expressed when he first interviewed Yano.

THE ARTICLES BY CREATIONISTS

A careful reading of the CPC report leads me to the conclusion that it was specifically geared to dismissing the carcass as a plesiosaur-type animal. It is imperative to understand that both the scientific mainstream and the vast majority of public media are geared to promoting and preserving evolutionist explanations for phenomena. Explanations which disagree with the presupposition of evolution are dismissed on an a priori basis. This is extremely bad science and anyone seriously interested in the truth must be prepared to look beyond the public reports, as I think I have shown in this paper. Evidence is often concealed and/or misrepresented in order to support a predetermined conclusion. This kind of dishonesty should have no place in science or scientific reports. Creationists should always exercise the utmost caution if they contemplate using such evidence and pecifically look for internal contradictions and claims that are not supported by the evidence.

THE "FRENCH CONNECTION"

It seems rather strange that the CPC report should be published not as a purely Japanese report, but as a joint co-operation between the Japanese and a French organisation. Why should the French be involved? Why could not the Japanese publish this report themselves? In the English translation received, there is not a single reference to any French input. Why should this be? I would suggest the following scenario may have taken place.

There was a tremendous flurry of national interest in the carcass in all the major Japanese newspapers which lasted several weeks, and one can imagine the consternation that might have been felt in those countries where evolution is dogma and no evidence for creation is allowed onto the public platform. There was hardly any report of the incident in Europe. Yet here was an advanced nation openly discussing the idea that plesiosaurs still lived! There was a danger that the debate might range wider and cause problems nearer home.

It is not difficult to imagine that the Japanese authorities were approached at a very high level to contain this situation. The French connection was possibly to ensure that a report was quickly produced that would once and for all put down this unacceptably open debate on the carcass. This was most certainly the aim of the CPC report which, as we have tried to show above, had to twist the facts in order to reach the conclusion that the carcass was not a plesiosaur. The reason for the liaison with the French is speculation, but we can only voice our suspicions regarding its purpose.

In summary, we would suggest that to refer to this document as a final and authoritative word on the whole affair is unwise, and those who have blindly and uncritically accepted its contents and conclusions have been badly misled.

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE FIND

To admit that there were plesiosaur-type animals still living today would cause considerable consternation to evolutionists. As you go back in time there are an increasing number of reports of dinosaurs both on land and in the sea. Indeed, in Medieval times they were almost commonplace. This indicates thay they were very numerous not all that long ago. This does not fit with the evolutionary timescale that they all disappeared about 65 million years ago, and after such a long time, none should exist. It is for this reason that reports of any sightings are ignored in the scientific world and evidence such as this carcass is rapidly contradicted.

A FINAL THOUGHT

We would raise one aspect that appears to have escaped all previous writers on this subject. Recently dead fish or mammals often float and during that time they may be scavenged. All reported sightings of the decaying carcasses of basking sharks are on beaches and have obviously been floating on the surface and been washed there by the waves.

The carcass, however, was found 30 miles off the coast of New Zealand opposite Christchurch and was trawled off the bottom at a depth of 900ft [10]. It also had no signs of having been scavenged. Had it been a basking shark whose remains had decomposed, it should have been much more decayed than that of the carcass that was recovered. We have yet another difference between this carcass and those of the many basking sharks that have been found.

No doubt this will again be "explained away" by proposing that the carcass might have eventually risen to the surface at a later stage, but then why have not more of these carcasses with large flippers been found. I suggest that it is its density that takes such mammalian creatures quickly to the bottom and therefore far less likely to be discovered.

Sightings of plesiosaur-like creatures are more frequent than most people realise. There have been several reports of such creatures being sighted off the coasts of New Zealand and Australia, and one article [3] gives the Australian aboriginal drawing of a monster with a long neck and large flippers very similar in proportions to those of a plesiosaur.

GENERAL CONCLUSIONS

There is much that can be criticised in the CPC report, but we would emphasise the existence of the decaying fat, the presence of red flesh, and the fact that Yano was not allowed to give a full report on the carcass. All these indicate that it was possibly a plesiosaur-like animal which the authorities were not willing to acknowledge still existed.

..........................................................

REFERENCES

1. Article in "Origins" (Journal of the Biblical Creation Society) n 21 July 1996 p24-5

2. Wood, T. 1997 "Zuiyo-Maru carcass Revisited: Plesiosaur or Basking Shark?" Creation Research Society Quarterly v33 n4 p292-295

3. Jerlstrom, P. 1998 "Live plesiosaurs: weighing the balance" CEN Tech J 12 (3) 339-346

4. Jerlstrom, P."Letting rotting carcasses lie" CEN Tech J 13 (1) 83-87

5. Bowden, M. 1998 "The Japanese Carcass Examined Further" Creation Research Society Quarterly 34 (4):254-5

6. Chui, C. "Comments on Todd Wood's Letter.." Creation Research Society Quarterly March 1998 v34 n4 p252-3

7. Jang, A. "Yet Another Response to Todd Wood's Letter on the Zuiyo-Maru Carcass" Creation Research Society Quarterly March 1998 v34 n4 p256-8

8. CPC-Collected Papers on the Carcass of an Unidentified Animal Trawled of New Zealand by the Zuiyo-maru. 1978. Edited by T. Sasaki. La Societe Franco-Japonaise d'Oceanographie, Tokyo.

9. Shuker, K. 1995 "Bring Me the Head of the Sea Serpent" Strange Magazine n15. Also on website <http://www.strangemag.com/seaserpcarcsshuk.html>

10. Koster, J. 1977 "Creature Feature: What was the New Zealand Monster?" Oceans, 10:56-59. Also on website <http://www.gennet.org/nessy.htm>.

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