The longneck is a type of sea serpent and lake monster appearing in most sea serpent classification systems. The longneck is the most commonly-reported sea serpent, and, alongside the humped sea serpent, one of the best-known, although it is not known to have been reported prior to the 19th Century.
A. C. Oudemans, classifying the longneck (Megophias megophias) as a giant long-necked pinniped, regarded it as the only significant type of sea serpent. However, later systems have rejected Oudemans' attempts to shoehorn other reports into the longneck file. The long-necked sea serpent (Megalotaria longicollis; French: long cou) was by far the most common type of sea serpent in the Heuvelmans system, the first attempt at comprehensively classifying sea serpents. Although Heuvelmans believed them to be distinct for several reasons, his merhorse has frequently been lumped together with the longneck, and the Coleman-Huyghe system subsumes both into the waterhorse, as subcategories. The Champagne system also includes two longnecks, one cosmopolitan, the other endemic to the North Sea.
Historically, the most widely-supported explanation for longnecks was a surviving plesiosaur or plesiosaur relative, a theory which is still the best-known. However, since the late 19th Century, several cryptozoologists have preferred a speculative, giant long-necked pinniped. Since the 1890s, several cryptozoologists have argued that the oceanic longneck is identical, or very closely related, to the freshwater long-necked lake monsters reported from temperate latitudes, such as Nessie, Champ, the bunyip, grootslang, and iemisch. Although beached specimens of longnecks are sometimes reported, these pseudoplesiosaurian globsters are generally identified as decayed basking sharks (Cetorhinus maximus).
Notes and references
- Heuvelmans, Bernard "Annotated Checklist of Apparently Unknown Animals With Which Cryptozoology Is Concerned", Cryptozoology, No. 5 (1986)
- Oudemans, A. C. (1892) The Great Sea-Serpent: An Historical and Critical Treatise
- Heuvelmans, Bernard (1968) In the Wake of the Sea-Serpents, Hart-Davis, ISBN 9780246643124
- Coleman, Loren & Huyghe, Patrick (2003) The Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents and Other Mystery Denizens of the Deep, TarcherPerigree, ISBN 978-1585422524
- Champagne, Bruce A. "A Classification System for Large, Unidentified Marine Animals Based on the Examination of Reported Observations," Elementum Bestia: Being an Examination of Unknown Animals of the Air, Earth, Fire and Water (2007), Lulu Press, ASIN B001DSIB2W
- Shuker, Karl P. N. (2016) Still In Search Of Prehistoric Survivors: The Creatures That Time Forgot?, Coachwhip Publications, ISBN 978-1616463908
- Costello, Peter (1974) In Search of Lake Monsters, Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, 9780698106130