Encyclopaedia of Cryptozoology
Pygmy plesiosaur

Reconstruction of a trio of basking plesiosaurs by Zdeněk Burian.

Category River monster / Long-necked reptile / Amazon dragon
Proposed scientific names
Other names
Country reported Venezuela
First reported 1989
Prominent investigators

The pygmy plesiosaur is a cryptid reported from Venezuela's Auyán-tepui, most famously reported by explorer Aleksandrs Laime, who claimed to have observed three animals which he believed were a pygmy species of plesiosaur.[1][2][3][4]



Aleksandrs Laime, also called Alexander Laime, was the first to report this cryptid, having claimed to have spied three individuals in his 1955 expedition to the tepui. Laime recounted that:

They were sunbathing on a rocky ledge above the river. At first I thought they were seals, but when I sneaked closer, I saw they were creatures with enormously long necks and ageless reptilian faces. Each had four scale-covered fins instead of legs.


During a 1990 expedition to the tepui, biologists Fabian and Armando Michelangeli reported seeing the silhouette of an animal closely resembling those described by Laime, but when they approached for a better view, it plunged into the river.[1]


Drawings made by Laime shortly after the sighting depict an animal highly reminiscent of a plesiosaur, and Laime himself believed that the animals were adult specimens of a pygmy species of plesiosaur which had survived the Cretaceous and still existed on the tepui, surviving by virtue of their small size. Karl Shuker suggests that they might simply have been young individuals.[1] An alternative theory is that they may have been some species of large, long-necked otter, and some have suggested they may have been crocodiles.[1][5] Dale A. Drinnon theorises that they were softshelled turtles, perhaps a species with flippers instead of feet.[6]

Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Shuker, Karl P. N. (1995) In Search of Prehistoric Survivors: Do Giant 'Extinct' Creatures Still Exist?, Blandford, ISBN 9780713-724691
  2. Shuker, Karl P. N. (2016) Still In Search Of Prehistoric Survivors: The Creatures That Time Forgot?, Coachwhip Publications, ISBN 978-1616463908
  3. Eberhart, George M. (2002) Mysterious Creatures: A Guide to Cryptozoology ABC-CLIO, Inc. ISBN 1-57607-283-5
  4. Heuvelmans, Bernard & Hopkins, Peter Gwynvay (2007) The Natural History Of Hidden Animals, Routledge, ISBN 978-0710313331
  5. Smith, Malcolm Malcolm's Musings: Cryptozoology: A "National Geographic" Cryptid malcolmscryptids.blogspot.com [Accessed 24 July 2019]
  6. Drinnon, Dale A. (2009) "Amended Cryptozoological Checklist"