Encyclopaedia of Cryptozoology
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Drawings of various sea serpents by or for alleged eyewitnesses. Clockwise from upper left: the Valhalla sea serpent (1905), the Pentland Firth sea serpent (1919), the Princess sea serpent (1856), Reutz and Tuchsen's sea serpent (1755), and the Sacramento sea serpent (1877).

A sea serpent is any large marine cryptid which is described as being at least partially serpentine in shape.[1][2] Despite their name, sea serpents are usually described as moving with vertical undulations, unlike snakes, and are often believed to be mammals. Although animals like sea serpents appear in various cultures, and have been reported worldwide, the first investigations into such animals occurred in Scandinavia, particularly Norway, during the 16th to 18th Centuries; frequent sightings off the New England coast in the early 19th Century subsequently shifted focus to the United States. Sightings have been reported internationally since the 19th Century, but remain most common in the temperate waters of the Northern Hemisphere. A number of cryptozoologists have also suggested connections between sea serpents and certain lake monsters, particularly long-necked types.[3][4] The study of both sea serpents and lake monsters is sometimes controversially called dracontology.[5]

Discounting confirmed hoaxes and mistaken reports, most cryptozoologists have concluded that more than one possible unknown animal is described in sea serpent sightings, and some cryptozoologists have attempted to devise classification schemes for these animals. The Heuvelmans system[1] is the most widely-referred to classification system, but it has been criticised and modified[6][7] by later cryptozoologists, and subsequent general classification attempts include the Coleman-Huyghe system,[5] the Champagne system,[8] and the Marshall system.[9] The "classic" sea serpent is the humped sea serpent, often theorised to be some species of serpentine cetacean. The other main type, more recent than the humped, is the longneck, which is popularly believed to be a surviving plesiosaur, but is classified in cryptozoological systems as a long-necked pinniped. Other, less commonly-reported types appearing in all systems include the great sea centipede, marine saurian, and giant sea turtle.

Sightings[]

Atlantic Ocean[]

  • List of sea serpent sightings in the Atlantic Ocean (-1769)
  • List of sea serpent sightings in the Atlantic Ocean (1770–1816)
  • List of sea serpent sightings in the Atlantic Ocean (1816–1847)
  • List of sea serpent sightings in the Atlantic Ocean (1848–1891)
  • List of sea serpent sightings in the Atlantic Ocean (1892–1913)
  • List of sea serpent sightings in the Atlantic Ocean (1914–1945)
  • List of sea serpent sightings in the Atlantic Ocean (1946–1989)
  • List of sea serpent sightings in the Atlantic Ocean (1990–)
  • List of sea serpent sightings in the Mediterranean Sea

Pacific Ocean[]

Indian Ocean[]

Arctic Ocean[]

Southern Ocean[]

Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Heuvelmans, Bernard (1968) In the Wake of the Sea-Serpents, Hart-Davis, ISBN 9780246643124
  2. Eberhart, George M. (2002) Mysterious Creatures: A Guide to Cryptozoology, ABC-CLIO, Inc., ISBN 1576072835
  3. Costello, Peter (1974) In Search of Lake Monsters, Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, 9780698106130
  4. Champagne, Bruce A. "A Preliminary, Comparative Type Proposal For Large, Unidentified Marine and Freshwater Animals," The Journal of Cryptozoology Vol. 4 (December 2016)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Coleman, Loren & Huyghe, Patrick (2003) The Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents and Other Mystery Denizens of the Deep, TarcherPerigree, ISBN 978-1585422524
  6. Woodley, Michael (2008) In the Wake of Bernard Heuvelmans: An Introduction to the History and Future of Sea Serpent Classification, CFZ Press, ISBN 978-1905723201
  7. Shuker, Karl P. N. (2016) Still In Search Of Prehistoric Survivors: The Creatures That Time Forgot?, Coachwhip Publications, ISBN 978-1616463908
  8. 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
  9. Marshall, Carl "21st Century Sea Serpents," Animals & Men, No. 64–65 (June 2018)
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