The Mokele Mbembe are living dinosaurs of the Congo River. Physical evidence of the sauropod confirms its home territory cuts a swath across the African republic of Congo, which is straddled by the deepest river in the world, with a depth reaching 750 feet. The survivor of the age of dinosaurs was given its name by the locals, more than 250 years ago.
As recently as 2012 organized parties have been traveling to Africa to locate and photograph a living dinosaur resembling a Brontosaurus. The Newmac Expedition was funded by Kickstarter in the amount of 29 thousand dollars, and of the contingent of six young men, the oldest member was 28 years old. According to the Florida Sun-Sentinel, a few days after their arrival in the Congo, the party of Americans was swallowed by the jungle, never to return.
For hundreds of years tales of the gargantuan Mokele Mbembe have been passed from one generation to the next, by the local Bantu people. The name of the creature translates as, “one who stops the flow of the river”. The Bantu describe it as forty feet in length, with a long neck and a large pot-belly. Although it is a herbivore and eats only foliage, it is very territorial and will gladly fight any hippopotamus or rhinocerous caught trespassing on its feeding grounds.
Sightings of the sauropod by Europeans begin in 1776, when a French missionary to the region, Levi Bonaventure, stumbled upon the gigantic footprints that are characteristic of Mokele Mbembe, which are three feet in diameter… not including the impression of its claws. The beast was notorious for killing hippopotami, and it lived in caves along the river Congo.
The German surveyor of Cameroon, Freiherr von Stein, wrote an account in 1913 of an animal larger than an elephant with smooth gray skin, a protracted flexible neck and a long, muscular tail, like the tail of an alligator. If a canoe approached it too nearly, the Mokele Mbembe would attack the vessel, drowning the crew… but it would not eat the bodies. Its diet was entirely vegetable.
In 1932 Cryptozoologist Ivan T. Sanderson and his African guides found tracks along one bank of the Congo River, consisting of a large footprint with three claws. They heard a bellowing roar from a nearby swamp, with more volume than the trumpet of an elephant. This was followed by the sharp report of a firearm in the distance, which Sanderson believed to be from another party, hunting big game. Then they heard a sound like a moving train, crashing through the brush. The beast erupted from the jungle some distance downriver, and fell into the water. Its head alone, was as big as a hippopotamus. The water swallowed it whole. In Sanderson’s opinion, the creature had been wounded.
The Nugent expedition of 1985 interviewed local inhabitants, who were shown pictures of animal life, both modern and prehistoric. In reponse to the question, what does the Mokele Mbembe look like, they invariably identified the same image, a picture of a Brontosaurus. The expedition leader Rory Nugent spotted an anomaly moving down the middle of the river. He ran to launch his boat but was prevented from leaving shore. The locals ordered him at gunpoint not to go near the behemoth. The Congolese told him, “You may not approach, but if it so chooses, it may approach you.”
There is physical evidence associated with the hunt for Mokele Mbembe. The Regusters expedition of ’81 returned with sound recordings of a “low windy roar increasing to a deep throated blast”. In ’92 members of a Japanese documentary crew were filming B-roll aerial footage from a small plane, when the camera person captured an object creating a considerable wake in the slowly moving waters below. She filmed for 15 seconds before the thing submerged.
In 2006 the Milt Marcy Expedition returned from Cameroon with a plaster cast of a Mokèlé-mbèmbé footprint, and in 2009 a History Channel team found the empty lair of the monster in one bend of the Congo River, an underground cave with air vents. The team also recorded sonar readings of a very long, very large serpentine shape, underwater.
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