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Friday, June 04, 2010


Dear Friends/Editors/Producers/Scientists

Today we received an email from Will Elliott of Watford, Hertfordshire (UK). Will has been doing some of his own research (photographic) on the now famous photos from our Warner Amazon Expedition last year. He, and others like him, are the reason we chose to publish our data extensively on our web site (bigsnakes.net).

Will Elliott has found what looks like an eye on photo 317. Given that we already knew we had a photo of Yacumama (Black boa/Minhoc√£o) it does not surprise us but it might change the opinions of a few sceptics still out there.

The eye, its shape, size and position on the head beneath the postocular ridge are all in proportion and in keeping with the contemporaneous data we have compiled e.g. 'Eyes as big as saucers' or 'search lights' (think Amazon boat).

We estimate the size of the eye to be between 8 & 10 inches in diameter on a head that is c. 6 feet wide above water.

Let’s be clear; we don't know Will and have never communicated before today.

Will's correspondence to us and the description of his methods are at the bottom of this page with a commentary from Professor Ian Montgomery, Head of Biological Science's, Queens University, Belfast.

Please follow the link below to see all the images and correspondence:



Syd said...

Is anyone in CFZ bloggoland clever enough to explain to me, why it is that the more I see and read about this alleged giant snake, the less I believe the story.

Congo Willy said...

A great update and i very much enjoyed reading it!
Cant wait for the Warners next expedition to the Amazon.
They will surely bring back some great evidence and plenty more photos & videos to see!
This is a great mystery that hopefully is about to be unveiled...
In the future we might even get to see them venture into the Congo for the search of the mysterious "Mokele-mbembe"!!!
Thumbs up Warners ;) Brilliant work!

Jason Pratt said...

Whoops; somehow forgot to register for comment tracking...

Jason Pratt said...

I'm sure glad someone finally managed to point out where the snake's head and body are supposed to be!

There are, however, at least two things that still don't quite add up to me:

1.) The mud-colored extension beyond the head clearly has to be explained somehow as being contingent with the large muddy-shaped object. This has always been a stumbling block for me, since its shape seems more easily explained as a smaller mudwash (notwithstanding claims that we're looking at a ~50 foot deep flooded zone!) than as anything connected to a serpent. The artist's suggestion of (one of a pair of) mouth tentacles, while brilliant, doesn't fit very well with the folk description of the creature--even where the Warners try to provide such a fit. Their own descriptions are "ears", "horns" or "antennae"--nouns which fit the folklore--not chin tentacles or something of that sort.

2.) The upper small muddy lump thing needn't necessarily be explained as connected to the larger lump thing, of course (unlike the lower smaller muddy ribbon), so I haven't necessarily held its existence against identification of the main lump. But if I am being asked to consider it part of the body behind a submerged neck, then I am also being asked to believe that this monstrously massive body is NOT displacing foliage proportionately behind the upper lump. Which seems extremely tenuous--there is not even the slightest sign of displacement. One can get an idea of trunk coverage from other places in the photo; this thing ought to be pushing aside those trunks, or crushing them over (much as is claimed for other photos!) Even the artist didn't try extrapolating the body beyond the water edge. I submit that, had he done so, it wouldn't have looked very plausible.

3.) Before I accept a dagger-slitted pupil, like that of a viper, I would want some indication either that the cryptid is supposed to be a viper (which has been far from done); or how often constrictors might be found with such eyes (also no comparison done yet, but potentially useful); and/or folk testimony in favor of a dagger-slited eye. This is far from a fatal problem, but once again the data actually presented by the Warners indicates something rather different: 'Eyes as big as saucers' or 'search lights' (think Amazon boat). That sounds more like the round pupil of a constrictor (such as the anaconda whose photo they helpfully provided for comparison).

Still, I truly appreciate the artist's ability to finally illustrate what the Warners are thinking they're seeing! The pros and cons of their case can be more carefully and fairly weighed, and that's always a good thing. I recommend they link on that page to raw video of the flyby, to help illustrate the lack of similar 'mudbanks' beyond the three questionable things. (Better yet, though, would be a comparison shot of the area not flooded.)


Jason Pratt said...

Having just looked over the 9:45 of aircraft footage again, it seems obvious that while the area might be under 50 inches of water, it is not under 25 feet of water (i.e. half the size of the trees estimated by the Warners near the muddy-colored object). There are fishing villages, rice paddies, logging areas, not only clearly visible but identified by the Warners.

This is far from fatal to the claim that there's a 6' wide snake in the photo--a flooded depression of 7 or 8 feet could pretty easily result in a snake poking its head out of the water in such a way. But of course, a flooded depression of 7 or 8 feet doesn't eliminate extraordinarily tall mudwashes either, the way an area 25'+ deep might intuitively do.

Notably, the artist's hypothetical fill-in for the shape of the neck and torso, is not much wider than the nearby foliage is tall above water. This means one way or another the scale is off-whack: the "snake" is 25' feet wide, or maybe 10-15' wide-- with a wider head of course!--depending on the foliage height nearby.