Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

CRYPTOZOOLOGY NEWS: The Iceland serpent, and the Siberian mammoth explained

So the two great cryptzoological stories of the last week or so have been solved - apparently. First up is that bloody mammoth which was actually the better executed of the two media sensations.

The general opinion within the cryptozoological community both on this blog and elsewhere was that it showed a bear with a large salmon in its mouth. Now, it is claimed that the person who shot the original footage has come forward and denounced it as a fake.

Ludovic Petho came forward to say he shot the video that made headlines during a 10-day hike in Siberia's Sayan Mountains in 2011. He recognizes the footage as his own except for one thing: his original video never showed a mammoth.

"I don't recall seeing a mammoth; there were bears, deer, and sable, but no woolly mammoths. I had no idea my footage was used to make this fake sighting."


And the Icelandic river monster?

Finland's Miisa McKeown has analyzed the video, matching up the position of the monster's head with relation to static reference points. Her conclusion? The "monster" is actually stuck in one place on the river. The snaky thing looks as if it's swimming upstream because water is streaming past it. It's the moving water that creates the illusion of a swimming snake.

It appears that the monster was nothing more than a piece of fishing net snagged in a river.


The thing that I find particularly interesting is not that both videos were not what they pretended to be. I never thought they were. But that - if these explanations are true - they are completely at variance with what the cryptozoological community (who didn't believe in them either) thought that they were.

I have a sneaking suspicion that both these stories have some life in them yet!


Dan said...

This sort of thing is going to happen more and more, you know. That fake Nessie photo of mine took perhaps fifteen minutes to construct using the free Linux tool GIMP (as opposed to the far superior Photoshop suite). It looks vaguely realistic; more work on placing it would make it look even better, but that pic is what a complete amateur with a mediocre set of tools can knock together in minutes.

When you take a professional image manipulation system, and one of the usual shaky, shonky rubbish videos that purport to be "Idiot with camera sees Bigfoot/Nessie/UFO/ghost" and so on, then you have a recipe for more and more rubbish fakes.

The mammoth looked to me like a video of a small Indian elephant walking along a flat surface, with a curiously even water wave superimposed in front of it, and the whole placed onto the film of the flowing river. It looked realistic, if somehow slightly wrong due to the evenness of the wave upstream of the animal.

That is today's technology and software, as presumably created by a non-professional. Do the same thing with a much better-equipped professional with a Beowulf cluster and decent software, and you'd not be able to tell it from reality. This is the future; we're going to be awash with dubious filmatic fakes.

Dale Drinnon said...

BTW, Ludovic came in early on and posted notice on my blog that he had shot the footage but there was no mammoth there, only bears. Tyler Stone had suggested just before that the image was computer generated and as it turnred out the actual explanation dovetailed both comments.

And I in no way believe the Icelandic "Serpent" was an effect innocently duplicated by a loose piece of fishing equipment, I'm holding out for a deliberate hoax using a mechanical device.

Best Wishes, Dale D.

Carl said...

Ok, so the so called Siberian mammoth was superimposed. The "mammoth" still looks like a bear with a large salmon in its mouth to me.