News blackout on strange creature!
It is perhaps only remotely possible, but should a live dinosaur be discovered, this would cause the most heated controversy; its very being would challenge Lyell’s geologic column and the theory of evolution. Some hint of the arguments likely became evident in April 1977, when a Japanese fishing vessel caught a 4,000 pound dead creature in its nets off the east coast of New Zealand. From photographs, sketches with careful measurements, and flipper samples for tissue analysis, it had every appearance of being a plesiosaur, or sea-dwelling dinosaur, which has until now only been known by its fossils. Unfortunately, the fishermen had to return the dead creature to the sea to save their fish cargo, but the evidence, such as the tissue analysis, showed that it was clearly not a mammal. Meanwhile, the measurements of the head and neck and the absence of a dorsal fin discounted the possibility of its being a basking shark. Nevertheless, Western scientists [far removed from most of the evidence] insisted that it was either a sea lion (mammal) or a shark, but most of the Japanese scientific community was convinced that it was indeed a plesiosaur.
‘The Japanese scientists who had examined the evidence (pictures, witnesses, and fin samples) thought the dead creature was a plesiosaur said to be extinct more than 100 million years ago.’
What happened after that as far as the press was concerned was typical of the common censorship or severe curtailment of news which does not support the theory of evolution. The ‘plesiosaur’ discovery ‘evidently came close to upsetting the foundation for secular humanism, and there was a virtual news blackout in the western hemisphere, even though the museums and National Geographical [sic] Society were fully informed. In contrast, the Japanese press, radio and television gave this item full coverage and even commemorated the event with a postage stamp depicting the creature as a plesiosaur, or sea-dwelling dinosaur.’
Composed of extracts from In the Minds of Men (Second edition with revisions) by Ian T. Taylor, TFE Publishing, Toronto, 1987 (quotes from pp. 106–7, 426–7, 467).
Ed. note: more recent evidence shows that this creature was a rotting basking shark, not a plesiosaur. See:
- Live plesiosaurs: weighing the evidence, TJ 12:3 (December 1998)
- Letting rotting sharks lie, TJ 13:2 (November 1999)