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Dinosaurs are believed to be extinct but could there be survivors alive in the impenetrable swamps of central Africa? Perhaps the sightings of mokele mbembe should not be taken lighty!

Since 1913 there have been numerous sightings in the African Congo of a creature closely resembling the brontosauras. Reports of dinosaur survival in Africa actually further back than this century if you consider the rock paintings of long-necked quadrupeds. This creature is commonly known as mokele mbembe (meaning 'rainbow'), named by local pygmies. Common descriptions are of an elephant sized creature, reddish-brown or grey with smooth skin and a long muscular tail similar to that of an alligator. The legs are short in comparison to the long neck which is topped by a reptilian head. Footprints left on land are of a three-clawed foot.

James Powell, a Texan herpetologist was the leader of the first cryptozoological expedition to the area in 1979. His report included tales of a strange animal called n'yamala living in the swamps of Gabon which resembled the sauropod diplodocus. the diplodocus was a grey dinosaur with a long neck and tail similar to the brontosaurus. James Powell also said that a local witch doctor had told him he had seen a n'yamala around 1946, of over 30 feet (9m) in length, with a huge neck and tail, weighing at least as much as an elephant. Interesting findings were made in the autumn of 1981 when Herman Regusters and his wife became the first Westerners to suceed in reaching Lake Tele. They returned with sounds recordings, plaster cast footprints, and samples of droppings. They also claimed to have sighted mokele membe on the lake.

Marecellin Agagna, a zoologist from Brazzaville zoo led a Congolese expedition which arrived at Lake Tele in April 1983. He also claimed a sighting of mokele mbembe about 300 yards (275m) out on the lake. He thought the animal was reptile. His description was of a thin reddish head with oval eyes like a crocodile. The head was about 3feet (90cm) above the water, and turned from side to side as though looking for him. During the next there was at least six further expeditions, but disappointingly very little further evidence emerged. Travel writer Redmond O'Hanlon returned from his expedition convinced that the sightings were nothing more than misidentifications of forest elephants fording lakes or rivers with their trunks raised.

By 1992, Dinosaur fever had subsided dramaticly. A Japanese film crew shot some interesting footage in September 1992 showing unusual activity in the water of Lake Tele. Expert opinon failed to confirm the video evidece in any way. Mitsuharo Ondo. the director of the Bala film told how the footage had been shot while the expedition crew were flying into the interior to begin there overland trek of the lake. They had planned to pass over the Tele region on the way, so they could film the lake and get an impression of the terrain they faced ahead on foot.


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