A giant sea monster, akin to the mythological Kraken, may have terrorized Earth's ancient oceans, drowning or breaking the necks of its prey before dragging the bodies to its underwater lair.
Paleontologist Mark McMenamin, at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, announced Monday that he had discovered a peculiar arrangement of bones that he thinks is proof of the lair of the 100-foot-long beast of old, and the gruesome attacks on its prey.
Discovery.com, however, says we need to question McMenamin’s science because “the entire tale is based on an untested hypothesis about a puzzling pile of bones.”
It is, after all, a hypothesis for the existence of the mythological creature that terrorized the “Pirates of the Caribbean”:
While McMenamin admits there is no direct evidence for the beast, he suggests that's because it was soft-bodied and didn't stand the test of time.
McMenamin discovered the odd configuration of bones while visiting a fossil site in the Nevada desert this summer. They are the bones of ichthyosaurs, a giant marine reptile the size of a school bus that the Kraken once ate.
The arrangement reminded McMenamin of the pile of debris that the modern octopus piles up to conceal the entrance of its den, leading him to believe this could have been the Kraken’s lair.
McMenamin also said that strange markings on the bones suggested the ichthyosaurs were not all killed and buried at the same time.
“We all love a good story, particularly if it involves ancient sea monsters big enough to take down ships,” says Discovery. “But when you start hearing from scientists that those same sea monsters were expressing themselves artistically, it may be time... to question the difference between a good story and solid science.”
On McMenamin’s Wikipedia entry, someone has now written that the paleontologist has earned the nickname “McMinimal” from his colleagues, “due to the perceived poor quality of his research.”
But McMenamin is unphased by the skepticism. “We're ready for this. We have a very good case,” he said.