Note: this article covers possible pterosaur and plesiosaur survival, as well as dinosaurs.

In cryptozoology, living dinosaurs are claimed to exist. Sightings are often first reported not by Western scientists but by indigenous peoples, so their existence is often considered by the scientific community to be doubtful, merely the stuff of legend. Thus, reports of living dinosaurs can be studied as either being mythology combined with a sociological phenomenon, or as possible evidence for further investigation in the field of cryptozoology.

Arguments for dinosaur survivalEdit

According to some cryptozoologists, living dinosaurs are not a zoological impossibility, particularly in areas that have been geologically stable for the past sixty million years. Larger dinosaurs that are cold-blooded (ectothermic) might have a more successful chance thriving in stable, warm, equatorial regions than warm-blooded (endothermic) animals with higher metabolic rates. Ectothermic creatures also require only ten percent of the amount of the food taken in by fully endothermic animals. Determining dinosaur energetics and thermal biology without living models, though, is pure speculation.

The evidence advanced so far in support of dinosaur survival consists of eyewitness sightings, legends and ancient works of traditional art that supposedly depict dinosaurs. Most reports of currently surviving alleged dinosaurs come from African rain forests in the Congo, although lake monsters, often claimed to be surviving plesiosaurs, are reported from many climates.

Arguments against dinosaur survivalEdit

Apart from the fact that no dinosaur fossil has ever been found that is younger than the Cretaceous Period, which ended 65 million years ago, there are problems with the internal logic of claims about dinosaur survival. Those who argue that dinosaurs could have survived in Africa often claim that Africa has been "geologically stable" since the Cretaceous, when this is in fact not true. At the end of the Cretaceous, Africa was significantly farther south than its current location and even small degrees of difference in location make for vastly different environments. Africa was, in other words, a vastly different place during the time of the dinosaurs, so any claim that depends purely upon the notion that Africa has been stable over the relevant time simply cannot be supported.


Many reports of surviving dinosaurs come from Africa.


The Emela-ntouka is an African legendary creature in the mythology of the Pygmy tribes, and a cryptid purported to live in Central Africa. Its name is claimed to mean "killer of the elephants" in the Lingala language. In other languages it is allegedly known as the Aseka-moke, Njago-gunda, Ngamba-namae, Chipekwe or Irizima.[1] [2][3]

The Emela-ntouka is claimed to be around the size of an African Bush Elephant, brownish to gray in color, with a heavy tail, and with a body of similar shape and appearance to a rhinoceros, including one long horn on its snout. Keeping its massive bulky body above ground level supposedly requires four short, stump-like legs. It is described as having no frills or ridges along the neck. The animal is alleged to be semi-aquatic and feed on Malombo and other leafy plants. The Emela-ntouka is claimed to utter a vocalization, described as a snort, rumble or growl.

The structure of its horn is debated among writers on the subject. If the "horn" was ivory, then it would be a tusk (tooth) and not a horn at all. Some rhinoceroses do have tusks, especially the Asiatic one-horned kinds; yet these are not known to inhabit Africa. If the horn is made of bone, then the creature is a reptile, as many fossil reptile groups, such as the ceratopsians, had horns made of bone. Finally, the horn could be made of keratin, as are the horns of African rhinos.

This cryptid is alleged to mainly inhabit the vast shallow waters in the swamps and lakes of the Congo River basin, especially in the Likouala swamps in the Republic of the Congo, and possibly Cameroon. It is also said to inhabit Lake Bangweulu in Zambia. They are claimed to be solitary, herbivorous animals. The inhabitants of the area are alleged to treat the creature with great fear.

J.E. Hughes published his book Eighteen Years on Lake Bangweulu in 1933, in which he reported that an animal that fits the description of an Emela-Ntouka (although not referred to by this name) was slaughtered by Wa-Ushi tribesmen, along the shores of the Luapula River, which connects Lake Bangweulu to Lake Mweru.

The Emela-Ntouka was mentioned by name for the first time in 1954, in an article in the journal Mammalia, authored by former Likouala game inspector Lucien Blancou. He stated the Emela-Ntouka was "larger than a buffalo" and dwelled throughout the Likouala swamps. It was also Blancou who first mentioned the fact that an Emela-Ntouka kills elephants, buffalos or hippos when disturbed[4], much like the Mokele-mbembe‎'s allegedly renowned hatred for hippos. While both animals are both supposedly herbivorous, they also supposed to share a fierce sense of territoriality, and it is for this that the pygmies are claimed to "fear it more than any other dangerous animal". At about 1930, an Emela-Ntouka was supposedly killed near Dongou.

Later evidence was contributed by Dr. Roy Mackal, who led two expeditions into the Congo in 1980 and 1981. He gathered details on various other cryptids. 1987 saw the publication of Mackal’s book, A Living Dinosaur, wherein he summarized the expeditions.[5]

A popular speculation is that the mythical monster is in fact a relict ceratopsian. . In 1981, Dr. Roy Mackal while searching the Congo for the Mokele-mbembe, collected accounts of the Emela-ntouka. Mackal initially considered that Emela-ntouka might be a Monoclonius, or a Centrosaurus, both [ceratopsians. As such, it might be related to the Ngoubou, which might be a six-horned Styracosaurus. However, Mackal also noted the pygmies did not report a neck frill, which he would have expected on a ceratopsian.[6] Furthermore, the Ceratopsia are absent from Africa's fossil record. Author Loren Coleman suggested that the Emela-Ntouka is not saurian, but a new species of semi-aquatic rhinoceros.[7]


The Kongamato ("breaker of boats") is a reported pterosaur-like creature from the border area of Zambia, Angola and Democratic Republic of the Congo. Suggested identities include a modern-day rhamphorhynchus, a misidentified bird, or a giant bat.

Frank Melland, in his 1923 book In Witchbound Africa, describes it as living along certain rivers, and very dangerous, often attacking small boats. It was red, with a wingspan of 4 to 7 feet. Members of the local Kaonde tribe identified it as a pterodactyl after being shown a picture of one from Melland's book collection.

In 1956 an engineer, J.P.F. Brown, allegedly saw the creature at Fort Rosebery (today called Mansa) near Lake Bangweulu in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia). It was about 6:00 p.m. when he saw two creatures flying slowly and silently directly overhead. He observed that they looked prehistoric. He estimated a wingspan of about 3 to 3 1/2 feet (1 meter) and a beak-to-tail length of about 4 1/2 feet (1.5 meters). It reportedly had a long thin tail, and a narrow head which he likened to an elongated snout of a dog.

The following year, at a hospital at Fort Rosebery, a patient came in with a severe wound in his chest, claiming that a large bird had attacked him in the Bangweulu swamps. When asked to draw the bird, he allegedly drew a creature resembling a pterosaur. This drawing does not appear to have survived to the present.[8]

There are reports of similar creatures (no details given in sources) from Angola, Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia, Tanzania and Kenya.


The Mbielu-mbielu-mbielu is a cryptid reported from the Likouala Region of the Republic of the Congo.[9] Only a few claimed sightings have been reported, at the villages of Bounila and Ebolo, which were collected by the cryptozoologist Roy Mackal.[10] No physical evidence for the creature exists.

Apparently herbivorous, it is described as "the animal with planks growing out of its back" - which has led some writers on the subject to suggest one of the Stegosauridae. The animal appears to be aquatic[11], and has mostly green algae growth covering the "planks".


Mokèlé-mbèmbé, meaning "one who stops the flow of rivers" in the Lingala language,[12] is the name given to a large water dwelling cryptid found in legends and folklore of the Congo River basin.[13] It is sometimes described as a living creature and sometimes as a spirit.

Several expeditions have been mounted in the hope of finding evidence of the Mokèlé-mbèmbé, though without success. Efforts have been covered in a number of books and by a number of television documentaries.


The Ngoubou is a ceratopsian-like cryptid in the savanna region of Cameroon.[14] It is said to have six horns, and fights elephants for land, despite its smaller size (about the size of an ox, according to locals).[15]

In November 2000, William Gibbons and David Wetzel did some preliminary research in Cameroon for a future Mokele-mbembe expedition. While visiting with a group of pygmies they were informed about an animal called Ngoubou. Although ngoubou is also the local word for rhinoceros, the pygmies asserted this was not a regular rhinoceros, as it had more than one horn (six horns on the frill in one account), and further stated that the father of one of the senior members of the community had killed one with a spear a number of years ago. The locals had noted a firm decline in the population of these animals lately, making them harder to find.

Gibbons identified the animal with a Styracosaurus, but these are currently only known to have inhabited North It might be related to the Emela-ntouka, but this animal is single-horned.[16] Ceratopsian fossils are not found in Africa.

Bernard Heuvelmans included a sighting of an animal resembling the Ngoubou in his book "On the Track of Unknown Animals". The sighting, apparently from the London Times, was taken on the 17th of November 1919. The sighting was made by a man named Lepage who was in charge of a railway construction in the Belgian Congo. He states that while hunting in the Congo rainforest "he came across an extraordinary monster, which charged at him. Lepage fired but was forced to flee, with the monster in chase. The animal before long gave up the chase and Lepage was able to examine it through his binoculars. The animal, he says, was about 24 feet in length with a long pointed snout adorned with tusks like horns and a short horn above the nostrils. The front feet were like those of a horse and the hind hoofs were cloven. There was a scaly hump on the monsters shoulder."[17]


Nguma-monene ("large python" in the Lingala language[18]) is claimed to live in the Republic of Congo, it is described as being like a large lizard with a serrated ridge on its back.

Two testimonials of sightings exist that were made near the Dongu-Mataba (a tributary of the Ubangi River) in The Republic of the Congo. The first was done in 1961; the second ten years later in 1971 by pastor Joseph Ellis. He estimated the length of the (visible) tailpart as 10 meters long (equal to his dugout, no neck or head could be seen), and a diameter of 0.5 to 1 meter. Its color was tending to greyish-brown. When back in the village, it appeared that the subject was taboo. The above and other sightings were gathered by University of Chicago biologist Roy Mackal, who led two expeditions to the Likouala swamps in the Republic of Congo, while searching for the Mokele-mbembe.[19] Mackal concluded that the animal has a low-slung body, and therefore is more like a lizard then a snake, as "Ellis was positive the animal never raised itself sufficiently after leaving the water". Mackal also noted that the animal's triangular- or diamond-shaped ridges were similar (but smaller) to those from the Mbielu-Mbielu-Mbielu, but not the animals themselves. This is a common misreading from his book and mixed up at a lot of webpages.


Possibly the same animal is described in the 1958 book On the Track of Unknown Animals by Bernard Heuvelmans. In 1928 a snakelike animal called Ngakoula-ngou or Badigui was reported in the Ubangi-Shari area. This report was made by game inspector Lucien Blancou, who later in 1954 also made the first report of the Emela-Ntouka.[20] According to this report, it killed a hippo in the Brouchouchou river without leaving any sign of a wound. It also crushed a manioc field, causing tracks from 1 to 1.5 meter wide. Similar reports from 1932 (at Bouzoum) and 1934 exist, in which it is named Diba, Songo, Mourou-ngou and Badigui. In the 1934 report, an old man had especially come to see Blancou, as he was told that he showed interest in the animal. The old man narrated that in about 1890 he was fishing in the Kibi stream (Bakala district), and saw the Badigui eating from a tree, called "roro". He described the neck to be "as thick as a man's thigh", and the underneath of the neck was lighter colored. He could not see the full body, only about 8 meters of the neck. He also said "it does not frequent places where you find hippos, for it kills them". Finally in 1945, the animal's tracks were spotted near Ndélé, by Blancou's gun carrier.

A drawing of the animal is given in Mackal's book In Search of Mokele-Mbembe, on page 256.

The Kasai rex, the subject of two suspiciously similar reports from the Congo basin, is a tryannosaur-like creature - or, perhaps a quadrupedal one. However, the reports have many problems and are best treated with caution.


The Sirrush is a scaled, long-necked animal recorded in ancient Babylonian literature, and a bas-relief from the area is surmised to be this creature.

South AmericaEdit

In addition to the alleged claims of surviving dinosaurs in Central Africa, there have also been some reports of unknown, large reptiles, possibly dinosaurs, surviving in the vast rain forests of South America.

The Swedish naturalist Rolf Blomberg described in his book Rio Amazonas(1966) his meeting with a very old Brazilian Indian'. The man, Alvaro Mesquita, told Blomberg of his earlier meeting with a "prehistoric beast". Mesquita encountered the creature during a nightly hunt at the shore of a swampy lake around the Rio Purús/Rio Juruá-area in the Amazon basin. Mesquita said he suddenly saw two glowing red eyes high above the ground, and tried to get closer. When he got close, he saw it was a bipedal reptile. Mesquita described the animal as resembling the herbivore dinosaur Camptosaurus. He tried to shoot at the monster, but missed, and the creature fled into the lake.

Blomberg himself was very skeptical about this story.


A little-known and rarely reported creature is the burrunjor, named after its main location in Arnhem Land, NT, Australia.[21] It is said to closely resemble Tyrannosaurus or similar carnivorous dinosaurs. Investigator Rex Gilroy claims to have found, and made a plastercast of, one of its footprints.[22]

Another creature, this time from Aboriginal legend, was the kulta, a large, long-necked animal which inhabited the south of Northern Territory. It died out as the land turned to desert.

two large, reptilian cryptids are reported from New Guinea: the ropen, a flying creature with a few descriptions, and the row, a little-reported dragon-like creature.

North AmericaEdit

The well-developed continent of North America has, surprisingly, a few reports of living dinosaurs, usually of pterosaur-like appearance, leading David Hatcher Childress to theorise that a surviving population of pteranodon exists there.


The well-developed continent of Europe would not be expected to bring up any reports of large reptilian cryptids, but in the Alps the tatzelwurm figures in reports going back to the 18th century.

See alsoEdit


  1. The Cryptid Zoo: Emela-ntouka (or "Killer of Elephants")
  2. Emela-Ntouka
  3. Karl Shuker (1995). In Search of Prehistoric Survivors. Blandford, London. ISBN 0-7137-2469-2
  4. American Monsters
  5. Roy P. Mackal (1987). A Living Dinosaur? In Search of Mokele-Mbembe. E.J. Brill, Leiden.
  6. » Emela-Ntouka: Africa’s Killer of Elephants
  7. Loren Coleman & Jerome Clark. Cryptozoology A-Z. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999. Page 83
  9. Clark, J "Unexplained!" (Visible Ink, 1993) ISBN 0-8103-9436-7, p100.
  10. Mackal, Roy P. A Living Dinosaur? In Search of Mokele-Mbembe; Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1987: ISBN 90-04-08543-2
  11. Mbielu-Mbielu-Mbielu,, last accessed March 2007
  12. Clark, Jerome (1993) "Unexplained! 347 Strange Sightings, Incredible Occurrences, and Puzzling Physical Phenomena", Visible Ink Press, ISBN 0810394367, pp.261-7
  13. Mackal, R. P. (1987) "A Living Dinosaur? In Search of Mokele-Mbembe", E.J. Brill, ISBN 9004085432
  15. [ Ceratopsians
  16. Mackal, Roy P. A Living Dinosaur? In Search of Mokele-Mbembe; Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1987: ISBN 90-04-08543-2
  17. On the Track of Unknown Animals by Bernard Heuvelmans, Kegan Paul, 3rd revised edition, 1995 ISBN 0-7103-0498-6
  18. Everything2
  19. Mackal, Roy P. A Living Dinosaur? In Search of Mokele-Mbembe; Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1987: ISBN 90-04-08543-2
  20. American Monsters
  21. The Burrunjor; a living dinosaur? at
  22. Giant Lizards of the Australian Bush at

External linksEdit