An artist's concept of the Mokele-mbembe
|Country||Democratic Republic of the Congo|
|Habitat||The Congo River Basin|
The Mokèlé-mbèmbé, which means "the one who stops the flow of rivers" in the Lingala language, is a dinosaur-like cryptid that lives in the Congo. It is said to look like a sauropod, or long-neck, dinosaur, such as Apatosaurus. The Mokèlé-mbèmbé was the focus of the children's book Cryptid Hunters by Roland Smith. There have been many sightings in the Congo and Cameroon. Its meat is apparently poisonous, as a group of villagers once killed one and everybody who ate the meat died shortly after. Besides the sasquatch, Loch Ness Monster and Mothman, this is one of the most well-known cryptids.
DescriptionIn the jungle of central Africa countries of Congo, Cameroon, and Gabon there were reports of an animal with a long neck, a long tail, and rounded shape tracks with three claws. The closest known animal that has these characteristics is a sauropod dinosaur. When some of the local people of the Likouala region would draw in the dirt or sand a representation of Mokele-mbembe they drew the shape of a sauropod dinosaur. Then when they were shown a picture of a sauropod dinosaur they said that picture is Mokele-mbembe.
Mokele-mbembe means "One that stops the flow of rivers." A French priest in the region called it "monstrous animal." Mokele-mbembe is also used as a generic term to refer to other animals like Emela-ntouka, Mbielu-mbielu-mbielu, and Nguma-monene. Mokele-mbembe has been described as an animal with a long neck and tail which are characteristics of a sauropod dinosaur.Its body size is somewhere between the size of a hippopotamus and an elephant. Its length has been reported to be between 5 to 10 meters (16 to 32 feet). The length of the neck is between 1.6 to 3.3 meters (5 to 10 feet). The length of the tail is between 1.6 to 3.3 meters (5 to 10 feet). The reports out of Cameroon have reported Mokele-mbembe to be up to 75 feet in length. There have also been reports of a frill on the back of the head. The frill is like the comb found on a male chicken. There have also been reports of it having a horn on its head. It could be based on terrified locals who have found bones of prehistoric sauropods like Paralititan, Aegyptosaurus, Vulcanodon, or Massospondylus although they only grew up to 45 feet.
Footprints and SoundsThe color of the skin is predominately reddish-brown with a color range from gray to brown. There are no reports of hair on the animal. The tracks rounded in shape between 30 to 90 centimeters (1 to 3 feet) in diameter with three claws. The distance between tracks is about 2.1 to 2.4 meters (7 to 8 feet). The basic belief is that Mokele-mbembe does not make any sounds though there have been come conflicting reports. This is probably due to the fact that Mokele-mbembe is used generically for other animals and the sound is being confused with Emela-ntouka which makes a sound like a snort, howl, roar, rumble, or growl. Mokele-mbembe lives in the pools and swamps adjacent to the rivers of the Likouala swamp region of The People's Republic of the Congo on the continent of Africa. Its uses the lakes as a crossing path to go from one river to another river.
BehaviorThe pygmies of the Likouala swamp region report that the essential diet of Mokele-mbembe consists of the Malombo plant. Since it only eats plants then Mokele-mbembe is classified as a herbivore. The Malombo plant actually describes two plants: Landolphia mannii and Landolphia owariensis. Mokele-mbembe lives most of the time underwater except when it eats or travels to another part of the swamp. It has as been reported that Mokele-mbembe does not like hippopotamuses and will kill them on sight, but it does not eat them. Hippopotamuses cannot be found where Mokele-mbembe lives. It has as been reported that Mokele-mbembe will overturn boats and kill the people from the boats by biting them and hitting them with its tail, but it does not eat the people. If this was a living sauropod most scientists and paleontologists doubt it would become hostile or carnivorous due to the fact that there are over 1,000 kinds of plants in the congo.
Sightings and Expeditions
- April 2000 - Cameroon, Boumba River, Two Congolese security guards
- 2001 - February/March - CryptoSafari, Cameroon
- 2000 - November - Gibbons-Wetzel, Cameroon
- 1992 - Operation Congo 2
- 1992 - Japanese Expedition