The Quest for Monster | Science of Research | Educational Documentary Films
Sea monsters are mythical or legendary creatures, believed to dwell in the sea and often imagined to be of immense size. Marine monsters can take many forms, including sea dragons, sea serpents, or multi-armed beasts. They can be slimy and scaly and are often pictured threatening ships or spouting jets of water. The definition of a “monster” is subjective, and some sea monsters may have been based on scientifically accepted creatures such as whales and types of giant and colossal squid. Historically, decorative drawings of heraldic dolphins and sea monsters were frequently used to illustrate maps, such as the Carta marina. This practice died away with the advent of modern cartography. Nevertheless, stories of sea monsters and eyewitness accounts which claim to have seen these beasts persist to this day. Such sightings are often cataloged and studied by folklorists and cryptozoologists.
Sea serpent reported by Hans Egede, Bishop of Greenland, in 1734. Sea monster accounts are found in virtually all cultures that have contact with the sea. For example, Avienus relates of Carthaginian explorer Himilco’s voyage “…there monsters of the deep, and beasts swim amid the slow and sluggishly crawling ships.” (lines 117-29 of Ora Maritima).
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