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Abominable Science!Origins of the Yeti, Nessie, and Other Famous Cryptids$
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Donald Prothero and Daniel Loxton

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231153201

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231153201.001.0001

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The Evolution of the Sea Serpent

The Evolution of the Sea Serpent

From Hippocamp to Cadborosaurus

(p.176) 5 The Evolution of the Sea Serpent
Abominable Science!

Daniel Loxton

Donald R. Prothero

Columbia University Press

This chapter discusses the existence of sea serpents. The seas of the ancient imagination swarmed with a teeming variety of powerful, malevolent monsters. Many were inspired by true-life animals filtered through folklore, mythology, and tales of travelers returned from distant lands, blending real and folkloric creatures, such as sea monsters, whales, dragons, and snakes into one another. A pivotal classical example of a sea serpent-like creature is the hippokampos or hippocamp. An imaginary mer-creature, the hippocamp combines the fore-parts of a horse with a looping, coiled tail inspired by fish or dolphins. On the other hand, the Cadborosaurus, the best-known modern iteration of the hippocamp-inspired Norwegian serpent is seen in the Pacific Northwest of North America. According to legend, it was a huge serpent with fore-flippers, a lobed tail, a mane, and a head something like that of a camel or horse.

Keywords:   sea serpents, sea monsters, hippocamp, Cadborosaurus, Norwegian serpent

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