Giant North American Lizard

Large, unknown Lizards of North America.

Variant names: Canip monster lizard, Cross-wick monster, Giant pink lizard, Gowrow Mini-rex, Mountain boomer, River dino, River lizard.

Physical description: Various sizes and descriptions.

Behavior: Some are bipedal, others quadrupedal.

Tracks: Three- or four-toed.

Distribution: British Columbia, Canada; Colorado; Texas; South Dakota; Ohio; Kentucky; Pennsylvania.

Significant sightings: Prior to 1820, when a

198 giant kangaroo drought exterminated them, pink lizards 3-8 feet long were said to inhabit "Catlick Creek Valley," which Mark Hall has identified as Scippo Creek in Pickaway County, Ohio. The animals were said to have horns like a cow's.

In the late nineteenth century, two young boys fishing in a stream near Crosswick, Ohio, were attacked by a lizard that stood 12-16 feet tall. Three men rescued the boy, but the lizard escaped into a huge hollow tree. Later in the day, townsfolk came to cut the tree down, but the animal ran away on its two hind legs.

Myrtle Snow claimed to have seen five "baby dinosaurs" near Chromo, Colorado, in May 1935 when she was three years old. John Martinez had shot one a few months earlier after it killed some sheep. It was 7 feet tall, gray, had a head like a snake's, short front legs with claws, large hind legs, and a long tail. Snow saw similar animals near a cave in 1937 and October 1978.

Several reports of smallish, bipedal lizards have come from Vancouver and Texada Islands, British Columbia. In one instance, railroad workers came across a nest of 12-inch-tall lizards that scampered away on two legs.

In July 1975, there were several sightings of a large, black-and-white-striped lizard with a red, forked tongue near Canip Creek in Trimble County, Kentucky. It left clawed tracks that were 5 inches long by 4.5 inches wide. Clarence and Garrett Cable saw it on three occasions in a junkyard near Milton. It appeared to be about 15 feet long.

In 1981, a 2-foot, green, crested lizard was chased by some boys along a railroad track in New Kensington, Pennsylvania.

In the early 1990s, Jimmy Ward investigated rumors of a green or brown, bipedal lizard with a booming voice in west Texas near the Big Bend National Park. It was called the Mountain boomer and stood 5-6 feet tall on its hind legs.

In 2000, Ron Schaffner obtained some photos showing small, dinosaur-like lizards allegedly taken in the Fountain Creek, Colorado, area, but the animals might well be rubber models.

Possible explanations:

(1) Unknown monitor lizards (Family

Varanidae), though existing species are known only from Africa, Asia, and Australasia.

(2) Surviving Matthewichnus caudifer, a fossil amphibian whose tracks are known from the Carboniferous period, 300 million years ago, in Tennessee, suggested by Mark Hall.

(3) A neotenic Mole salamander (Ambystoma spp.), also suggested by Hall. However, this overgrown, underdeveloped larva (axolotl) does not leave the water.

(4) Escaped pet Colombian black-and-white tegu (Tupinambis teguixin), which looks somewhat like a monitor lizard and grows to 4 feet long, suggested by Chad Arment for the Canip Creek animal.

(5) Escaped pet Green basilisk (Basiliscus plumifrons), a bright-green, arboreal lizard from Central America that grows to 3 feet and has a banded tail and dorsal crest, suggested by Chad Arment for the New Kensington lizard.

(6) The Eastern collared lizard (Crotaphytus collaris collaris) is, for unknown reasons, also called the Mountain boomer, though it has no vocal cords. A Western subspecies (C. c. baileyi) is found in the Big Bend area and grows to about 2 feet in length. It runs on its hind legs.

Sources: "More Monsters," Doubt, no. 16 (1946): 236-237; Erasmus Foster Darby [David Knowlton Webb], A True Account of the Giant Pink Lizaard ofCatlick Creek Valley, Being a Tale of South Central Ohio Pioneer Days (Chillicothe, Ohio: [Ross County Historical Society], 1954); Hazel Spencer Phillips, Crosswick Monster: Folklore Series, no. 11 (Lebanon, Ohio: Warren County Historical Society, 1978); Myrtle Snow (letter), Empire Magazine, Denver Post, August 22, 1982; Mark A. Hall, Natural Mysteries, 2d ed. (Minneapolis, Minn.: Mark A. Hall, 1991), pp. 27-42; Jimmy Ward, "The Mountain Boomer," Far Out 1, no. 4 (1993): 45-46; Chad Arment, "Dinos in the USA: A Summary of North American Bipedal 'Lizard' Reports," North American BioFortean Review 2, no. 2 (2000): 32-39, http://www.strangeark.

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com/nabr/NABR4.pdf; K. Strong, "Reports of Unknown Reptiles on Vancouver Island," BCSCC Quarterly, no. 39 (January 2000): 5.

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