Probable CROCODILIAN of Australasia.
Variant names: Masalai ("spirit"), Massali, Migaua, Mussali, Rui.
Physical description: Crocodile-like body. Length, 30-35 feet. Gray skin. Horselike head and neck. Sharp fangs. Ridged back. Turtlelike legs.
Behavior: Swift swimmer. Distribution: Lake Dakataua, on New Britain in the Bismarck Archipelago, Papua New Guinea.
Significant sightings: During World War II, Wilfred T. Neill noticed crocodilians at the edges of some inland lakes of New Britain he was flying over.
In January and February 1994, a Japanese television crew accompanied by Roy Mackal took about five minutes of video footage apparently showing a Migo in Lake Dakataua. One segment featured three different sections of a long animal moving through the water. Possible explanations:
(1) A surviving mosasaur, a group of large, marine lizards related to modern monitors, suggested by oceanographer Shohei Shirai. Mosasaurs died out by the end of the Cretaceous period, 65 million years ago.
(2) Roy Mackal at first thought the Migo might be an evolved basilosaurid, a member of a family of early whales that lived 42-33 million years ago, in the Middle to Late Eocene.
(3) Mackal now thinks the video shows three Saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus) in a mating ritual.
Sources: Wilfred T. Neill, "The Possibility of an Undescribed Crocodile on New Britain," Herpetologica 12 (1956): 174-176; Brisbane Courier-Mail, February 4, 1972; Karl Shuker, "Close Encounters of the Serpentine Kind: Monitoring the Migo," Strange Magazine, no. 15 (Spring 1995): 31-32; Karl Shuker, "New Britain's Lake Monster," Fortean Times, no. 82 (August-September 1995): 38-39; Darren Naish, "Analysing Video Footage Purporting to Show the 'Migo': A Lake Monster from Lake Dakataua, New Britain," Cryptozoology Review 1, no. 2 (Autumn 1996): 18-21; Karl Shuker, "Making the Most of the Migo," Fortean Times, no. 106 (January 1998): 15.
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