Dinosaur-like animal of Central Africa, similar to the MOKELE-MBEMBE.
Etymology: From the Fang (Bantu) nya mala, "mother of canoes," or "animal that resembles a large canoe."
Variant name: AMALI.
Physical description: Said to resemble a sauro-pod dinosaur. Length, at least 30 feet. Weighs as much as an elephant. Threadlike filaments at the back of the head and neck. Long neck. A pair of pouches near the front legs. Long tail.
Behavior: Nocturnal. Comes ashore after midnight to feed. Eats a local vegetable called "jungle chocolate" (probably Landolphia), nuts, and fruits. Kills hippopotamuses.
Habitat: Lakes and rivers.
Distribution: Ogooue and Ngounie Rivers, Gabon.
Significant sightings: Fang witch doctor Michel Obiang saw a N'yamala around 1946 in the Ngounie River, Gabon, at the point where the Ikoy River branches off.
In 1976 and 1979, James Powell obtained firsthand reports of this large animal from villagers along the Ogooue River, Gabon. From a children's book on dinosaurs, they identified the diplodocus and the plesiosaur as closely matching the N'yamala.
Sources: Bernard Heuvelmans, Les derniers dragons d'Afrique (Paris: Plon, 1978), pp. 267-270; Roy P. Mackal, Searching for Hidden Animals (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1980), pp. 59-78; Roy P. Mackal, A Living Dinosaur? In Search ofMokele-Mbembe (Leiden, the Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 1987), pp. 19-27.
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