Partridge Creek Beast

DlNOSAUR-like animal of northwestern Canada.

Physical description: Length, 50 feet. Estimated weight, 40 tons. Black. Immense jaws. One rhinoceros-like horn on its snout. Skin has grayish-black bristles like those of a wild boar. Two powerful hind legs.

Behavior: Bipedal. Roars loudly. Eats caribou.

Tracks: Footprints, 5 feet long and 2 feet 6 inches wide. Claw marks, 1 foot long. Creates a furrow 12 feet wide and 2 feet deep. Tail impression, 10 feet long and 16 inches wide.

Habitat: Rocky gorge.

Distribution: Partridge Creek, Klondike area, Yukon Territory.

Significant sightings: In 1903, James Lewis Buttler and Tom Leemore were hunting moose near the mouth of Clear Creek, Yukon Territory, when the three animals they were stalking suddenly took off running as if in a great fright. After discovering the tracks of a huge animal that had left a furrow in the mud 2 feet deep, they followed the trail across country for 6 miles until it disappeared into a gorge at Partridge Creek. Returning to the Armstrong Creek settlement on the McQuesten River, they met Georges Dupuy, Fr. Pierre Lavagneux, and five Indians, and all decided to head out the next day to look for the animal. After a day's unsuccessful search, they got a good look at it for more than ten minutes when it came close to their campsite near Partridge Creek.

Lavagneux claimed to have seen the animal again on December 24, 1907, in the same area when the temperature was -45°F. It was carrying a caribou carcass in its teeth and left tracks identical to those seen in 1903.

Present status: These are the only known reports.

Possible explanations:

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(1) Father Lavagneux identified the animal as a ceratosaurus, a 20- to 30-foot theropod dinosaur with a short nasal horn that had been discovered in Colorado in 1883. However, because of the inhospitable, subArctic climate in the Yukon, it's hard to see how even the most warm-blooded of dinosaurs could survive a winter there.

(2) A tall tale concocted around the fossil discovery twenty-five years earlier. The well-publicized reconstructions of and theories about ceratosaurus by Othniel C. Marsh in the 1880s and 1890s made this dinosaur widely known to the general public. Sources: Georges Dupuy, "Le monstre de

'Partridge Creek,'" Je Sais Tout 39 (April 15, 1908): 403-409; Harold T. Wilkins, Secret Cities of Old South America (New York: Library Publishers, 1952), pp. 322-325; Karl Shuker, In Search of Prehistoric Survivors (London: Blandford, 1995), pp. 35-37.

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