DINOSAUR-like animal of South Africa.
Etymology: From the Tsonga (Bantu) s'l-waaane manzi ("unpleasant aquatic animal").
Usually means "crocodile," unless the context indicates otherwise.
Physical description: Elongated. Scaly. Head is like a turtle's. Small, green eyes. Two sharp ears or horns.
Behavior: Nocturnal. Amphibious. Bipedal. Snorts. Eats fishes.
Tracks: Clawed, three-toed prints interspersed with smaller prints, apparently the forefeet, and straight marks, possibly the tail. Length, 16 inches from middle claw tip to heel. Width, 13 inches. Distance between toes, 6-9 inches. Stride, 4 feet.
Habitat: Brackish or saltwater estuaries. Distribution: Estuary of the Mfolozi River, KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa.
Significant sighting: In 1937, Aleko Lilius twice glimpsed a scaly creature that made an extensive set of three-toed tracks before it ran off into the ocean.
Present status: Only reported once. Possible explanations:
(1) Lilius later caught a local witch doctor making similar tracks with a wooden instrument.
(2) Surviving hadrosaur or duck-billed dinosaur, extinct since the Cretaceous period, suggested by Ivan Sanderson. However, hadrosaur fossils have not been found in Africa. At one time, these animals were considered to be amphibious, but their stiff tails, short toes, and small hands are now considered evidence that they were primarily terrestrial.
Sources: Aleko E. Lilius, "I Saw the Monster of Umfolozi Lake," True, July 1944, pp. 20-23, 92-94; Ivan T. Sanderson, "That Forgotten Monster: Old Three Toes," Fate 20 (December 1967): 66-75; James Powell, "Some Field Notes on African Neodinosaurs," Pursuit, no. 33 (January 1976): 8.
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