Unmerciful Diets of Ancient Sea Monsters Of The Northern Abyss

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Loch Ness Monster by Hugo Heikenwaelder (1999) (CC BY-SA 2.5)

Unmerciful Diets of Ancient Sea Monsters Of The Northern Abyss

Unless having been to sea, far enough out to lose sight of land on an open wooden craft, no-one would quite understand the terror endured by ancient seafarers braving the unknown oceans. Mariners skiffing over the surface of a storm-torn ocean at night, many miles from shore with nothing but water in all directions, would be in a constant state of anguish and trepidation at what might be lurking in the watery depths, ready to devour them. These ship-born fears would over time birth a whole range of fabulous imaginary monsters and sea creatures. In history, much like today, what the eye cannot see, the mind accounts for and so the solitary Narwhal's horn discovered on a beach became the unicorn, and the isolated tentacle floating at sea could only have come from an enormous kraken.

Giant squid by Alphonse-Marie-Adolphe de Neuville, from Jules Verne’s ‘Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea’ Hetzel copy. (Public Domain)

Washed-Up Sea Monsters

Many of history's sea monsters were in fact washed up, half decaying, misinterpreted parts from unknown sea creatures like sea lions and whales, but many more crawled from the caverns of the human creative imagination. These specific creatures, many of which thrive today in pop-culture, do not so much offer insights about the natural world, as much as they shine light on just how dark the human mind can get, especially when it is all alone at sea, at the mercy of monsters.

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