Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Post Revamp: the Emela-Ntouka

More than a few Congolese cryptids are claimed to be dinosaurs.  Recently I've written about two-- the Kongamato and Mokele-Mbembe.  The Emela-Ntouka is a less famous best, though an interesting one nonetheless.  It lives in the swamps of central Africa, and is generally believed to be a ceratopsian.

The Emela-Ntouka and Mokele-Mbembe have a lot in common.  Both are large, four-legged, semi-aquatic herbivores.  Both are reputedly aggressive towards other large animals-- Mokele-Mbembe is said to slaughter hippos, and the name "Emela-Ntouka" means "killer of elephants."  Both are sometimes depicted with a horn, though this is more common in the case of Emela-Ntouka.  And both are considered highly dangerous by locals.

The first reports of Emela-Ntouka came during the "Lost World" craze.  During the early 1900s, many cryptids (including this one) were hastily identified with dinosaurs.  In some cases, the connection is valid-- Mokele-Mbembe comes to mind.  But in most, such theories are far from probable.  Take Emela-Ntouka for example.  It's generally depicted as a one-horned Triceratops relative, despite much evidence to the contrary.  All ceratopsians have frills-- Emela-Ntouka does not.  No ceratopsians lived in Africa, where Emela-Ntouka is found.  Perhaps most significantly, ceratopsians were too heavy to survive in water-- making one a poor match for this amphibious cryptid.

If not a dinosaur, what is the Emela-Ntouka?  Noted cryptozoologist Loren Coleman believes it may be a new species of semiaquatic rhino.  This is a much more plausible theory-- rhinos are a better geographic fit for the cryptid, and are certainly capable of swimming.  Of course, the Emela-Ntouka does have non-rhino-like features-- the photo above (of a Cameroon sculpture) shows large ears and a lizard-like tail.  Whether these differences are fact or artistic license remains to be seen.

Read more about the Emela-Ntouka:


  1. Maybe the "elephant ears" of Emela-Ntouka are based on the frill of triceratops?

  2. That's possible-- after all, Congolese locals would be familiar with elephants, and might see a ceratopsian's frill as a pair of ears. Though honestly, I still think the ceratopsian theory is a tad improbable and that Emela-Ntouka is a rhinoceros, if anything.

    Also, Emela-Ntouka is never depicted with more than one horn-- meaning that it wouldn't be a Triceratops, but rather a related species like Centrosaurus or Monoclonius. Note, though, that none of these species are found in Africa.