Wednesday, March 5, 2014
The Trinity Alps Salamander
In the mountains of California, so the legend goes, there once lived truly massive salamanders. According to one witness, who popularized the cryptid in the 1920s, they could grow up to nine feet in length -- smaller speciens measured five. These reports spawned great interest even among mainstream scientists. Several expeditions were launched between the 1940s and the 1960s, all hoping to prove the creature's existence.
Though several sightings took place during this period, no expedition returned with physical evidence. Even fairly exhaustive searches failed to turn up giant salamanders -- though small ones were found in abudance. Since the mid-20th century, this cryptid has been witnessed only scarcely, and few hold out hope for its existence. If such a creature ever lived, by now it may be extinct.
Now, my posts always take a rational tone -- and that means I do lots of debunking. But in this case, I think our cryptid deserves a second look. Personally, I don't think large salamanders are ridiculous, and there are plenty of reasons why. First of all, the Trinity Alps are great salamander territory. Plenty of species live in the region, including one (Dicamptodon) that grows to a foot in length. The climate of the Trinity Alps is also ideal. It strongly resembles that of Japan -- where the world's second-largest amphibian dwells.
I'm talking about the Japanese giant salamander -- a species five feet in length. Its Chinese cousin can grow even longer, into the range of the Trinity Alps giants. Yes, these creatures live thousands of miles from California -- but their biological family is very widespread. In fact, a close relative of the giant salamanders lives right here in America. It's called the hellbender, and it's our largest native amphibian, at almost two feet in length. This is a lot smaller than the Trinity Alps cryptid, but still quite impressive.
Now we have a possible scenario. What if a member of the giant salamander family, which does exist in America, grew to massive size? It's certainly possible, as such gigantism already exists in similar climates. The lack of sightings is troublesome, and I'm not sure the Trinity Alps really houses such a monster. But I don't think giant salamanders are impossible, especially in Asia and western America. Don't get your hopes up, but don't write this one off!
Read more about the Trinity Alps Salamander:
Image (public domain, picturing a Chinese giant salamander) from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/df/2009_Andrias_davidianus.JPG