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In Vietnamese folklore, the con rit is a revered water dragon, identified as the same segmented dragon that appears in the classic folklore book Chich-Quai. (1)
The Con Rit bears a striking resemblance to the Oriental dragons of ancient legend. Described as long, serpentine creatures with tough hides and many fins, faces bristling with tentacle-like whiskers, the dragons of Southeast Asia can be found in deep sea caverns and are usually benevolent. It is possible that such legends are based on ancient sightings of living con rits, and indeed it is said that a very con rit-like creature once swam up the Bay of Tonkin in ancient times. (4)
Initial research of the Con Rit was conducted by Dr. A. Krempf, director of the Oceanographic and Fisheries Service of Indo China, in the 1920’s. During his researcher Dr. Kremph interviewed an eyewitness who reportedly touched a beached Con Rit in 1883. (5)
In his book, On The Nature Of Animals, Greek military writer Aelian reported that these serpents were known to beach themselves. He went on to say that witness of the time reported that the creatures had lobster like tails and large hairy nostrils. (2)
The crew of the HMS Narcissus spotted a giant creature near Cape Falcon in Algeria: The sailors reported sighting a sea monster that possessed an immense number of fins, and measured about 45 metres (150 feet) in length. The creature propelled itself forward with its fins with enough speed to keep pace with the ship. In all the sailors were able to observe it for about half an hour. (2)
Invertebrates are some of the most frequently discovered animals these days, and if a giant invertebrate were discovered, scientists would expect it to be an oceanic creature, since the ocean is the only place where mainstream scientists think giant undiscovered animals might still lurk. (1)
Remipedia is a class of blind crustaceans found in coastal aquifers which contain saline groundwater, with populations identified in almost every ocean basin so far explored, including in Australia, the Caribbean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean.
Being soft bodied, the fossil record of polychaetes is dominated by their fossilized jaws, known as scolecodonts, and the mineralized tubes that some of them secrete. However, their cuticle does have some preservation potential; it tends to survive for at least 30 days after a polychaete's death. Although biomineralisation is usually necessary to preserve soft tissue after this time, the presence of polychaete muscle in the non-mineralised Burgess shale shows that this need not always be the case. Their preservation potential is similar to that of jellyfish.
The Con Rit may live deep on the ocean floor, out of reach of mans’ watchful eye, only exposing itself when confused or ill (remember the whale in the Thames?).
Some sixteen years before the Cape Falcon sighting, in 1883, it is alleged that the headless corpse of a Con Rit was washed ashore in Hongay, Vietnam. Eyewitness Tran Van Con claimed the carcass to be 18 metres (60 feet) long by one metre (3 feet) wide and covered in 60cm hexagonal armoured segments throughout its length. The creature was dark brown above and yellow on its underside, and when he touched it, it sounded metallic, much like the sound produced when tapping a horseshoe crab shell. From both sides of every segment protruded two filaments of 70 cm in length. The tail section was similar, but had two extra filaments coming from the bottom corners of the hexagon. It could be speculated that the filaments formed either end of a by then decomposed flap or fin – a theory given greater plausibility since the carcass was later towed out to sea and dumped because of the stench it gave off!