Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Six of One, Half Dozen of The Other
Dear Mr. Ketchum,
I am a fourth grade teacher at a local middle school, and many of my students have become quite taken with Ressie since your appearance last month on public access television. Although I do not believe in the creature myself, I've used Ressie to focus their interest on dinosaurs. We've been making dinosaurs out of clay, writing reports on them and even constructing a giant dinosaur out of papier mache. Well, here's where the problem comes in. One of my students, Chandler, told me he wanted to make an ichthyosaurus like Ressie. The rest of the class agreed, so I dutifully searched for a picture of the creature on the Google. What I found bears no resemblance at all to the dinosaur you feature on the logo of your website. As a matter of fact, that creature bears more than a passing resemblance to a plesiosaur. I couldn't hide the image from my students, and I wouldn't want to. I used this discrepancy between your logo and the creature that you say haunts our mighty Ross Barnett Reservoir as an opportunity to discuss the scientific method and how dangerous pseudosciences like cryptozoology can be to the pursuit of real knowledge. Most of the children are now convinced that Ressie is a fake and that you're a fraud. However, Chandler insists that I contact you directly and ask for an explanation. He said there's got to be a reason for the discrepancy. So, Mr. Ketchum, I hope that you've got a good explanation for all of this. You've broken the hearts of an entire room full of fourth graders. I await your response.
An ichthyosaurus and a plesiosaur are indeed two different creatures. The ichthyosaurus is more dolphin like in appearance where the plesiosaur is more in line with the creature(s) that have been sighted in The Ross Barnett. Mainly due to length of neck. However not all sightings have the creature possessing an extremely long neck. Sometimes the witnesses say the neck had some length, but was not extremely long. There are few reasons we use the word ichthyosaurus rather than plesiosaur. 1) Both are aquatic reptiles that were/are more or less similar in habit. 2) The very fact that a nest or nesting sight has never been found points to the fact that this animal(s) give birth to live young. This is a trait shared by the ichthyosaurus. 3) That word works better in our organization's acronym. If you can find a clever way to work the word plesiosaur into the R.E.S.S.I.E. acronym be my guest. We'll change it if you can pull that one off. Hopefully this will help the kids make sense of the perceived discrepancy. Hey tell Chandler he can visit headquarters and go on a trap re-baiting with us. Tell him those Honey Baked Hams™ don't drive themselves to the trap locations and jump into the bait baskets on their own. *Wink*