Glacier Island Dinosaur/Whatsit

Posted by Chris Parker
Mar 01 2006


Readers of the November 26, 1930 New York Times learned that the carcass of a giant lizardlike creature with fur had been found on Alaska’s desolate Glacier Island.

“Ice Bares Strange Animal–Alaskans Suggest Prehistoric Origin”–it would be hard to find a much better location and premise for a horror film.

The creature, described as being in perfect condition, was said to be 42 feet long with a 6-foot (2 meter) head, a 20-foot body, and a 16-foot-long tail.

“The theory has been advanced,” the article explained, “that the carcass is that of a prehistoric animal or reptile that has been preserved in the upper reaches of the Columbia glacier.” Three days later, there was more news of the monster. “Monster in Ice Has Long Snout,” proclaimed the New York Sun on November 28.

“Confirm Finding of Pre-Historic Monster in Ice,” read the headline in the (New York) Evening World.
W. J. McDonald, supervisor of the Chugach National Forest, and a party of six others went to Glacier Island to investigate the report. Alaskans were skeptical until McDonald’s party reached the site and reported back on their firsthand examination of the creature.

McDonald described the animal as being shaped unlike any other creature known to have existed anywhere in the region, having “a long tail and tapering head, LIKE A DINOSAUR.”

McDonald’s measurements were much more specific than the early reports: the head, described as being much like that of an elephant, was 59 inches long; the snout, from the end to the center of the forehead, was 39 inches long; the width of the snout at midsection was 11 inches with a 29-inch circumference; the widest part of the beast’s skeleton was 38 inches; and the bizarre animal’s length was 24 feet, with a 14-foot tail that started at the rib section.

The Glacier Island Monster was estimated to have weighed 1,000 pounds. Charles Fort mentions the case very briefly in his book Lo!, in which he states that there was “considerable flesh” found.

McDonald’s report states that “only a small portion of the body had flesh on it.” The flesh was described as resembling horse flesh. MacDonald believed that the creature became encased in the Columbia glacier and was carried to the sea with the movement of Glacier Island in the past centuries. However, as Fort pointed out in his mention of the case, just because something was found in ice doesn’t mean that it was preserved in the ice for ages.

The case dropped out of sight; paucity of follow-up articles on strange phenomena is common. The tantalizing case of the Glacier Island Monster carcass remains unexplained

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