On 13 March 2019, I blogged here on ShukerNature about various reports emanating from New Guinea and its smaller neighbouring islands (especially New Britain) concerning large unidentified creatures that have sometimes been likened to living non-avian dinosaurs. In particular, I documented some searches made during this present century for such cryptids by mystery beast investigators Brian Irwin and Todd Jurasek (click here to access this ShukerNature article of mine).
Lately, moreover, Brian has kindly made freely available to me for full use on ShukerNature an extensive report written by him that not only covers some of the incidents recorded by me in my previous article but also contains much additional, fresh information, including details relating to further, more recent searches by him. Consequently, and with Brian's kind permission, I now have pleasure in reproducing below his complete report, which includes a number of illustrations all supplied by him and whose copyright, unless otherwise noted, belongs to him. Thanks Brian!
Is A Large Theropod Still Alive In Papua New Guinea?
By Brian Irwin
Neville is an Australian who worked for the Wallindi Plantation Resort at
Kimbe, West New Britain in Papua New Guinea. In 1992-93, Tim was diving off the
east coast of Alage (Aui) Island, located off the south coast of West New
Britain between Kandrian and Gasmata. While diving, Tim observed some large
three toed foot prints of an unknown animal in the mud on the ocean floor. Tim
later enquired at the neighbouring Ambungi and Sep Sep Islands about the
existence of a living dinosaur. No one at these islands had knowledge of any
such creature at that time. However, sightings of an animal resembling a theropod
dinosaur commenced around Ambungi Island a couple of years later.1
The author has travelled to West New Britain numerous times.2 With the exception of Alphones Likky, all eyewitnesses in this report were interviewed during an expedition in November 2022. Alphones was interviewed by the author in 2012.
The three islands located on the south of West New Britain between Kandrian and Gasmata where the reptilian creature has been sighted. Each square on the map represents one square kilometre.
Alphones Likky’s sighting in 1995
Alphones was spear fishing on the reef on the east side of Ambungi Island in 1995. While he was underwater on the bottom of the reef and facing south, he heard something crashing into the coral behind him. When Alphones turned around he was startled to see a large animal only about 5 metres away and fully submersed. The animal had a long neck and tail, with large rear legs and duck-like feet. The forelimbs were much smaller than the rear legs. The skin was dark brown and the head was small and snake-like. A dermal frill (‘saw’) was seen on the animal’s back and tail, but not on the neck. The animal was bipedal and walked slowly with its neck horizontal. The tail was observed to be moving considerably while the animal was walking. The creature was approximately 4 metres in length from the front limbs to the end of the tail and the height was 2 to 3 metres. The sighting may have lasted up to 10 seconds before Alphones surfaced and left the area in fear. There are some small caves on the east of Ambungi Island and Alphones said the animal was heading in the direction of one of the caves. However the animal was not observed to enter the cave and it is unlikely an animal of the size described by Alphones could enter the relatively small caves on the east side of Ambungi Island. Afterwards a local school library reference book with animals was found and Alphones identified a dinosaur with large rear legs and smaller forelimbs as the kind of animal he observed near Ambungi Island.3
Alphones Likky (left) on the mainland of West New Britain in 2012.
Alice Pasingan’s sighting in 1999
One morning in 1999 around 6-7 am, Alice was alone in her garden at the south of Ambungi Island near the sea. She was astonished to see a large bipedal reptilian animal walking slowly about 12 metres away to the south. The animal was estimated to be 1.9 metres tall and had a dermal frill from the back of the head to the end of the tail. Alice’s husband, Martin, later drew a picture of the creature under instruction from Alice (see drawing below). The colour was brown and the belly was red. The animal’s body and tail moved from side to side and the neck was upright as it walked. No sound was heard from the creature. When the animal saw Alice, it seemed frightened and it opened its mouth to reveal sharp teeth. The creature then turned around and walked slowly down an incline to a 2-metre cliff then jumped into the sea. Alice watched the animal from a rock ledge near the incline (see photo below) as it headed towards the sea. The sighting lasted about 2 minutes, during which time Alice’s dog ran away. This is the only known sighting of this kind of animal on the land at Ambungi Island.
Martin’s (Alice’s husband) drawing of the animal seen by Alice in her garden.
It took 3-4 attempts till Alice was happy with the drawing.