In this final segment on whether the legend of Champ, Lake Champlain’s lake monster, has been dealt a mortal blow or not, we’re going to discuss the very tantalizing evidence caught by scientists in the last ten years or so: unidentified echolocations.
That Discovery Channel Program
About ten years ago or so, I remember seeing a show on Discovery Channel about Champ that covered some research done by scientists on the lake. The scientists were combing the lake listening for any signs of echolocation beneath the waves. I’m not sure what prompted that type of search, but the amazing thing is, they caught some echolocations!
The Fauna Communications Research Institute, who were conducting the lake search, analyzed their recordings and came to the conclusion that the sounds were not from any known animal. They know this because each type of marine animal that creates an echolocation sound has its own “signature”, if you will. That means, the way the pattern of the noise shows up on their charts is unique to each species that uses echolocation.
Could It Be Champ?
So far, the researchers think the echolocations they captured sound much like those made by Beluga whales or Orcas, but this unique signature is not from either species.
The first echolocation signature shown below is the one attributed to the Lake Champlain mystery creature at 0-44 kHz, 1602 ms.
The second echolocation signature is from a Risso’s dolphin, from the Southern Thyrrenian Sea, from the University of Pavia Italy’s Interdisciplinary Center for Bioacoustics and Environmental Research at 0-21 kHz, 3400 ms. I can see some similarities, but they’re clearly not the same.
Also interesting, the scientists figure the brain of this mystery animal has to be far more advanced than those of a plesiosaur or basilosaurus (both of whom had small brains) in order to make and interpret these echolocation signals. So I think we can rule out the plesiosaur theory once and for all.
Where the sounds were caught is also significant. Of the three areas of the lake where the sound was heard, one was in a man-made channel deep under the lake which the scientists say could be a perfect refuge for a large underwater animal.
One thing I noticed from Jeremy Wade’s sea lamprey program (River Monsters) was that Lake Champlain certainly seems to have a lot of fish in it to support a hungry mystery animal. (Too bad Champ doesn’t seem to eat sea lampreys which are overrunning the lake!)
Taken together, these aspects of the lake make me feel that there very well may be something down there, as yet unidentified by science, that could be the actual lake “monster,” Champ.
What Scientists Fear
The Fauna Institute scientists fear whatever this animal is, it’s rare, and very likely endangered. So they are trying to learn more about this creature and prove its existence in the hope of also getting it some legal protection. I like one of the quotes they have on their website which is so apropos for any cryptid search (especially Bigfoot):
“If you can’t get a picture of the Javan rhino (a 4000 lb land mammal) until 1998, then why disbelieve the natives [native Americans] about Lake Champlain?”
Here’s a photo of that beastie:
Fauna Research Institute Link
If you’d like to visit the website of the Fauna Research Institute, here’s the link:
Here’s a link to a very short video by Dr. Elizabeth Von Muggenthaler, president of the Fauna Institute, on the importance of caring for Lake Champlain:
So I still have hope that there is a mystery animal down in the depths of Lake Champlain. It’s going to take more scientific research, which of course takes money and therein lies the problem. But hopefully one day we’ll have the answer.
In the meantime, if you visit Lake Champlain, keep your eyes open and cameras ready!
Til the next time!