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The Strange Case of a Living Dinosaur in the Far North

All over the world there sometimes come to us reports of what can only be described as living dinosaurs of some sort. The tropical regions of our planet are especially prone to this, such as in the wilds of Africa or in the far reaches of the Amazon rain forest. Yet there have been very strange alleged encounters recorded from other areas that seem to be the furthest thing from anyone’s mind when envisioning dinosaurs still roaming the earth. One such account must surely be that of some sort of gigantic, T-Rex-like thing roaming the badlands of the freezing far north of Canada, and it is a historical case that still generates intrigue to this day.

On April 15, 1908, a very curious account from a Georges Dupuy appeared in the French journal Je Sais Tout, and told of a harrowing encounter supposedly experienced by two hunters out in the frigid, remote wilderness of Yukon Territory, in Canada, right up against the border with Alaska. According to the report, San Francisco banker James Lewis Buttler and a local gold miner named Tom Leemore had been out hunting moose in the area of Yukon’s Clear Creek. It had been shaping up to be a good hunt actually, as they had managed to get on the trail of three moose and were drawing closer to their kill when something very bizarre supposedly happened.

The Yukon wilderness

As the two men hunkered down to observe the animals the very large moose suddenly became very frightened by something unseen off in the trees. One of the animals let out a bellow of warning and the three moose all bolted off in a panic as the two startled hunters looked on, wondering what it could have possibly been that had frightened these intimidating animals so badly. However, they weren’t about to give up their hunt, and so they tracked the moose through the wilderness, but then they came across quite the unexpected sight. There meandering off through a portion of marshland were immense tracks neither of them had ever seen before, measuring a mindboggling 2.5 feet across and 5 feet in length as well as what looked to be an impression from a tail dragging behind whatever it was, which had dredged a gouge measuring nearly 2 feet across through the mud. They tried to follow the tracks, but they soon vanished into a rocky area that led into a perilous gorge at a place called Partridge Creek and the search was called off.

Buttler and Leemore decided to go get help, making their way to a remote outpost called Armstrong Creek, and there they found it with the explorer and writer of the article, Georges Dupuy, as well as a French-Canadian missionary named Father Pierre Lavagneux and five local Native guides to tag along. Their foolhardy expedition found them camped out on a ridge overlooking the area where the massive monster had disappeared, but it would soon make an appearance. It was here on that lonely ridge where the group of men would observe an outlandish beast said to measure nearly 50 feet long, with an estimated weight of 40 tons and the whole of it covered in coarse black hair or bristles reminiscent of those of a wild boar. The creature was described as being bipedal, and possessing a formidable mouth full of teeth and a single imposing horn upon its snout. Rather than do the sensible thing and get out of there, the men supposedly watched the gigantic beast roam about and climb about the rocky gorge for a full 10 minutes, and Lavagneux became convinced that what they were seeing was an extinct dinosaur similar to the T-Rex called the ceratosaurus.

ceratosaurus skeleton

Amazingly, the ferocious monster at no point seemed to realize it was being watched, and it stalked off into the cold wilderness to leave them breathless and in a state of shock, with especially the Native guides reeling in terror. The terrified men abandoned their search for the monster and instead went back to Armstrong Creek and later Dawson City to try and get more men and arms, but no one believed them and they were unsuccessful. Indeed, according to Dupuy they were remorselessly mocked upon getting back to civilization, and never made another attempt to figure out what they had seen, leaving it all lost to history. Interestingly, Lavagneux would later claim to have seen the creature one more time in 1907 in the same area, this time with a dead caribou held tightly in its jaws as it ran along a frozen river.

The account of the “Partridge River Monster” has gone on to become a lesser known but also much discussed little corner of cryptozoology, one of those tantalizing cases that has been sort of lost to history and which is infuriating in its inability to be confirmed one way or another. Of course there are many reasons to be suspicious of the whole thing, not the least of which is that the creature in question is known solely from these two reports from over a century ago. Then there is the fact that the frigid, unforgiving terrain of modern Yukon does not seem particularly welcoming to an animal such as this. The report of the presence of a tail trail in the muck is also somewhat eyebrow raising, as such dinosaurs were not known to just drag their tails along, but would have rather kept them held up above the ground, suggesting an ignorance of the physiology of dinosaurs. Was this all just a hoax? Did any of it happen the way it is described outside of Dupuy’s imagination? Or is there something very big and strange lurking about these cold northern lands hidden away from our gaze? Considering that there are no further reports from the region of anything remotely like it and the age of these reports it is likely we will never know.