PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Illustrated London News, October 28, 1848. On 6 August 1848, Midshipman Sartoris of HMS Daedalus alerted the Captain, first lieutenant, and sailing master to the approach of a large creature. Captain Peter M'Quhae, described it in his report to the Admiralty: "It was discovered to be an enormous serpent, with head and shoulders kept about four feet constantly above the surface of the sea. It passed rapidly, but so close under our lee quarter that had it been a man of my acquaintance I should have easily recognised the features with the naked eye". M'Quhae collaborated with an illustrator to produce a series of engravings of the encounter. Zoologist Richard Owen suggested an elephant seal.
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