The creature was described as resembling an enormous aquatic crocodile, some 60 feet in length. It had four limbs, webbed feet, a long tail and a pointed head.
The monster is only known from a single report by German submarine captain Commander Freiherr George G. von Horstner. The following is an excerpt taken from the commander's log book.
"On July 30, 1915, our U-28 torpedoed the British steamer Iberian, which was carrying a rich cargo across the North Atlantic. The steamer sank so swiftly that its bow stuck up almost vertically into the air. Moments later the hull of the Iberian disappeared. The wreckage remained beneath the water for approximately twenty-five seconds, at a depth that was clearly impossible to assess, when suddenly there was a violent explosion, which shot pieces of debris - among them a gigantic aquatic animal - out of the water to a height of approximately 80-feet."
"At that moment I had with me in the conning tower six of my officers of the watch, including the chief engineer, the navigator, and the helmsman. Simultaneously we all drew one another's attention to this wonder of the seas, which was writhing and struggling among the debris. We were unable to identify the creature, but all of us agreed that it resembled an aquatic crocodile, which was about 60-feet long, with four limbs resembling large webbed feet, a long, pointed tail and a head which also tapered to a point. Unfortunately we were not able to take a photograph, for the animal sank out of sight after ten or fifteen seconds."
What is important to note about the log is that von Horstner had absolutely no reason to make up such a story; the scorn with which such accounts are usually met would prevent most people from reporting such an account. The fact that he recorded the incident in his official logbook lends the account real credibility. Unfortunately, any further investigation into the creature is impossible; the time which has elapsed since the sighting means that all witnesses have passed away, and any further possible evidence is buried at the bottom of the North Atlantic.
Precisely why the beast was in the area is a matter of debate. Some theorise that the creature was unlucky enough to be swimming directly above the Iberian when the steamer's boiler exploded, but this seems unlikely; the noise from a naval engagement is generally sufficient to scare away any wildlife in the area. The second idea is that the Iberian itself was transporting the animal for reasons unknown. In any case, unless new evidence emerges, we'll likely never know the reality.
Theories as to Origin Edit
Two main theories exist as to the creatures' origin, although from the scant nature of the information available, a multitude of possibilities exist.
The first theory is that the U-28 creature was a form of previously-unknown saltwater crocodile. The fact that both von Horstner and his senior officers agreed the resemblance to a crocodile supports this idea; what does not is that no crocodile has ever existed which grew to the size reported. The largest crocodile ever to have lived, Sarcosuchus Imperator, went extinct around 112 million years ago, was a freshwater species and grew to a maximum of 40 feet in length, considerably shorter than the 60 feet relayed by von Horstner. However, if a relic population of Sarcosuchus did survive into the present day, it is entirely possible that it has evolved to inhabit saltwater, and grown to a much larger size.
The second theory is that the creature was in fact a surviving Mosasaur. While the largest species of Mosasaur did indeed reach nearly 60 feet in length, these large marine lizards are not known to have survived the K-T extinction event which also wiped out the dinosaurs approximately 66 million years ago.
Whatever the truth, it's likely that we'll never know the creatures' real origin unless another specimen is recovered, and even then it would be impossible to tell whether or not one had the same animal as was reported over 100 years ago.