Maori Eels — Remarkable article

THE FIRST WRITTEN ACCOUNT of a taniwha is most likely the one recorded by Captain Cook during his 1777 voyage. While anchored in Queen Charlotte Sound off the South Island of New Zealand, Cook wrote the following about statements by a local Maori: “We had another piece of intelligence from him, more correctly given, though not confirmed by our own observations, that there are snakes and lizards there of an enormous size. He said, they sometimes seize and devour men.”

Maori would not have known a lizard of the size Cook related, and would never have seen a snake, as there are no native snakes in New Zealand. What Cook described, “eight feet in length, and big round as a man’s body,” was most likely a longfin eel. …

Eels | James Prosek | Orion Magazine

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