Tullimonstrum were small (3.5-14"), apparently carnivorous invertebrates, which thrived in the low-lying coastal swamps of ancient America and have been associated with everything from dragons to the infamous Loch Ness Monster.
The Pennsylvanian Period began 320 million years ago and ended approximately 34 million years later. Throughout this sliver in the geological record, vast low-lying coastal swamps and deltas covered much of West Virginia and the eastern and Midwestern United States, as well as large portions Europe. During this era there existed a unique, soft bodied, carnivorous jawless fish known as Tullimonstrum gregarium, which is a close relative of lampreys. Described as having two, huge eyes attached to stalks protruding from either side of its body,
A claw-like mouth at the end of a proboscis, two prodigious posterior fins, and a broad tail fin, it is no wonder that this fossilized relic has been associated with the legends of so many notorious cryptids. One theory, which has been proposed a few fortean researchers, is that this animal may have survived into the 21st century, living in lakes and rivers, and rearing its head every now and again just to give the tourists a good scare. According to those who support this hypothesis, the Tullimonstrum’s proboscis might be mistaken for the plesiosauride head and neck so often reported by eyewitnesses. They further claim that the submarine shape of the Tullimonstrum’s body, along with its large flippers, only serve to complete this picture of the prototypical Lake-Monster. Other investigators have associated this beast with the nefarious Lindworm.
Pioneering Nessie investigator, Ted Holiday, even went so far as to write an entire book on the subject entitled: “The Great Worm of Loch Ness.” At the conclusion of his tome, Holiday surmised that the monster in Loch Ness was not the only example of a relic Tullimonstrum skulking around Europe, but that the legends of huge dragons and other bizarre creatures, which had plagued the continent for centuries, were most like due to encounters with this beast.