What is It? - the 'Found' Cryptid Craze

Bethany DeanStarred Page By Bethany Dean, 17th Aug 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Paranormal>Cryptids & Cryptozoology

In recent times, strange animal corpses have appeared all over the globe, throwing a new spotlight onto the hitherto niche area of science known as cryptozoology. But is this new wave of legends just mis-identification of animals we've already discovered? * WARNING: some of the pictures in this article may be disturbing. *

The Cryptid Cases Sweeping the World

Usually in areas of South America, North America or places with geographic elements of extreme heat or water, such as beaches, people may discover the dead body of an unusual creature that fails to be identified. It is usually hairless, or with tufts of hair, and has many characteristics of a genus that has already been established in scientific journals, with an overall 'appearance' that makes it generally 'canine', or generally 'apelike', or generally 'fishlike', but with traits that are described usually as 'humanlike', or belonging to a genus seperate from its own. Unlike other cryptid cases such as Bigfoot, where there is plentiful evidence of their existence bar a corpse, these cryptids' bodies are found usually without tracks, feces or other clues to their habits prior to death.

The Chupacabra Mindset

The idea of genetic mutations occurring naturally in animals is an idea many people still struggle with, even though humans are regularly born as siamese twins, having extra limbs or with other deformities. An animal is either perfectly normal looking, or is a government-tested genetic freak to be feared, or a whole new terrifying species. Yet the theory of genetic deformities can only account for a few cases.

Environmental Factors

The fact is, many of us are not used to seeing animals in a state of decay or disease. Our modern lives, removed from Nature, have disassociated us with many of the natural processes which can affect a corpse. A disease called mange affects many canines, usually neglected dogs or wild foxes, which causes hair to fall out and painful scratching from the animal, resulting in patchy and discoloured skin. If seen wild, this creature can look very different to our normal idea of a fox.

Moreover, a body can change its appearance entirely after death before decomposing. If it has lain in water for a considerable amount of time the body could bloat or swell up, fish could eat hair or skin particles and the movement of the water carry it far from where it might be recognised. The skin can become bleached, or the body could deflate in high temperatures, giving a skeletal look. No one can say they're very familiar with what a hairless badger or sloth looks like...

Case in Point: the Minnesota Roadkill

In August 2011 an unidentified animal corpse was discovered by a road in Douglas County, Minnesota. It had five claws on each paw, tufts of black hair and canine characteristics. However its ears were 'humanlike' as described by one onlooker and although a hairless wild dog was suggested, the back legs were entirely to short and bowed. You can watch a video of the creature here.

Theories were put forward of it being a mythical chupacabra, to government animal testing, to a domestic dog. A local biology professor then came forward saying he was '95% sure it was a badger'. On looking properly at the corpse, imagining it covered in black and white hair, it's more than likely. How it came to be hairless is more of a mystery - though the fact that it could have been by the road, pecked at by birds, for some time could be to blame.

Case in Point: the Montauk Monster

In 2008, a strange corpse washed up on a beach in Montauk, New York. The resulting speculative media frenzy put the Monster of Montauk firmly on the map for 21st century cryptozoology. It was widely reported and images circulated in local, then national newspapers and many internet blogs, some devoted to the creature and the resulting investigations. Despite its notoriety, the corpse has disappeared and no organisation has come forward to reveal it has been taken away for testing. Its location was kept guarded by the locals and on its eventual disappearance, it was said some of the locals had buried it in the woods.

The Montauk Monster is unique in that, on first sight, it really does not look like any animal we know. Its body could be that of a dog, but its head is unusually small and seems to sport a beak - even in genetic mutation cases, beaks are rare if not non-existent. The presence of teeth on the lower jaw seems to suggest there might once have been teeth on the upper jaw and more flesh around this area. The most popular theory is that is a raccoon which, having been dead in the sea for a considerable time, has lost all but a few patches of hair and some of its flesh and teeth. The TV show Monster Quest investigated the case and theorised that it was indeed the remains of a boxer dog, with a similar body structure and skull shape.

Case in Point: the Panama Creature

Beaten with sticks and killed by a group of terrified teenagers it tried to attack, this alarming photograph of an unknown humanoid creature draped over a lakeside rock was taken in Cerro Azul, Panama in 2009. It immediately became widely circulated on the internet, likened the Montauk Monster of the previous year. This case was set apart by it's unusual aspect of having eyewitnesses seeing it in life and causing its death.

Theories of its identity ranged from the usual government-tested freak to a genetic mutation, a dolphin, pit bull terrier or extraterrestrial alien. Needless to say the photograph did not support any of those theories adequately. The only theory put forward that sounded plausible turned out to be correct - that it was a brown-throated sloth.

Native to Panama, the sloth had died and fallen into water where the submerged decomposition process robbed it of hair and bloated its stomach. It then floated to where it was discovered by the teenagers, where the process of the water currents moving gave it the impression of being alive. The biopsy carried out by National Environmental Authority of Panama concluded that severe trauma had been inflicted on the body, most likely when the boys beat it with sticks to 'kill' it. The body was subsequently buried by Authority staff.


When you consider all these cases together, it is easy to see what triggered their unusual appearance - decomposition resulting in hair loss and bloating causing the animal to look like a mere shadow of its former self. Hopefully the world will soon be able to recognise these so-called cryptids quicker in the future, leaving scientists and their cryptozoological counterparts to investigate credible sightings and evidence and the more mysterious animals which lurk in our world.


Animals, Beast, Creature, Cryptid, Cryptozoology, Fortean, Legend, Monster, Paranormal, Roadkill, Strange

Meet the author

author avatar Bethany Dean
Author of the Rose Prince, available on Kindle and in paperback.
foxesandharts.com | @bethanyrdean

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author avatar Tim Crosswell
17th Aug 2011 (#)

Interesting. Thanks Bethany.

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
18th Aug 2011 (#)

Freaky looking pictures though. No wonder stories grow like they do.

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author avatar Rathnashikamani
18th Aug 2011 (#)

Awesome news!

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author avatar Rathnashikamani
18th Aug 2011 (#)

+1 for the special information!

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author avatar Buzz
18th Aug 2011 (#)

Strange creatures, Bethany. Why they turned up dead is more strange.

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author avatar Delicia Powers
18th Aug 2011 (#)

Very sad and such a mystery, thank you Bethany!

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author avatar Songbird B
18th Aug 2011 (#)

A fascinating though disturbing page, Bethany...Great article...

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author avatar kaylar
20th Aug 2011 (#)

I read about some of them elsewhere. Very well done, Bethany.

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author avatar MAnature
24th Aug 2011 (#)

It sure sounds fishy to me..... wonder what and who is really behind all these creatures..... we may never know....... thinking...... :) Thank you for the info. :)

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author avatar Retired
24th Nov 2011 (#)

In India we had a chicken that walked around without a head for about 10 days and died of starvation instead of no head.

There was another case where a human male was found pregnant with a fetus in the stomach and incubated for a couple of years before causing him a stomach ache and the subsquent discovery of a parasitic twin who fed on his brother rather than the mother during gestation.

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