The Devil Bird, or Ulama, is a frightening horned bird of Sri Lankan folklore. This elusive creature is rarely seen, but is often heard in the form of its infamous, blood-curdling screams. Its cries are said to resemble a wailing woman and are perceived by locals as an omen of death. For centuries, the nocturnal cries of the Devil Bird were the only evidence of its existence; Western science wrote if off as mere superstition. Then, in 2001, the Devil Bird was identified as a new species of owl, the spot-bellied eagle owl (bubo nipalensis). The largest of all Sri Lankan owls, the bubo nipalensis matches the description of the Ulama perfectly, down to its characteristic screech and tufted “horns”. Although some debate still remains as to the true identity of the Devil-Bird, the spot-bellied eagle owl stands as the most compelling source of inspiration for this mysterious creature.
Today, the inspiration for the Ziphius is known as Cuvier’s Beaked Whale, a widespread species of beaked whale. Also known as the Goose-beaked whale, this creature is found as far north as the Shetland Islands and as south as Tierra Del Fuego at the tip of South America. It is the only member of the genus Ziphius, which bears the name of its legendary identity. Some additionally attribute the inspiration of the Ziphius to the orca or the great white shark, based on some depictions of the beast as a predator to seals.
In the 1980s, a photograph of the Bondegezou was sent to Australian research scientist Tim Flannery, who initially identified the creature as a young tree kangaroo. But in May, 1994, Flannery conducted a wildlife survey of the area and discovered that the animal in the picture was new to science. The Dingiso (Dendrolagus mbaiso), as the creature is also known, is a forest-dwelling marsupial with bold coloration that spends most of its time on the ground. The Dingiso remains a rare sight – the first real evidence of the creature was only skins, and to this day, no Dingiso exists in captivity.
Early explorers to Australia described bizarre creatures never before seen by Europeans. They wrote of creatures with heads like deer that stood upright like men and hopped like frogs. The creatures sometimes sported two heads – one on their shoulders, and one on the stomach. Such accounts were understandably disregarded and ridiculed by fellow colleagues. That changed in the 1770s, when a dead specimen of this odd beast was exhibited in England as a public curiosity. Today, this creature is known as the kangaroo, a widespread marsupial endemic to Australia. Well-known for their leaping abilities and the female pouch for carrying young (marsupium), kangaroos are a nationally recognized icon of Australia.
When European naturalists first encountered this bizarre creature, they were understandably baffled. Accounts described it as a venomous, egg-laying mammal with a duck bill and beaver tail. Many prominent British scientists deemed it a hoax when presented with a sketch and pelt, in 1798. Even when offered a corpse, scholars suspected that it was an elaborate, sewn-together fraud. Today, this bizarre but fascinating creature is known as the platypus, one of only five extant monotremes (egg-laying mammals). While formerly recognized by science, it is no less unique today: this semi-aquatic creature, native to eastern Australia, swims with webbed feet, uses electrolocation to hunt, and possesses an ankle spur that, in males, can deliver a powerful injection of venom. While non-lethal to humans, this venom is excruciatingly painful and is not responsive to most pain-killers.
Cryptozoologists speculate that various misidentified animals can account for Sea Serpent sightings. However, one elusive species is a particularly likely source for many of these accounts. The oarfish (or ribbonfish) is a massive, elongated fish found worldwide. It is the longest of all bony fish, the largest recorded being 17 meters (56 ft) in length. Oarfish typically dwell in the deep ocean, but are occasionally washed ashore in storms, and linger at the surface near death. A live oarfish was filmed for the first time in 2001, demonstrating its rarity and reclusive
Then, in 1926, an expedition from the American Museum of Natural History confirmed that the tales of giant lizards were true. W. Douglas Burden, the leader of the expedition, returned with twelve preserved specimens and two live ones. The world was introduced to the Komodo Dragon, a massive monitor lizard that grows up to ten feet, making it the largest lizard in the world. Komodo Dragons possess massive claws and fangs with which they can kill almost any creature on the island, including humans and water buffaloes. One particularly bizarre attribute of these creatures is their venomous bite, which has been attributed to bacteria-laden saliva or venom glands in the mouth.
In 1902, German officer Captain Robert von Beringe shot one of these “man-apes” in the Virunga region of Rwanda. Bringing it back to Europe with him, he introduced the world to a new species of ape: the mountain gorilla (Gorilla Gorilla Beringe, in Beringe’s honor). Today, mountain gorillas are known to be communal, largely docile herbivores that live in the Virunga Mountains in Central Africa, and in Bwindi National Park in Uganda. Mountain gorillas are threatened by poaching and civil unrest, elusive and often unseen in their activities. No more than 400 remain in the wild today.
This changed in 1901 when Sir Harry Johnston, the British governor of Uganda, obtained pieces of striped skin and even a skull of the legendary beast. Through this evidence and the eventual capture of a live specimen, the animal now known as the okapi (okapia johnstoni) was recognized by mainstream science. The okapi is no less unusual today: it is the only living relative of the giraffe, sharing a similar body structure and its characteristic long blue tongue. However, the markings on its back legs resemble that of a zebra’s stripes. Okapis are solitary creatures that remain captivating to scientists; although not endangered, there is still much to learn about their habits and lifestyle. [/qwote]
In the 1870s, the skepticism stopped as several carcasses were beached in Labrador and Newfoundland. Tentacles and complete corpses revealed to the scientific world that the giant squid was indeed real. Today, this creature remains just as mysterious and rare. Typically living at great depths, giant squid sightings are uncommon and often undocumented. For a century, scientists dutifully attempted to observe it in its natural habitat, but failed. Only in 2004 were a group of Japanese scientists able to capture a live giant squid on camera, taking 500 automatic photographs before the creature swam back into the blackness.
link to site were i got my info
edit on 10-5-2012 by ninjas4321 because: (no reason given)