10 Terrifying Monsters That (We Hope!) Don't Exist

8. The Bunyip

Probably the most feared creature in Aboriginal Australian legend, The Bunyip (sometimes called the Kianpraty) allegedly inhabits creeks, swamps and riverbeds. It is reportedly huge, but descriptions of the creature vary wildly. The Bunyip has been described as being a dog-like beast, a giant starfish and even some sort of monstrous walrus. This lack of eyewitness consistency, together with the creature€™s immense size, make its discovery as an Earthly animal fairly unlikely. ...But what if it was really out there? The most reliable eyewitness testimony describes a large, semi-aquatic monster with thick hair all over its body. Such an animal was spotted throughout the 1830€™s, again in April 1872 and a couple more times in 1932. So, if The Bunyip did exist, what sort of animal would it be? Probably not a very friendly one, by all accounts. The Aborigines intense fear of the creature (their name for which may mean €˜devil€™ or €˜evil spirit€™ in older Aboriginal languages) has migrated into the hearts and minds of those who eventually settled the continent alongside them, where in contemporary Australian slang, €˜Bunyip€™ has a similar meaning to the US term €˜Bogeyman€™. However, before you dismiss The Bunyip entirely, it is worth noting that large, unexplained bones and fossils have been discovered in the areas reputedly stalked by the creature. Indeed, creatures that are oddly similar to The Bunyip did actually exist in times gone by. Ambulocetus, a type of predatory whale ancestor discovered in Pakistan in 1993, would have been exactly the type of carnivorous, semi aquatic mammal that The Bunyip is sometimes considered to be. But that creature died out nearly 50 Million years ago, didn€™t it? Hypothetically, if Ambulocetus (or an extant relative of some kind) had survived into more recent times, would such an unusual creature not have been recorded in Human folklore and oral history? Perhaps it did and, if so, could it have been remembered as the Japanese Hyosube, or the Irish Dobhar-Chú or even...The Australian Bunyip? Who knows? Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water...
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