7 Fantastic Beasts That Actually Exist
Did you know that kea parrots can hunt sheep, and thanks to their big size, they can look like monsters with wings? Or did you have any idea that platypuses were not believed to be real and the first skin of a platypus was sent to England in 1798? People actually thought it was faked by a taxidermist that took a duck beak and stitched it onto a beaver (or something like that). This makes us really curious about what real animals gave birth to so many different legends.
We at Bright Side love learning all kinds of interesting facts and hope you will enjoy reading this article as much as we did writing it.
Kraken — giant squid
There are countless myths and stories about krakens and similar squid-like creatures, like in the stories written by Lovecraft, for example. Krakens have also been mentioned in Scandinavian myths and in the works of Aristotle and Pliny the Elder.
Typically, this creature was described as a giant sea monster that could wrap its tentacles around a ship and drag it to the bottom of the sea. However, the most likely prototype of a kraken is the giant squid, Architeuthis, known as the biggest known squid in the world at 33 ft to 43 ft long.
The mythical hairy monster — gorilla
Stories of mythical hairy people were circulating up until the twentieth century: all sorts of researchers and even military men reported seeing mysterious hairy monsters.
By the way, the word “gorilla” can be translated as “tribe of hairy women.” The first scientific description of these animals was given by the physician and missionary, Thomas Staughton Savage, and the naturalist, Jeffries Wyman, in 1847.
Salamanders that live in fire — fire salamanders
There are a lot of myths surrounding salamanders. Since ancient times, the animal has been associated with the power of fire: Ancient Greek philosophers and the alchemists of the Middle Ages made up a lot of myths connected with this animal. People couldn’t understand how they appeared in fire.
In fact, the explanation is really simple: salamanders appeared in fire because people often threw logs into the fire and salamanders were on these logs. Of course, salamanders would try to escape from the fire and people would see that.
The Roc — Aepyornis
The Roc, also known as the elephant bird, first appeared in Arabian fairy tales and sailor folklore. It was described as a giant creature that could carry a real elephant. People believed that it lived in China, and in China, people thought it lived in Madagascar.
Why Madagascar? Because before the seventeenth century, giant Aepyornis birds lived on the island. They weighed up to 1,900 lb. It’s possible that traveling Arabs thought that they were just born as Roc birds.
Unicorns — Elasmotherium rhinos
Elasmotherium rhinos are extinct now. They were not very different from modern rhinos — they were just way bigger. They could weigh up to 5 tons.
Direwolf — dire wolves
Direwolves from Game of Thrones were not imagined by the author of the books or the writers of the show. The most likely prototype is the dire wolf or Canis dirus — the extinct predators that weighed around 150 lb. They lived in North America somewhere around 9,500 to 125,000 years ago.
Sirens — manatees
The legends about sirens or mermaids appeared in folk stories at about the same time people started sailing. Many sailors claimed that they’d met a half-woman, half-fish.
And there were so many stories about mermaids that scientists even tried to explain how it could be possible in reality. But most likely, people saw manatees — a sea mammal that from a far distance might look like anything.
Would you like these mysterious animals to exist in real life?