From modern hikers spotting tall monkeys walking in the deep forests to medieval sailors spying threateningly leviathan swirling under their ships, fantastic tales of unknown beasts and monsters have fascinated us for generations.
These ambiguous animals are often considered mere stories, but are there mythological creatures whose existence has not been refuted? The short answer is, yes, in a way, according to Live Science.
For the purposes of this mystery, we looked at the possibilities that unknown creatures from myths have in real life. This excludes some creatures rumored to exist – which are known to science but have been declared extinct, such as the Tasmanian tiger (Thylacinus cynocephalus).
The creatures of the myths are not necessarily a scam just because they do not exist exactly as described, and the proof with 100% certainty that any creature does not exist is almost impossible, because we can not look everywhere everywhere at once.
The monster of Lohnes
Mythological creatures are often said to be confined to a specific location or area. For example, the Loch Ness monster in Scotland is supposed to live in the house of the same name, Loch Ness. This allows scientists to use what they know about the lake to make a reasonable assessment of whether it is inhabited by a mythical monster.
Loch Ness is an oligotrophic lake, which means it has low nutrient content and is unlikely to support a large unknown species of predator at the top of the food chain, Charles Paxton, a statistician and aquatic ecologist at the University of Shen, told Live Science. Andrews in Scotland. “If there is a Loch Ness monster, it is very few,” he said.
When Paxton researches the Loch Ness monster and other legendary creatures, he focuses on the available evidence rather than the creatures themselves. Based on what he has seen, he does not believe that the Loch Ness monster exists.
“The question for me as a scientist is then, what could explain the wrong phenomena.” said Paxton. “It could be explained by some aspect of human psychology, it could be explained by a misconception of known species, or it could be explained by an unknown species.”
Not all species on Earth have been recorded
Scientists have not recorded all the species on Earth, not even mentally. A 2013 study published in the journal Science estimates that we have discovered about 1.5 million living species out of about 5 million, more or less 3 million. However, this could be considered a conservative assessment. A 2011 study published in the journal PLOS Biology predicted that there are about 8.7 million species living today, while a 2016 study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences estimates that there are more than one trillion microbial species alone.
As for aquatic animals, Paxton believes that we have depleted large unknown animals near the surface, except possibly some unexplored whales with beaks – rare species of whales that dive deep and can hold their breath for more than 3 hours. In other words, almost all the large animals that humans could have seen in the water are known to inspire myths.
A 2021 study published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution investigated the possibility of unexplored animals on land. “The chances of being discovered and described are not equal between species,” lead author Mario Moura, a professor of ecology at the Federal University of Paraíba in Brazil, told Live Science.
Large animals that live in or near human-inhabited areas are much less likely to slip out of the scientific net than smaller animals that live in remote habitats that are difficult to access, such as rainforests. According to the study, reptiles are the least explored group of animals with the greatest potential for discovering new species around the world.
Dragons are the most famous mythological reptiles, but scholars have linked their legendary ability to breathe fire to medieval depictions of the mouth of hell, often portrayed as the mouth of a monster, with little physical evidence of real dragons.
Dragons, like many mythological creatures, do have parallels in nature. Fossilized remains of dinosaurs and other extinct animals have helped reinforce dragon stories. For example, the skull of the most extinct hairy rhinoceros (Coelodonta antiquitatis) from the Pleistocene (2.6 million to 11,700 years ago) is kept in the Austrian city of Klagenfurt as a “dragon” skull, said to have been killed before the city was founded. around 1250, according to American Museum of Natural History in New York.
The site Map of Life has an interactive map with the findings of the Moura study in 2021, where you can search the planet for potentially unknown animals. The map exposes the United States as a highly exploited well for young animals, as they have been extensively studied and have less species diversity than the tropics. However, keen-eyed viewers may notice that two of the states with the best potential for unexplored mammals are Washington and Oregon – a privileged country for Bigfoot.
The Stories of the Bigfoot
Bigfoot stories tell of a giant, ape-like creature which is most often “seen” in the northwestern Pacific. However, Moura noted that there is only a very small increased chance of mammals in this area – most likely these supposed sightings are due to the presence of something “hard to find”, such as rodents, rodents or bats, rather than a huge hairy monkey.
Although things do not look good for the Bigfoot, this does not mean that there are no unexplored primates in the world. Moura said he believes the best chances for large unexplored animals are most likely in the primate family, with species such as Plecturocebus parecisa titi monkey from Brazil, discovered in recent decades.
The 4 areas with increased chances of unexplored life – The Orang Pendek
Researchers have identified four possible hotspots for unexplored life: Brazil, Indonesia, Madagascar and Colombia. These countries are rich in species and have not yet been thoroughly studied by researchers. “The work is bigger and the hands are less,” Moura said.
There are many stories of large, mysterious primates in folklore, but perhaps the most promising is said to live in Indonesia. A legendary creature named Orang Pendek is a bipedal ape rumored to roam the Indonesian island of Sumatra, with views reported by locals, guides, settlers and western researchers.
The Orang Pendek, which means “short man” in Indonesian, has the best chance of being discovered by any of the mysterious primates, according to The Field Guide to Bigfoot and Other Mystery Primates. Co-author Lauren Coleman, founder and director of the International Museum of Cryptozoology in Maine, told Live Science that Orang Pendek “will be hard to find,” but is the creature he would most like to look for if he had unlimited funds.
Sumatra already hosts orangutans, a well-known group of large monkeys. These reddish primates live in trees and their distribution area in northern Sumatra does not appear to overlap with the area where Orang Pendek is supposed to live in central Sumatra.
“It seems that where orangutans appear, there are almost no stories about them [τους Orang Pendek]Said Serge Wich, a professor of primate biology at Liverpool John Moores University in England, who has studied orangutans in Sumatra. “They are only where they do not appear.”
Wich suggested that Orang Pendek’s stories may have been about orangutans who lived further south before limiting their spread to the north. He said he considered it “remarkable” that no one had found the Orang Pendek if it existed, as the forests they are said to be home to have been monitored by camera traps. “That, to me, shows that they probably are not there,” he said.
One person who’s sure Orang Pendek is, or at least was, out there is Jeremy Holden, a freelance wildlife photographer. He claims to have seen the creature with his own eyes in Sumatra in October 1994.
Holden told Live Science that his meeting took place right in a forest inside Kerinci Seblat National Park, where people had reported seeing Orang Pendek. “The animal probably walked about 7 meters past me,” Holden said. “He was walking on two legs. “His head was turned away from me as if he were probably listening to my driver behind.”
Holden said the “terrible creature” was about 1.5 meters tall, dynamically built and covered with hair. While Holden had a camera around his neck, he said he did not take a picture because he did not want the creature to hear the camera click and see him.
“I was silent because a lot of emotions were going through my mind at the time, but one of them was actually fear,” he said. The animal closest to what he saw is a gibbon, which may be the same color, but he said he certainly did not confuse it with a gibbon, which is smaller.
Holden was a tourist during the 1994 meeting. In 1995, he began searching for information about Orang Pendek as part of a three-year research project funded by Fauna & Flora International (FFI), a conservation organization based in the UK.
He worked with environmentalist Deborah Martyr, who also claims to have seen Orang Pendek, to record eyewitness accounts and try to photograph the creature using camera traps. According to the book “With Honorable Intent: A Natural History of Fauna & Flora International” (William Collins, 2017), ” ».
National Geographic funded a separate Orang Pendek project between 2005 and 2009. It also used camera traps and failed to photograph the creature. Alex Schlegel, who worked on the project and is now an artificial intelligence researcher in the Bay Area, is not sure if Orang Pendek exists.
“I would say it would be just as weird or even weirder not to exist but to exist,” Schlegel told the Strange Phenomenon podcast in 2020. “Western science in the rainforest of Sumatra, my experience is that I would be equally or more shocked if it ended up being nothing more than stories.”
Source: News Beast