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Friday, 2 March 2012

Tusked Bunyips and Southern Walruses

There is a subcategory of Bunyip sightings that has been stated all along and it never seems anybody ever notices the implications: some Bunyips are consistently describred as having long ivory tusks like a walrus. The depiction at left is from Deviant Art is impressive but it basically is depicting one of these walrus-creatures and including the (unattested) tail. As I point out below, even the flippers shown are about equivalent of walrus flippers.
Sometimes it seems that such sightings are ascribed to major geographic confusion, but it has been mooted about for most of the twentieth century that there might be a Southern-hemisphere equivalent to the arctic Walrus, an ecological replacement derived from the sealions that perhaps evolved similar tusks in parallel to the ones we were more familiar with. The discussion may not have moved very far outside of Southern Australia, Tasmania,and Nrew Zealand
Folklorists at least have recognised the situation was unusual, and Thor Heyerdahl quotes the Maori tradition of the Marakai-Hau as being evidence of cultural contact between Polynesians and NW Coastal Amerinds. However, that soultion does not account for such reports and representations of walrus-tusked Bunyips as we see here.(once again, the version at left includes the traditional but actually unreported tail)
There is a residuum of reports found in In The Wake of the Sea Serpents which sound rather like tuskless walruses reported in Southern waters: off South Africa they are sometimes called "Waterhorses" (Merhorses) and some have been reported by Japanese boats sailing the Anatarctic Ocean, but  the reports were ignored because, as they were told, they could not have seen Anatarctic walruses because such things do not exist. However in many of these cases not only do the descriptions of the tusks match, sometimes as in these Bunyip cases, the shape of the flippers as indicated do match walrus' flippers.

Curiously, early Spanish
explorers also attributed walruses
to Patagonia, once again with the tail (Explorers in Northern waters also used to attribute an extended tail onto the more familiar walruses-which we know today do NOT have the tails)


  1. Actually, I think it's more likely that this is an actual southern walrus, rather than an evolved sea-lion. A parallel is seen in elephant seals, which come in an arctic and an antarctic species. And I think that's what we have here: a known arctic species of walrus and an unknown antarctic species.

    Best regards,
    Tyler Stone

  2. I believe that theory about the parallel-evolved sea lion was written in the 1920s or 1930s in reference to some obscure "Sea monster" sightings and maybe quoted once thereafter in a newspaper clipping I saw while going through archives on Sea monster sightings in general. So far as I know it was the only published attempt to account for such reports and so I quoted it here. I agree that it is more likely a southern-hemisphere species of walrus but the strange thing is I don't think that anybody else has ever said so yet. But as you can se the whole matter is fearfully obscure even to Cryptozoologists. Heuvelmans had made remarks on a few of the cases in passing but none of the ones he mentioned even specified the tusks.

    Best Wishes, Dale D.

  3. Wait... so your saying I'm the first one to suggest a southern walrus?

  4. That would be one of those funny things. I suppose that was the idea I had in mind but I did not say so: Others have said that the reports were mistaken references naively placed geographicaly or due to Folklore from people that had no idea what they were describing. So technically, you just might be the first one to say so directly, in PRINT.
    I have mentioned it in my Cryptozoological checklist as one of the additional forms omtted by other sources such as Shuker's and Heuvelmans' checklists: but as a matter of fact all I have ever done is to mention the Cryptid as a category and I did not mention the concept of a Southern species of walrus IN PRINT.

    So I suppose technically you are the first, unles some obscure old newspaper clipping has said so before. And I don't know if the suggestion has ever been made in regards to the patagonian one-perhaps the suggestion was made in Spanish and I did not know the literature.

    Best Wishes, Dale D.

  5. Could this be the same animal as the Dingonek and similar African walrus cryptids?

    From Wikipedia:

    The dingonek is a scaly, scorpion tailed, saber toothed cryptid seen in Africa. Hailing from the Congolese jungles (primarily in the nation formerly known as Zaire), the Dingonek is yet another in a long line of West African cryptids – such as the Chipekwe, the Jago-nini and the Emela-ntouka. At the Brackfontein Ridge in South Africa is a cave painting of an unknown creature that fits the description of the dingonek, right down to its walrus-like tusks. Said to dwell in the rivers and lakes of western Africa, the Dingonek has been described as being approximately 12-feet in length, with a squarish head, a long horn, saber-like canines – which has resulted in its nickname the “Jungle Walrus” – and a tail complete with a bony, dart-like appendage, which is reputed to be able to secrete a deadly poison. This creature is also said to be covered head to toe in a scaly, mottled epidermis, which has been likened to the prehistoric-looking Asian anteater known as the pangolin. The description by John Alfred Jordan, an explorer who actually shot at this unidentified monster in the River Maggori in Kenya in 1907, claimed this scale-covered creature was as big as 18 feet long and had reptilian claws, a spotted back, long tail, and a big head out of which grew large, curved, walrus-like tusks. It is said to be exceedingly territorial and has been known to kill any hippos, crocodiles and even unwary fishermen, who have had the misfortune of wandering too close to their aquatic nests.

  6. Heuvelmans thinks the Dingonek is a remnant sabertoothed cat and he has other, clearer reports of the type from elsewhere in Africa.

    Best Wishes, Dale D.


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