Cryptid Profile: Gambo (AKA: The Sea Monster of West Africa or The Beast of Bungalow Beach)
On June 12th, 1983, 15-year-old Owen Burnham came across a very odd looking carcass that had washed up on the shore of Bungalow Beach in Gambia, West Africa. Having always been fascinated with nature and animals, Owen took it upon himself to document his discovery. Owen made quick work of taking measurements and sketching what he was seeing in his notebook. Satisfied with his impromptu exam of the large, dead animal, Owen packed up his stuff and continued on his way down the beach.
Once he arrived home that night, Owen went to work trying to figure out what kind of creature he had discovered. After searching through book after book of known animals, Owen began to realize that he may have stumbled upon something that was completely new. The next day, Owen made his way back to the beach to examine the carcass once again and take a sample. As he made his way to the location of the dead creature, disappointment took over. At some point during the previous day after Owen had left the carcass, local villagers in the area removed the body, chopped it up and buried it under the assumption that it was just an odd looking dolphin rotting on the beach. To make the situation even more disappointing, the head was decapitated from the body and sold to a tourist who was passing through the area as a morbid souvenir. The only thing that remained that proved the creature even existed were Owen’s notes and sketches.
Measurements of the mystery creature taken by Owen Burnham describe the aquatic anomaly as being 15ft long and 5ft wide. The color of the smooth skin was brown on top and transitioned to white on bottom. The dolphin-like head measured over 4.5ft long, was 10in tall and 1ft wide. Little black eyes sat on each side. At the front of the head was a beak that measured 2.5ft long, 5.5in tall, and 5in wide. Inside the long beak were 80 teeth. Nostrils were located at the tip of the beak and were close together. Attached to the bloated body were four flippers, although one of the rear flippers appeared to have been almost ripped off the body. The flippers on the front of the creature measured 1.5ft long by 8in wide. The area where the back flipper was torn off revealed large intestines within the body. Attached to the body was a long pointed tail that measured 5ft long. There were no scales present anywhere on the body, it also lacked both a blowhole and a dorsal fin.
Theories as to what the true identity of the aquatic monster is/was include a deformed beaked whale (such as a Shepherd’s or Cuvier’s), a new unidentified species of beaked whale, a surviving mosasaur, a surviving pilosaur, a surviving thalattosuchia crocodile, or a completely new species of aquatic reptile.
Modern expeditions to recover bones and/or any DNA evidence of the creature from the assumed burial site have been unsuccessful. This leads many to believe that Gambo was, and is, nothing more than a clever story told by an imaginative teenager. But Owen Burnham swears it was real and there are many out there who also believe that Gambo did exist due to the fact that aquatic monsters that fit this exact description have been spotted by sailors and those on land many times throughout the years. The U-28 Creature being one of the most famous Cryptids that fits the description like that of Gambo.
-The Pine Barrens Institute
*Image Credit: http://www.cfz.org.uk/expeditions/gambia/gambia.htm