Historic Cryptid Headline: January 8, 1914
The High Point Review
January 8, 1914
“Unknown To Science”
Strange Animals Believed To Exist In Africa.
Particulars Have Not Been Made Public, But Professors Of Natural History Are Inclined To Credit The Report.
Ex Africa semper aliquid novi. The proverb of the ancient world still holds good in the bustling days and amid the unflagging activities of the twentieth century. The latest report from what used to be known as the Dark Continent appears in a contemporary, the London correspondent of which records a report of the discovery of “yet another strange and unknown beast” in East Central Africa.
Particulars are said to have reached the Natural History Museum at London of the existence of an animal “about the size of a bear, tawny color, with very shaggy long hair.” This interesting creature is also described as “short and thick-set in the body, with high withers and a short neck and stumpy nose,” and “its existence is vouched for by more than one official.”
Inquiry at the museum by a representative of the Pall Mall Gazette fails, however, to confirm these attractive details. In the eyes of the authorities at South Kensington “particulars” of such discoveries have to be of a definite and material kind in the shape of some portion of the animal, bones, for example, or a piece of skin.
Nothing of that sort is at the present forthcoming. “Rumors have, however, reached the museum,” said an official of the mammal department, “of the existence of a hitherto unknown animal, possibly such as is described, but we have no ‘particulars,’ and can, therefore, substantiate no account of details. When the okapi was discovered ‘particulars’ were forthcoming in the form of belts made from its skin and worn by natives.”
“You do not, then, credit the account?”
“We don’t say such an animal does not exist. All that can be said is that no ‘particulars’ are to hand up to now. There was a rumor some time ago of the discovery of a water elephant which, apparently, was of the nature of a very substantial tapir, but nothing seems to have come of it. If we could have a proper systematic survey of Central Africa it would probably result in the discovery of any number of new creatures.
“The Kongo region, whence this rumor in all probability arises, is almost unknown from a zoological point of view. There are, for instance, any number of new monkeys there, concerning which we find nothing in the books of ten years ago. A few men are engaged in natural history research on the borders of the Kongo region, and the East Africa districts have been swept by the big game expeditions of Roosevelt and others. But without doubt there are many unknown animals yet to be discovered in the Kongo region.”
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