The Mystery Animal of Corfu

HippoCroc00Is it a bird, is it a plane, no, it’s a … hippo-croco-dolphin thing. Whatever this cryptozoological thing was caught on film in the waters off western Greece is a mystery to us all! Or is it? CryptoVille investigates!

This report comes to us from the Daily Mail and the Mirror, two British tabloids not known for clear, accurate, and truthful reporting. So that’s the first problem with this report.

Map of Parga Greece Parga.net your travel agent in Parga
Map of Parga Greece Parga.net your travel agent in Parga

The story goes that Scottish tourist Harvey Robertson was enjoying a tour boat ride off the coast of Parga, in a sea cave in Corfu, off the Western coast of Greece, approximately 20 miles south of Albania. (See map, left.)

He was snapping photos of the water using his iPhone as they went along because he was fascinated by the color of the water. He didn’t check the pictures until afterwards. What he saw in one picture shocked him.

Here are two photos of those caves; they are quite large in some cases.

HippoCroc02

HippoCroc03

 

Lo and behold there was an aquatic creature with the snout of a hippo, the body of a dolphin, and possibly some crocodile traits thrown into the mix. He immediately thought it had to be a new sea creature previously unknown to science; another monster from the depths of the ocean!

Look at the photo, it certainly looks strange and it also looks … real. Could it be?

HippoCroc00

Mr. Robertson said he sent his photo to various experts and is still awaiting their opinion on the object/creature. But as of today’s posting, there are no updates to his story.

Hold the Phone!

Thanks to some detective work by Doubtful News’ editor Sharon Hill, as well as some news from the Discovery.com, we have some very interesting insights into this “creature.”

Sharon, who goes by the moniker idoubtit, on her page, points out several problems with the photo:

  • Snout seems to have only one nostril.
  • Blowhole is in the wrong place (if that is a blowhole – it could be water distortion).
  • Mouth looks like a seam rather than a proper mouth.
  • Our sense of scale is thrown off; we don’t know how deep the water is, or how big the boat is, or how near Mr. Robertson was to the creature.

All these points are true enough, so does that mean we can’t come to a firm conclusion?

When I look at the photo, the body portion looks like a disturbance in the water, in other words, not really there. Look at all the bubbles and other swirls in the water, debris, bacteria, who knows what else, so I really think the body part is just a mirage.

HippoCroc00

That means the head section is even smaller than we first thought. Someone suggested it’s a shoe, but I don’t think so. Someone else suggested it’s a small boat jet pump but I really don’t see that working either (photo below).

HippoCroco06SmallBoatJetPump

Another commentator suggested it’s a hippokampos from Greek mythology. Here are a couple images of that creature.

HippoCroc05Hippokamp

Hippokampos

 

 

 

 

Notice they have front legs of one sort or another. The creature in this mystery photo doesn’t have forelimbs, so we can rule that out.

Finally, someone suggested it looks like a cuttlefish and I think that’s a very good suggestion. Here’s a photo of one of those:

HippoCroc05Cuttlefish

Cuttlefish live around Greece (in fact throughout the Mediterranean), and the body shape does look like the thing in the photo. However notice the front part of the cuttlefish “snout” – it’s very flaccid. The snout in the mystery creature photo seems firm, so while a good try, this mystery creature doesn’t appear to be a cuttlefish.

Possible Solution

Thanks to a Dr. Darren Naish who Tweeted a picture of something that both belongs on a boat and looks very much like the mystery creature, we may have the solution. According to Discovery.com, “ Zoologist Dr. Darren Naish of the National Oceanography Centre at the University of Southampton and host of the Tetrapod Zoology podcast believes that a skin sample biopsy of the “creature” would reveal high concentrations of polyvinyl chloride. In fact Naish has found a near-perfect match for the mysterious monster Robertson photographed: an errant and half sunken low freeboard fender, used to protect boats from damage.”

HippoCrocFenderLook at this photo (right). It’s a “low freeboard fender” that is found on low profile boats to protect the gunwale and side of the boat. It looks very much like the creature in question, doesn’t it? The shape, the size , the eye, the “mouth” that is in fact a seam. Seen in a dark cave perhaps floating around lost from another boat, it could be interpreted as something other than a part of a boat.

I think Dr. Naish solved it.

Some detractors say the fender looks about as much like the creature in the photo as the Empire State Building, but I think they’re forgetting where the picture was taken, the dark conditions, and the water lit by a flash only. All those distortion producing factors would make a half submerged fender look a bit different than it would on the side of a boat in broad daylight.

Then there’s this: it is biologically impossible for a crocodile to mate with a hippo or a dolphin, for a hippo to mate with a dolphin, or dolphin with a hippo.

What Lurks Below

If you’ve read any of my articles related to sea creatures you’ll know I believe there must be some very strange and fascinating creatures lurking in our oceans. However this isn’t one of them.

What amazes me are all the different explanations people came up with to explain it. However, I think Dr. Naish has the most reasonable one.

If I find anymore updates to this story, I’ll add them to the end of this article, so stay tuned!

Monster Wave

Here’s an example of how our eyes can be fooled. Look at this photo below. Has Cthulhu come to claim the surfers?

MonsterWave

According to Cracked.com, “It looks like three surfers are about to be devoured by a Lovecraftian sea monster or a horde of giant octopi. It just depends on how ridiculous the low-budget horror movie that it was taken from is.

Actually, that’s just what a wave looks like when it’s full of sunlight and enough seaweed to choke a sperm whale, and it’s not all that uncommon. Of course, that just means that when the tentacled monsters do decide to attack, they’ll blend right in with the seaweed until it’s too late.”

Amazing isn’t it?

So what do you think the mystery creature from Corfu is?

References

http://doubtfulnews.com/2015/11/corfus-mystery-hippo-croco-dolphin-is-dubious/?utm_source=digg

http://news.discovery.com/animals/whales-dolphins/greek-sea-monster-identified-151104.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuttlefish

http://www.cracked.com/article_19817_18-images-you-wont-believe-arent-photoshopped-part-9.html

5 comments

  1. Very interesting! I think perhaps we are looking at it wrong. What appears to be a snout I see clearly could be the body of some kind of octopus swimming and the lines that appear to be creating the mouth and leading to the eye look like the legs of the octopus tucked together tight as it is swimming to the left in the picture. See how the lines separate and veer out in different directions at the end like an octopus’ tentacles would. What looks like a mirage is probably just where it had been in the water. The man was surprised when he saw the picture which because he didn’t see the creature when he took the picture. That was probably because it was swimming so fast. The “body” is probably the wake in the water from where the octopus was seconds before. That’s what I see and think it is.

  2. I read the Daily Mail article comment section, and a Greek local commented that the animal is a “Ziphius Cavirostris” which is some type of beaked whale, common in that area. I looked it up and it seems like a possible match…what do you think?

    • It’s a tantalizing clue, Jessica, but that animal (Ziphius Cavirostris) is about 8 feet long at birth and much larger as an adult. The thing in the water is much smaller than that. I think it’s also lacking more of the curvature in the face area. However, Ziphius Cavirostris is a fascinating animal; I hadn’t seen one before. Thanks for sharing!! And Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Good thing that scientist is around to debunk this. We can all forget about finding something before a science ist

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