Monday, 16 November 2020

Egyptian Mystery


Egyptian Cryptids?

I have always been intrigued by the Egyptian depictions of monsters. They are found everywhere on ceremonial slates, plaques ,knife handles, inside tombs particularly at  Hierakonpolis and Naqada in Upper Egypt. These are early depictions and include winged griffins and what looks like leopards with long, winding necks (see photo) . They are thought to be inspired by models found in Mesopotamia. What if the images were also inspired by travellers and their stories? The long winding neck creature reminds of stories from other parts of Africa of prehistoric looking creatures such as Mokele- Mbeme.

There are also modern monster stories from Egypt, such as the strange carcass washed ashore in 1950 called the  Ataka animal because of the place it was found.
In January of 1950, following a gale, which raged along the banks of the Gulf of Suez, Egyptian authorities discovered huge carcass decomposing on the beach. A team of scientists were sent to try and identify the carcass.It was described as the size of a whale with two  huge walrus-like tusks, which protruded from either side of its large mouth. There was some evidence of a blow hole but no apparent eyes and a row of cilia like appendages circling its maw.
This led some to speculate that the animal may have been an unknown species of marine mammal. Eyewitnesses, at the time, claimed that there was  a large, whale-like creature swimming in the gulf just ten days before the storm. Experts could not positively identify the creature at the time , which seems odd considering that in modern times it has been dismissed as a Baleen Whale. Surely marine biologists in the 1950s knew what a Baleen whale looked like? The appearance of "walrus-like tusks" on the Egyptian carcass have been said to be the lower splayed jaws of the whale. Surely the experts in the 1950’s would have realised if it was a whale carcass , even decomposed. It has been a matter of speculation for years and there is no definite answer. So another Egyptian mystery.

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