Cryptozoology is the study of mythical or hidden animals. This science peers into the world where animals that may or may not exist and attempts to find creatures so they can be recognized by the mainstream world of science. Some cryptids include the Loch Ness Monster or Bigfoot. Other monsters, however, were once thought to be nothing more than tales, but actually ended up being real animals. The ten creatures we’ve gathered here were once thought to be cryptids, but are actually animals living in the wild.
The Devil Bird is a terrifying owl located in Sri Lanka. Originally, the bird was nothing more than folklore in the area, as they had rarely been seen, and only their blood-curdling cries had been heard. In 2001, the species of owl was discovered and identified.
In Medieval lore, the Ziphius was a nautical creature said to attack ships traveling through the northern seas. It was said to possess the body of a fish and a head like an owl, with massive eyes and a beak. Today, the Ziphius is known as the Beaked Whale.
The Bondegezou was a legendary creature to the Moni people win Western Indonesia. The tree-dwelling creature is similar to a small man covered in fur, and is an adept tree-climber. In the 80’s, a photograph from a research trip successfully identified the creature as a tree kangaroo.
Believe it or not, at one point in time the early explorers of Australia had seen brief glimpses of Kangaroos and thought them to be mythical creatures. That changed, however, when in the 1770s a dead specimen was discovered and brought to England.
European scientists first encountered the Platypus, a bizarre creature that baffled their minds. These egg-laying mammals have a duck bill and a beaver’s tail, making them a weird combination. Today, everyone knows of the mammal.
The Sea Serpent has long been a mystery for centuries, as sailors thought these colossal beasts could sink entire ships and swallow men whole. Today, the elongated fish is found worldwide, and can grow up to 56 feet in some cases. A live oarfish was filmed in 2001.
Imagine a creature like the Komodo Dragon back in Medieval times. People would have truly thought it was a small, baby dragon. In 1926, an expedition confirmed the stories of these lizards were actually true. The dragon was revealed to the world.
Long ago, stories of “ape-men” living in East Africa were told by explorers and natives alike. Today, we know these beings as the Mountain Gorilla, an endangered species, sadly. It was discovered in 1902 when a German officer shot one.
Central African tribes told stories of a bizarre creature that was called the “African unicorn” by early Europeans. In 1901, Sir Harry Johnston discovered evidence of the Okapi. It is still an odd creature today, but at least we know about it.
Stories of enormous squids have long been told by numerous cultures, some of which thought it was a Kraken that could rip boats to pieces. The monstrous, tentacled Giant Squid is now less mythical today, but some have been captured on camera swimming in the ocean.