The human imagination is endless, taking an animal and reshaping it from fear or fascination. We want to believe these mythical creatures exist because they scare us, fascinate us, or cause us to wonder what else is out there. Sometimes they’re made up out of thin air, but more often than not, they’re inspired by real animals. Curious about what these real mythical animals are? Here are the 25 Bizarre Mythical Creatures Inspired By Real Animals.
Symbolizing resurrection and rebirth, the Phoenix is a greek mythological bird that would burst into flames. While there’s no record of a bird like this, Dr. Maurice Burton claimed that certain birds do like to play with fire. The ancient historian Herodotus described the Phoenix as the size of an eagle. Perhaps they saw an eagle playing with fire?
Today, unicorns are used as cute, stuffed animals that you might give your daughter as a gift. They’ve also been in modern fantasy stories like The Chronicles of Narnia but go back much further than that – all the way to ancient Greece. Even the Bible mentions them. Historians believe the myths are inspired by several animals, including an extinct Siberian Rhinoceros called Elasmotherium, a narwhal, or a one-horned goat.
Derived from old Native American mythology, Thunderbirds are supposed to be massive birds with large wingspans that fly during heavy storms. Scientists and historians believe there’s a possibility these existed in the form of extinct teratorns or Steller’s sea eagle.
Monkey Man of Delhi
A fairly new mythological creature, the Monkey Man of New Delhi terrorized the locals, attacking people. It looked like a monkey-man wearing a metal helmet and metal claws. So many sightings occurred, the police got involved but never caught the creature. While most think this was a product of mass hysteria, it’s kind of obvious that it was probably just a rabid monkey on the loose.
Similar to the Loch Ness Monster, Igopogo is a sea monster from Canada’s Lake Simcoe, except it resembles more of a seal-like animal that’s 12 to 70 feet long and has a dog-like face. The myth goes all the way back to Native American legend. Recently, a sonar signal of a large animal was made in 1983 as well as a videotape in 1991. It’s likely to be a large seal or otter.