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.
For centuries, the people of Nepal and Tibet have claimed a humanoid beast called the Yeti roamed the Himalayan mountains. Scientists frequently disclaimed it, saying there was no proof. Now, after conducting DNA tests of hairs found in the area, scientists have concluded that the beast was probably a species of brown bear.
West Virginian folklore points to the Mothman, a giant humanoid creature with red eyes, massive wings, and a horrible screech that lives in a munitions factory. The first sighting was in 1947 and since then the myth has blown up all over the headlines. Dr. Robert L. Smith of West Virginia University explained the Mothman is likely a sandhill crane, saying the description matches up exactly.
A sea monster the size of a frigate with dozens of tentacles is another age-old sailor myth spanning all over the world including Greece and Norway. No one really believed a squid of that size existed until Tsunemi Kubodera of Tokyo, Japan, went deep into the Pacific Ocean with a submarine to see if they existed. Sure enough, they were able to take the first picture of a giant squid in its environment. Proving these creatures were, indeed, based upon giant squids.
Hairy Men of Sierra Leone
In 470 BC, Hanno the Navigator sailed down the African coast and discovered what he described a vicious tribe of “very hairy men.” Since then, the tribe faded into myth and no one knew exactly what tribe he had found. It wasn’t until the 19th century that we discovered these creatures to be gorillas.
The Loch Ness Monster
The Loch Ness Monster is famous all over the world, making it a bit of a celebrity in Scotland. Not enough proof has been presented to conclusively cement its existence in modern times. However, scientists and paleontologists believe it could be based on a real sea monster in Loch Ness that lived millions of years ago, the ichthyosaur.