Saturday, January 25, 2014

Post Revamp: the Ngoubou

Well, I've finished updating my first batch of old posts-- the ones covering Africa's "dinosaurian" cryptids.  The last among them is the Ngoubou, a beast only recently described.  In 2000, Bill Gibbons and John Kirk launched a cryptozoological expedition to Cameroon.  Their goal was to search for Mokele-Mbembe-- but they found something else entirely.  Members of the expedition interviewed many locals, seeking out information on unknown animals.  As expected, some natives talked about Mokele-Mbembe, but others brought up a creature called the Ngoubou.

This animal, they said, was a savannah-dwelling beast-- about the size of an ox, and fiercely tempered.  It had a beaklike face, a rhino-like snout, and a frill bearing six long horns.  To Kirk and Gibbons, this animal sounded a lot like the dinosaur Styracosaurus.  Physically, the two animals are almost identical-- and their habitats match perfectly.  The similarity between this dinosaur and the Ngoubou is striking.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, there are no ceratopsian fossils in Afica.  This makes one's existence there unlikely, and drives me to seek alternative explanations.  It's been suggested that the Ngoubou is a misidentified rhino, and in fact, the two animals share the same local name.  However, the natives of Cameroon insist that the beasts are different, and that the cryptid Ngoubou has many more horns.  Another theory is that the Ngoubou is a surviving Uintathere.  This prehistoric mammal is another good match for the creature-- or it would be, if it had ever lived in Africa.

One more theory, presented by Dale Drinnon at the blog "Frontiers of Zoology," deserves mention.  Mr. Drinnon identifies the Ngoubou with Sivatherium-- a prehistoric giraffe that had multiple horns.  This creature is a good physical match for Ngoubou, though giraffes aren't particularly aggressive.  However, Sivatherium has two major points working in its favor:  first of all, it lived in Africa, and second of all, cave paintings reveal that it may have lived even a few thousand years ago.  Perhaps a small population survived, giving rise to the Ngoubou legend.

Read more about the Ngoubou:
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