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4 Cryptozoological Animals That Actually Exist

Sorry, Discovery Channel, Megalodon isn’t one of them.

Last night, Discovery channel launched the 26th annual Shark Week with a faux documentary. If it were real, of course, Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives would be titled Megalodon: The Monster Shark Is Dead As Dead Could Possibly Be. The 50-foot-long beast roamed the oceans millions of years ago, and while a discovered Megalodon tooth was carbon dated to as recently as 10,000 years ago, it’s unlikely the fearsome fish still exists for a few important reasons, namely:

A)      Come on
B)      Because the ocean would be 94 percent terror-induced animal pee
C)      Really? Come on, buddy

But that’s not to say there aren’t some extremely less cool examples of previously thought mythological or extinct animals popping up in less explored areas of the world. Known as “Cryptids”, these animals went unacknowledged by the scientific community until intrepid crackpots managed to prove their existence.

Giant Squid

Photo by Ministry of Fisheries via Getty Images

The first photos and film of the legendary monster that likely inspired tales of “Krakens” were released in 2006. Before then, the only evidence of these deep sea dwellers were sucker scars on sperm whales and the nightmares of anyone who has ever been on a boat.


Koolakamba

Illustration via ShuckerNature 

There’s scientific debate about whether the Koolakamba is a subspecies of chimp, an ape hybrid created by crossbreeding, or its own distinct species. The Koolakamba’s combination of features has led scientists to speculate that the creatures could be really, really small gorillas…or really, really big chimpanzees. We think that “Monstrous Missing Link That’s Probably Plotting to Overthrow Humanity” has a better ring to it.

Coelacanth

Photo via Wikipedia

Giving hope to Megalodon believers everywhere, this primeval fish has existed in its current form for 400 million years. Thought extinct until a South African fisherman pulled one up in the 1930s, the discovery of the Coelacanth hints at the trove of yet to be discovered aquatic life hidden in the world’s oceans (read the above in Richard Attenborough’s voice).


Okapi

Photo via Wikipedia

Thought to be entirely mythological, the strange combo of zebra, deer, and donkey that is the Okapi was utterly unknown to Western science until the 20th century (it was even called the African Unicorn!). Of course, the Okapi appeared on Egyptian art and natives probably repeatedly told brave European explorers, “Oh, yeah. The Okapi? We see them all the time. They’re over there.” But it’s not real until some French guy puts it in a zoo!

Check out the Sharknado Sequel Contest and Maxim's Shark: Weak