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Mystery Photo: Arkansas Mystery Critter: Name That Skeleton

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on February 10th, 2006

I don’t have any background for this photo. I found it on the ‘net somewhere a few days ago. I don’t even remember where. I wish I did. It was simply titled Arkansas skeleton. I don’t even know if it is crypto-related, but I seem to remember that it was implied.

Arkansas Mystery Skeleton

Maybe the astute readers of Cryptomundo know something about this mystery skeleton. Or it could turn into a wild ass guessing game. Weigh in with your thoughts and opinions on the identity of this “Arkansas Mystery Skeleton.”

About Craig Woolheater
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad, Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.

61 Responses to “Mystery Photo: Arkansas Mystery Critter: Name That Skeleton”

  1. aswin_astron responds:

    well, i cannot comment on this skeleton. because you’ve not mentioned any relevant details like the place where it was found and what it resembled like? But my best guess on seeing this is that whatever it is, the skeleton still is decomposing and i would like to know whethere any forenseic tests were done on that skeleton. It certainly does not look human .well my best guess for now would be that it is either a skeleton of some unknown species resembling humans.

  2. shovethenos responds:

    Dunno, looks ape-like.

    From the car and the clothes it looks like its an old picture, but who knows.

  3. cradossk responds:

    Is it at all possible that its a big cat of some kind (cougar? Jaguar?). If you note, the neck is far too long to be a primate, and what teeth that are in the skull seem to be sharp (if it had its canines in there that would help a lot). Also note the protrusions from the top of the rip cage (thoracic) are far too big to be that of a primate (again, I like my cat theory). The skull seems a bit disproportionately large to be a cat though.

  4. magnoona responds:

    Looks like a goat or young deer with the muzzle/nose broken off.

  5. mtgrogan responds:

    I’m not sure, but I think I killed a bunch of those in DOOM 3.

  6. catastronaut responds:

    From the car and the clothes it looks like its an old picture

    You must have missed the part where they said it originated in Arkansas.

  7. Arkansan_88 responds:

    It looks like a human and thats about it. It could be an animal but I don’t know what kind. Thats one of the ugliest things I’ve ever seen.

  8. Mysteriousness responds:

    Ok, let’s see what we know about this critter:
    * Mandible (lower jaw) is missing
    * Remaining teeth are flat
    * Spine is approx. 4 ft in length
    * Rib cage slightly elongated (assuming the spine terminates at the pelvis) with respect to the length of the spine
    * Slightly ovoid orbital sockets on the skull
    So, we know that the animal was at the least, an omnivore, or possibly an herbivore because of the teeth. It may not be a deer because the rib cage is a little too long and a little too short, see this image, as the deer’s rib cage extends about 1/2 the length of its spine.
    The socket is also a little too ovoid to be a deer’s, but from this angle, it can’t be certain.

    I think it’s probably a dog skeleton with the front part of the upper jaw broken off (this part I think we can all agree on, given that there are teeth missing in the front, see this image.

    It’s just a guess – I’m no forensic archaeologist, although I do have a minor in archaeology!

    Thanks for listening.

  9. Scarfe responds:

    I highly, highly, highly doubt this animal is human or even ape-like.

    Notice how long the neck is in proportion to the head. Very much like a cat. Also, notice how the ribs are not really shaped to hold human lungs. The spine is also rather short before the tailbone. The skull, with its big eye socket and narrow head, looks very much like a cat, although I am willing to concede that without a frontal shot of the skull, or a more detail shot of the mouth, I cannot make out molars or premolars except in a very indistinct way.

    I think this is the decompossing skeleton of a big cat of some kind, and the canines are missing. Certainly, the high and long cheekbones are very indicitive of being feline in origin.

    Compare these cat anatomies:

    Cat Anatomy 1.
    Cat Anatomy 2.

    with these of a human

    Human Anatomy 1.
    Human Anatomy 2.

    and these of apes and monkeys

    Ape Anatomy 1.
    Ape Anatomy 2.

  10. Ranatemporaria responds:

    Not sure about the canine hypothesis, as mentioned the teeth (That remain) are flattened thus suggesting herbivorous / omnivorous feeding habits. Also of interest is the extended neck section of the spine. Not really dog like. However as we don’t know where or when it was found or by whom all analysis is very speculative!

  11. onetwotwins1 responds:

    Hi, I’m new to the forum, but read often through the C2C link. My thought on this skeleton is that it is a llama.If you look it up you’ll notice nearly exact symetry and build. Just my thoughts.

  12. mbryant responds:

    This looks rather like what I think the skeleton of a marine creature would look like. The head and long neck make me think it could be the skeleton of a seal. If the photo really came from Arkansas,(i.e., in the general vicinity of Florida) could it be the skeleton of a very young manatee?

  13. KenMD responds:

    Not a dog, teeth too flat (at least looks that way).
    Not a cat, neck too long, teeth to flat
    Not ape/primate/human-just dumb.
    Pelvis is thin so thin animal.
    Flat teeth means likely a grazer.
    Neck long-again likely a grazer.
    Probably a goat/sheep.
    Those teeth do look funny though.
    I am going w/ a Doom 3 character or one of those creatures from the Xbox game The Suffering

  14. acaruso responds:

    My first thought was a seal or some similar aquatic animal. Though, I have no idea if there are seals in Arkansas. It’s possible that the skeleton was found elsewhere, then transported to Arkansas, where it was given the “Arkansas skeleton” moniker.

  15. Stosh responds:

    WOW!!!! I think that Mysteriousness hit the nail on the head and the images of the deer and the dog skeletons look like proof to me, but since it was in Arkansas it must have something to do with the Clintons. Was it found in a closet????

  16. jjames1 responds:

    I’m not sure where anyone is getting the idea that this is a primate/human skeleton. As others have mentioned, the proportions are completely wrong.

    There’s a great quote in Eric Penz’s novel, CRYPTID: “I wouldn’t have seen it if I hadn’t believed it.” (Yes, that quote has been used elsewhere, especially by Marshall McLuhan.) I think that certainly applies here. Some people believe so strongly that there is some sort of “cryptid ape” in North America that they’ll let that belief color their perception of what is (in all likelihood) a known animal in this case.

    KenMD’s suggestion of a goat or a sheep seems entirely plausible. A sheep skeleton was the first thing I thought of when I saw this. I think the labeling of this picture as an “Arkansas Mystery Critter,” and implying that there’s a cryptozoological bent here is making people leap to conclusions that are most likely ill-conceived.

  17. aquarious responds:

    If it is a fake it is well done. Catastronaut, lol u are bang on. Anyways if this thing is real it is clearly a marine animal. Look at the tail. It is quite thick and then widens at the base for optimal use under water. This would allow for smooth swimming and change of direction. Compare that to the tail end of an airplane. It works the same for very active sea creatures. A seal is an excellent guess, however we must take into account that at present there is no sign of any bone structure where the flippers would have been fused with the skeleton. We need more photos. As why a skeleton of a seal could be found in Arkansas…well there was a giant whale bone found here at the shores of Lake Ontario. Theories ranged from it being an extremley ancient animal just well preserved to notions of an old circus being in town. If there was a circus or something of that nature in Arkansas,then one of the seals could have died. They have to die sometime and they would most likely bury it in the town where the animal died. If this photo can be traced and radiocarbon dating and/or DNA testing done on it, it would make things alot simpler. But that is not how things go is it? Which leads me to believe that this is a fake..a good one though. How does this person get the photo copied and posted at this site without knowing what webite he visited? C’mon folks we are being had with this one. This person clearly knows this crypto website already. If one finds something of this uniqueness then clearly they would at least know where they got the photo from. And if they really did forget, it is not hard to retrace ones steps. It was only a few days ago they said. They are clearly trying to take you along for the ride. If this person was relly intrested ion knowing what it was then surley they would have remebered some details! This would be a tremendous find if it was real. Nice try tho! Either or it was a fun piece with a 5% chance of it not being a hoax.

  18. MountDesertIslander responds:

    My only question: Who would carry that around with their bare hands?

    Good lord I almost blew my lunch when I noticed that. Betcha it made great jerky.

  19. skunkape responds:

    cant say for sure but it looks like a deer. i found a deer carcus just like that a couple of years ago, with the front part of the upper jaw chewed off by probably coyotes or dogs. the ribs do look a little different than a deers though.

  20. shovethenos responds:

    Can’t get past that rounded skull. A big cat seems like a good guess, but those molars look like a herbivore’s.

  21. wiccaman9 responds:

    DEFINITELY AN ARTIODACTYLID/UNGULATE, ie CLOVEN HOOFED ANIMAL. There is no tail evident (re above) the flattened area is the pelvis w/ soft tissues attached, necrotic, behind the lumbar vertebrae. The front of the skull is missing (the diastema and frontal/ nasal bones – no upper incisors, or canines (except chinese water deer)) The teeth, from what can be seen, do not show variation. They are all similar. Not like the typically conical molars of seals, etc, but angular open-looking dentition, typified by ungulates/herbivores.

    Likely deer/sheep/goat either way polled, no horns (possible female?)

    Not really a cryptid! Merely road-kill, scavenged and rotting away.

  22. dbard responds:

    Arkansas is LOADED with Seals.
    That’s why it’s known as “The Seal State”…


  23. Scarfe responds:

    After looking at the skull more closely and the neck….I shift my speculation of a large cat and am more interested in those who speculate that it is probably a cloven hoof animal as well.

  24. Scarfe responds:

    And for those of you who think this might be some kind of marine creature, like a seal, compare that image to one of seal bones. I think the spine is too short to be that of a seal.

  25. MojoHotep responds:


  26. achuzan responds:

    Uhh take a look at the rib cage.
    What ever it is it has a long neck

  27. Arkansan_88 responds:

    I would really like to know where this skeleton is so I could get a better look at it. It could be put on display as part of an exhibit. It is unexplained, no one knows exactly what it is. I can’t really see where it could be a dog. The top jaw looks to short to be a dog mandible. It could have a long neck or some of the rib bones closer to the neck could be missing. It could also be something somebody put together. Fake mermaids have been put together so why couldn’t this just be a fake.

  28. Whoooosh! responds:

    The eyesockets are pretty large. Can’t see the front of the skull, obviously, but I think it might be a small pig. Chupapig?

  29. wiccaman9 responds:

    I’d pay more attention to the teeth.

    All the teeth appear the SAME, angular open-looking (albeit picture small)teeth, with an outline /arcade angular (zig-zagged) Carnivores would have small premolars, large carnasial teeth, then small molars at the rear ie different sized teeth in terms of shape and height/size.(ie NOT cat or dog) Large Primates would never have the angular pattern of the teeth outline (compare with flattened human molars). The teeth are what you expect of an ungulate/cloven-hoofed animal.

    MANY deer/goats/sheep etc would seem to have long necks also, by way of their head carriage.

  30. wiccaman9 responds:

    Also look at the colour of the teeth, dirty yellow-brown, except for the occluding surfaces, where they meet. Typically sheep/goat/deer characteristic.

    ps. No I’m not a dentist, but a vet, and keen naturalist, collector of skulls/skeletons/taxidermist

  31. CryptoInformant responds:

    Did anyone notice the FORWARD FACING EYES? This labels it as at least partly predatory, but the molars make it definitely an omnivore.
    Goat-skull too round
    Deer-Uh, no
    Big Cat-Think again
    Dog-I don’t think so
    Primate-YOU STUPID!
    Marine Animal-Possible
    New Species-Close, definitely could be
    Surviving Creodont-Maybe, that’s my guess anyways.

  32. holysmokedc responds:

    #31 is very good. Yes to the forward facing eyes which a Preditor has. Round skull close to almost human. Keep in mind size/ratio, the bone structure to the size, very weird. But also very powerful. But to answer the question:
    “The creature’s name is “ralph”. “R.eal A.lien L.ife P.roject H.ere” there fore “ralph” in short. The picture is off a post card that was made around 1992 in Tecumseh, Okla. Over 200 of the post card pictures were sold at a local gas station, “notice the bent corner on the picture”. Cars and cloths mean nothing, there could have been a 32 T in the drive way, eh. No DNA has ever been pulled from ralph? Univ of Okla cut the neck in half to prove it was from a camel. deer. cow family only to come up with another CNS? “Cent. Nerv. Sys.” UCLA, Minn, San Diego, SF, OSU, NASSA of SF, Univ of Vienna, Salzburg DNA Spec-Austria, Berlin-Switzerland- are just a FEW of the places and specialist, just a few..! The more it is studied the more that is learned “what it is not”. Rome says CHUPACABRA and has writen many stories on ralph. Seems Rome has over 300 yrs of Chupacabra history (or records)? I like here the answer “The SEAL” Since Arkansas has a SEAL.(I get it-good one)

  33. Alton Higgins responds:

    [From “More Mysterious Oklahoma” (2001), written by David Farris.]

    The source of this story is an interesting man named Dayne Chastain. He and his brother Jett have treasure-hunted throughout Oklahoma and surrounding states. They have a network of treasure-hunting buddies and have amassed scores of fascinating tales about their finds. Dayne has compiled many of these stories in his book, Follow the Signs. One chapter deals with a friend’s find that eventually involved Chastain, many university professors, the media and some say dark, sinister forces. Had the events not involved the actual, physical examination of the thing in question, these accounts would have been dismissed as nothing more than science fiction.

    The tale begins in a deeply wooded area near Charleston, Arkansas, about thirty-seven miles from Fort Smith. On November 17, 1991, a man was bow-hunting for deer on land owned by a friend. The land owner warned the hunter to keep an extra eye out for a bold brahma bull that had free rein of the property. Perhaps it was this extra vigilance that caused the man to notice something strange out of the corner of his eye. He walked past it for several yards, until it occurred to him just how strange it was. Returning to the site, he confirmed what he had seen – the remains of some unusual creature, lying under a tree, partially covered with leaves. The man, whose anonymity I’ll respect, described his experience to Chastain, “it was the strangest thing I’ve ever seen in my life, and I’ve seen some strange things. It was pretty well decomposed when I first found it, but it still had flesh and hair attached. It was later estimated to have been dead between five to six weeks.

    “It was long in body like a deer or giant dog, but its legs and arms weren’t like a normal animal’s. Instead of paws or hooves, it had what looked like strange malformed hands.

    “It had sharp teeth, definitely not a cow or a deer, but they were of a peculiar shape that didn’t resemble any wolf or bear that I’d ever seen.”

    “The skull wasn’t long like an animal’s. It was shorter in the muzzle like an ape – or a man’s.”

    The most unusual feature of the carcass was a ridge of bone rising from its spine like a dorsal fin. The finder reported it caused a chill to run down the back of his neck.

    [Farris goes on to list where the remains were supposedly examined:

    Charleston High School (biology teacher)
    West Arkansas University (Professor David Meeks; Professors Buchanan, Hightower)
    Oklahoma Baptist University (unnamed professors)
    University of Oklahoma (zoology department)
    Ben H. Baker, DVM (Arkansas “authority on llamas”)
    East Central University, Ada, OK (zoology department)
    Minnesota Dinosaur Museum
    Mutual UFO Network
    UCLA Medical Center, CA
    Loma Medical Center, CA
    San Francisco California University of Davis
    University of Washington State
    U.S. Department of Agriculture
    Greg Fox, “DNA specialist” in San Diego, CA

    The author writes that the skeleton was finally left with “Jack Glover’s Sunset Trading Post and Old West Museum in Sunset, Texas, just to the east of Wichita Falls.”]

  34. redglowingeyes responds:

    A different view of the same story?

  35. Doug responds:

    Wow, another weird story from my state. This one sounds like something out of the X-Files. Are the skeletal remains still in the trading post at Wichita Falls? It would be interesting to see what modern advances in DNA an other areas could come up with now.

  36. One Eyed Cat responds:

    Hi this is my first post.

    I have no idea what the thing is. some posters have given plausible possibilities. I might make a suggestion to those believing it an aquatic animal. wouldn’t an otter make more sense then a seal?

    The main reason that spurred me to post is the person who so blatantly failed geography. Arkansas is not in relative area of Florida (my home state) nor is it close to Alabama (where I am stuck at the moment). Alabama does share a border with Florida.

  37. One Eyed Cat responds:

    for the curious, my name comes from the fact I actually have a one eyed cat.

  38. shovethenos responds:

    Is there any information on what the alleged DNA study concluded? Unidentified, or was there more information?

  39. Goat Lady responds:

    My uneducated guess is that the skeleton is that of a calf. The head looks to be the right shape. The body is narrow, just like a calf. Perhaps it was newborn, even stillborn.

  40. Neila responds:

    Scavanged whitetail carcass. Rare find, even for a hunter.

  41. dbard responds:

    Cryptoinformant – you call another poster “Stupid”, then make a guess of Creodont? Once again you make an exceedingly unlikely choice.

    Hello Mr. Pot? Mr. Kettle on line 2..

  42. publius responds:

    Hi folks,

    Here is a link to an article on Chastain that discusses the skeleton’s identity (among other things).

  43. califb responds:

    Looks like a hoax to me… But then again, I’m always skeptical of photos like this.

  44. One Eyed Cat responds:

    I need to correct the post explaining my name I HAD a One Eyed Cat He died in the night last night Would have been 18 in April

  45. CryptoInformant responds:

    Creodont? Gee, that does sound stupid. Right now I have no clue what this is, but an odd primate is my best guess, but seal is possible. I did not say it was a creodont, merely that it COULD be. I apologize to those that guess primate, y’all may be right.

  46. KenMD responds:

    Neck still too long for a primate.
    Check out dental anatomy of a sheep. Looks similar.

    perhaps the tip of the nose was chewed off by rodents/rabbits, etc.

    Still going w/ sheep/goat
    Here are some sheep skeletons.

  47. shovethenos responds:


    Pretty convincing links. The sheep skeleton does have that ridge along the spine, just like the mystery skeleton. And the tip of the snout does look pretty delicate, like it could easily have been broken off or gnawed off by rodents. Without the tip of the snout the skull is pretty round, also like the skeleton.

  48. MrInspector responds:

    The neck is far too long to be any primate species. It also lacks the scapulae mechanisms along the rear of the spine.

    Whatever this was it was certainly a quadraped. The image is not of sufficient quality to determine the actual species.

    My guess would be dog, judging by the shape of the ribs and spine probably a hound or retriever.

  49. CryptoInformant responds:

    This just gets more and more confusing. I recently found a book that shows the dental plan of a creodont called Patriofelis, and, going with the bit off snout theory, this could be a descendant of that. Here are some of Patriofelis’s traits shared with this thing.
    Forward-Facing Eyes:Check
    Dorsal Ridge:Check, but larger in “it”
    Good Set of Molars:Check
    Bad Luck In Life:Check,

  50. captiannemo responds:

    Yup he is holding that nasty thing with his BARE hands!

    That’s all I know for sure.

  51. Sam responds:

    I will stake my life’s fortune (which is very small and probably not worth your contesting my claim) that this is a DEER SKELETON. The reasons that lead me to believe this are

    1) the teeth are correct and the roof of the mouth is the correct width and

    2) the hip is correctly constructed for a deer.

    The reason the skull looks human is because the muzzle is broken off. The processis on the tops of the thoraic vertebrea are too long and thick to be those of a cat or human or ape or any predator for that mater. The entire structure is the correct size for a deer. And I have a deer skeleton that is currently partially articulated, and I am looking at it RIGHT NOW. In conclusion, this is not a cat, bear, ape, human, or any kind of ferocious monster. it is a FEMALE DEER WITH A BROKEN MUZZLE.

  52. CryptoInformant responds:

    This skeleton is highly fragged, but what is there suggests an omnivorous creodont. They were highly successful in their time, but would be quite rare now.

  53. CryptoInformant responds:

    Speaking of mysterious bone finds, I once found a qauadrate (part of a bird skull) that, when compared to the same bone on a crow, shows that the bird the quadrate came from had a head the size of a horse’s head. It was not a fossil, as there were still bits of bird skin on it. (ewww) Even more curious is that it was buried in a small pit along with assorted bits of an unidentified carnivorous mammal and smaller birds. This means that something must have killed or scavenged off of these animals and buried parts of them in a hole, possibly for food storage.

  54. anthrocrypto responds:

    It’s a seal, mandible and all extremities are missing including thoracic girdle (hence the neck looks ‘long’). Pelvis is still in place. Skeleton is unfossilised, still has putrefied flesh hanging off it. DNA testing would, I think be possible, it’s not old. Then again why would the skeleton’s owners do that, it would raise questions of why exactly they have a rotten seal carcass in Arkansas…

  55. Arkady responds:

    It’s just a dead sheep with the nose broken off.

  56. redneck rick responds:

    cant be sure from the pic, could be one of many of ar. native critters. somthing dies in the wild and other animal are going to maul it and scatter bones, you guys know were not looking at the whole skeleton. I think the picture taker knew what he was looking at but when the pic hit the internet just the viewer doesnt know.

  57. kilted responds:

    I don’t know if this blog is still active at all, I have always just called it the critter. I saw this when I was going to school in Ada at ECU, from everything I have seen it and it was real. I watched him pull it out of a 5 gallon bucket of formaldehyde, when it still had meat on it. There was a ridge of bones with connective tissue along the spine that raised up like a fan. It is the spookiest thing I have ever seen, and I will never forget it as long as I live. It was not anything known at least not to the general public. I saw it probably around 13 or 14 years ago so that is about when the pic above was taken. I will have a serious discussion with anybody truly interested.

  58. bobbed wire responds:

    Arkansas Mystery Creature

    As far as I know, it was removed from Jack Glovers place and taken back to the finders place. The last “viewing” of the E.T. was suspended in an acrylic case (aprox 4’X30″X30″) with formaldehyde like humidity. Jack said to many people were snooping around.

    I saw it about 4 years ago, and it’s nothing that I can ID. NO DNA! Jack had it billed as “The Alien” and later said it was a Chupacabra. It had two legs and walked upright and had two short arms. The person that found it had file boxes (many) full of test reports done on it. ie.. X-rays, DNA, etc…

  59. BudoMan responds:

    To: holysmokedc

    So what is the status of RALPH at present? Or can you not discuss it?

    From BudoMan
    Another Hometown Boy living South ?????

  60. bobbed wire responds:

    I would say to check out the book “Follow The Signs” by Dayne Chastain ISBN

    It has a pretty good account of this creature. The hair is one of the
    things that got me. Aluminum, Silicone, Calcium, and Copper!! and no DNA

  61. coleboy1979 responds:

    Even tough this is a old post, I would like to add my comment. To just help clarify a few facts.. This story is very true, and I lived around 5 miles from where it was found. The gentleman that found it at the time, was an Uncle of mine (by marriage) his Name is Frank, we’ll leave it at that.. He came across it while hunting and thought it was strange, but hiked on to hunt, and as the sun was starting to set while leaving the woods, he as the Intelligent man that he is decided to go back by the bones to get a better look, and then confirmed that there’s something not domestic about it. so he choose to hang on to it, and later had many scientist do analysis on it which returned no known results, to my knowledge it has never been identified…….Alien????????? very COOL!

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