February 24, 2008

Madagascar’s Cryptids


Harry Trumbore’s drawing of Madagascar’s kalanoro, from The Field Guide to Bigfoot and Other Mystery Primates.

New species of lemurs keep being discovered in Madagascar. But there’s a long history of other cryptids being reported from the world’s fourth largest island.

elephant bird

Besides the big three (Kalanoro, Elephant Bird, and Man-Eating Tree) that have historically been most discussed in cryptozoological and cryptobotancial circles regarding Madagascar, what lesser zoological cryptids are discussed from there? What other strange animals exist in the literature, many of which were noted in passing at Cryptomundo, after I first published information from near that corner of the world in relationship to the alleged U. S. Navy SEALs video of mystery apes that looked like the Kalanoro?

How about the Kilopilopitsofy and the Kidoky?

William R. Corliss writes: “In 1995, D.A. Burney and Ramilisonia interviewed elderly natives about their knowledge of the Kilopilopitsofy and Kidoky. Both of these animals are mentioned in the historical accounts and folklore of Madagascar between the mid-1600s and late 1800s. The testimonies collected by Burney and Ramilisonia enabled them to provide tentative indentifications of these two mystery animals, both of which may still survive today.”

hippo carving

The Kilopilopitsofy

A striking feature of the accounts of this mysterious animal is the consistency of the details. All the accounts we have collected stress that the animal is nocturnal, grunts noisily, and flees to water when disturbed. Likewise, there is general agreement that it is cow-sized, hornless, dark in color, and has a large mouth with big teeth.

Corliss observes: “These data agree with the old descriptions of the mangarsahoc (1661), the tsy-aomby-aomby (1882), and the Ombyrano (1912). One animal fits all of these accounts: the dwarf hippopotamus (Hippopotamus lemerlie), supposedly extinct for over 1,000 years.”

The Kidoky

This animal’s description is decidedly lemur-like. It was compared to the sifaka by all the interviewees who described it, although all insisted that it was not the same animal… It is much larger…perhaps 25 kg. It is usually encountered on the ground and may flee on the ground rather than taking to the trees…Its whooping call is suggestive of an indri.

Again, Corliss speculates: “The Kidoky is probably the giant aboreal lemur (Palaeopropithecus), known only from subfossils 1,000 or more years old.”

Source: Burney, David A., and Ramilisonia; “The Kilopilopitsofy, Kidoky, and Bokyboky: Accounts of Strange Animals from Belo-sur-mer, Madagascar, and the Megafaunal ‘Extinction Window’,” American Anthropologist, 100:957, [Corliss incorrectly cites this as 1999], 1998.

For those having access to university libraries, you may be interested in finding this article:

“The Kilopilopitsofy, Kidoky, and Bokyboky: Accounts of Strange Animals from Belo-sur-mer, Madagascar, and the Megafaunal ‘Extinction Window'”

American Anthropologist
December 1998, Vol. 100, No. 4, pp. 957-966
Abstract available at Anthrosource

Thanks to anthroman for pointing out the above correct citation.

Also, let me mention Strange Ark’s online regional guide to cryptids has a list of African cryptids at this location.

For Madagascar, sorting through Chad Arment’s list, the following cryptids are noted:

Lemurs: Unknown species, giant species
Reported from Madagascar
Heuvelmans 1986; Shuker 2000a; Shuker 1998d

Lemur: unknown miniature species
Reported from Tsingy de Bemaraha reserve, Madagascar
Shuker 1998d

Giant Fossa
Folklore from Madagascar
Discover article [?]

Pygmies: Kimos
Reported from Madagascar
Heuvelmans 1986

Feline: “Lions”
Reported from Madagascar
Shuker 1989

Madagascan dwarf hippo: Kilopilopitsofy
Reported from Madagascar
Shuker 2000a

Giant tortoise
Reported from southwest Madagascar
Eberhart 2002

Long-snouted Moth
Hypothesized from Madagascar
Bille 1995

elephant birdMadagascar proto-pygmy

maneating tree

An old wood carving of the Man-Eating Tree of Madagascar.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

Filed under Books, Cryptobotany, Cryptomundo Exclusive, Cryptotourism, CryptoZoo News, Cryptozoologists, Cryptozoology, Eyewitness Accounts, Folklore, Mystery Cats, Proto-Pygmies, Swamp Monsters