Another Giraffid/Okapid Cryptid?

Posted by: Loren Coleman on April 20th, 2008


French cryptozoologist Michel Raynal is pointing to the “okapi” (?) of Tassili found in the book and bibliography of Bernard Heuvelmans, in his book On the Track of the Unknown Animals (Paris, Plon, 1955), referred to in the cave engravings as representing the okapi in Tassili.

The starting point of this assertion is an article of Robert Perret, who publishes a photograph of one of these engravings. This document is available: PERRET, Robert 1936 archaeological and ethnographic Research in Tassili of Ajjers (the Sahara central). Rupestral engravings of the Djaret Wadi, population and ruins of Iherir. Bulletin of the Company of the Africanists, 6 [ n° 1 ]: 41-64.

Tassili, at the time of these engravings (they are 4000 to 8000 years before present), was not arid like today, and sheltered a fauna of savanna. Raynal notes it is far from probable that it ever sheltered the okapi, an animal of the wet tropical forest. Perhaps the engraving represents another giraffid fossil, which has disappeared, but is part of another history to be explored.

Is there another okapi-like cryptid that has been overlooked? Could there be new okapi or new subspecies out there?

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.

6 Responses to “Another Giraffid/Okapid Cryptid?”

  1. sschaper responds:

    It is thought not to be Okapi, because they are presently a forest animal. Does that prevent it from having dwelt along the riverine forests of the Saharan velt?

    If it were a different giraffid, I think the article is indicating that it is extinct, along with the woolly rhinoceros and woolly mammoth, and for similar reasons, the Sahara now being a desert waste.

  2. shumway10973 responds:

    4,000 to 8,000 years is a long time. We have no clue how the terrain was back then. I think it is possible for these cave paintings to be from the same era of the other cave paintings we know of that depict the woolly mammoth and other ancient creatures. Although, it could be hiding somewhere like the Congo.

  3. Sordes responds:

    I know this engraving from an old book, and it was also compared to an okapi. There are also some other similar animals in ancient art, which resembles okapis. It is most probably that this pictures show no okapis, but late-surviving members of Lybitherium or a similar species. This comparably small giraffid was once common in northern Africa and even south-Europe, for example at Samos, Greece, i.e. they were no jungle-dwellers.
    There are also hints that the antlered giraffe Sivatherium probably survived in the middle-east for a long time, and were still encountered by the early Sumerians.

  4. RandyS responds:

    Not all that long ago (within hundreds of years), many elk were plains animals — even though now most of America’s elk have taken up residence in mountainous areas to avoid man. In light of that, Okapi moving from savannah to deep forests within the space of up to 8,000 years (for whatever reasons) doesn’t seem improbable.

  5. Tatzelwurm responds:

    I would call this a now-extinct population of okapis.

  6. Maine Crypto responds:

    I think that cave paintings of animals are so interesting. Especially the famed “Unicorn”. Different times had different animals, I am sure.

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