||[May. 1st, 2008|01:16 pm]
According to local legends, the Mapinguari, a large, nocturnal, red-haired monster with a disorienting stench, roams the Amazon jungle of Brazil. Locals describe the Mapinguari as standing about two meters tall when on its hind legs. Interestingly, its feet are turned backwards and it is reportedly capable of ripping apart palm trees with its large claws. Although most scientists dismiss the Mapinguari as myth, a few, among them ornithologist David Oren, believe the Mapinguari may actually exist. They theorize that it may be a surviving giant ground sloth similar to the Mylodon, generally thought to have gone extinct about ten thousand years ago. It would not be entirely unprecedented to discover a living specimen of a species thought to be extinct for such a long period. In 1972, Dr. Ralph Wetzel discovered living specimens of the Chacoan Peccary, a close relative of pigs and boars, while on an expedition to the Gran Chaco. Prior to his discovery, the only example of this type of peccary had come from fossil remains, and they were generally considered to have died out about ten thousand years ago.
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