New York City is notorious for dangerously large rats -- at least if you watch the movies, that's what they would have you to believe. But an unidentified monstrous animal that was found dead on the shoreline of the East River has locals and officials scratching their heads.
On Monday, Gothamist posted a photo taken by Denise Ginley of the East River creature. You can view all of Ginley's photos here (Note: You may need to login to a Yahoo account to view all 18 of her photos), but below are a few of them.
Here's how the carcass of the animal, which clearly has had rigor mortis set in, is first described by Gothamist:
Our tipster wrote, "Is this another incarnation of the Montauk Monster, or just the biggest rat in the city?" The animal was under the Brooklyn Bridge on the Manhattan side, and was "maybe two feet, a bit more perhaps, head to tail."
The Montauk Monster, if you haven't heard of it, was a similar occurrence in 2008 of an unknown animal carcass being sighted in Montauk, Long Island. Tetrapod Zoology on Science Blogs reported at the time that the "monster" was most likely a raccoon that had such an odd appearance given its level of decomposition.
But speculation and details about this most recent carcass are still circulating with no definitive conclusions drawn yet. The Huffington Post has more from Ginley and how she discovered the animal:
"We were walking on the esplanade along the East River beneath the FDR. We found the dead creature lying on the strip of sand beside the East River, on the Manhattan side, directly beneath the Brooklyn Bridge. It looked like the tide probably washed the carcass up there along with some driftwood."
Since the photo's posting, the story has begun to go viral with speculation about the species and its origin. Animal New York (via Gawker) reports a New York City Park Department spokesperson saying it is a pig from a cookout that the department has since disposed of.
Later, though, Gawker reported many being critical of this designation, citing the feet of the beast as evidence:
Most in the no-pig camp point to the lack of cloven hooves on this creature, as did many people in the discussion on the previous post. We did not notice the feet at first and thought the hooves were merely hacked off by a butcher to better prepare the pig for its inevitable roasting. But, after closer inspection, it appears there are five toes with jagged nails, most likely used to tear open the bellies of Brooklyn children while they sleep.
Gothamist sarcastically points out that "annoying rational people" would probably say "monsters" such as this "are just dead bloated animals." If nothing else, as Gothamist reports a commenter pointing out, the animal could at least be considered a R.O.U.S. (Rodent of Unusual Size -- a term coined in "The Princess Bride") that "drowned during the Giant Mutant Urban Rat Army's special skills swimming test."
There is also the completely rational possibility (cough) it is a mutant combination of animals. A fictional example that makes this point is exemplified in an episode of "How I Met Your Mother" regarding the "cockamouse" -- a combo cockroach and mouse. Watch this teaser:
In addition, "monsters" showing up on the East River shoreline seems to be becoming an annual event. Last year, a "six- to seven-foot" Atlantic sturgeon -- a very prehistoric looking fish -- was found dead on the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge. Check out this footage of the beast and all those who came to gawk at it:
Since the jury is still out on a formal designation of what this carcass truly is, let us know via the poll just what you think it could be.
This post has been updated to include more photos of the "East River Monster" with permission from Denise Ginley. We've also included more info on other "monsters" found along the East River in recent years.