Friday, August 01, 2008

Rotting Animal Corpse Causes Internet Sensation

I must admit, I was avoiding this story just because there was so little credible information in the first day or two it was making its rounds on the interwebs. However, an article released today sheds some much-needed light on the mystery of the "Montauk Monster."

The article from provides perhaps the most insight into this story. Jenna Hewitt of Montauk, New York, a city at the eastern tip of Long Island, and three of her friends found the carcass while visiting the beach. Hewitt snapped the most circulated picture of the creature, the one that makes it appear to have a beak:

What most stories, like the one by MSNBC describing it as having a "dinosaur beak," don't tell you is that Hewitt's group of friends was the second to discover the creature. Christina Pampalone, part of the first group of beach-goers from the New York area, took her own pictures of the creature, which make it seem much less mysterious:From Pampalone's photo, the "beak" is clearly the front part of the skull which has simply rotted away. This photo also makes the proportions of the animal much more clear. Gone are the disproportionately small head and pointed ears. The animal was apparently between two and three feet in length.

The Newsday article reports Pampalone's friend, Ryan O'Shea, said everyone to whom he showed Pampalone's pictures said it looked like a dead dog. O'Shea had something else to say on the matter:

"'But looking at the claws, and at the teeth in the front, it looked like it could be something else, something vicious," O'Shea said"

Granted, the exposed skull and bottom teeth do give the carcass a slightly sinister look, but that is what most dogs look like underneath. With my severely limited experience with dogs (I watch dog shows), it looks to me like a French Bulldog or Pug skull. The short ears on the carcass are also indicative of both breeds.

The last handful of paragraphs in the Newsday article list claims of others seeing the animal in various parts of eastern New York state. One eyewitness even claims to have seen the beast alive:

"Ryan Kelso, via iPhone, said he spotted it -- alive! -- in the Montauk dunes. 'It looked about the size of an average fox, gray in color, eyes like a mole, hairless and was breathing quite heavily,' he wrote, 'needless to say we were freaked out by this discovery and fled the area quickly.'"

However, these eyewitnesses offer no tangible evidence to support their claims, just first-hand testimony. It's not a long stretch of the imagination to think that some of these "eyewitnesses" might be embellishing their respective stories a bit due to the media attention this find has received. Either way, I doubt the "Montauk monster," which Pampalone reported had been moved from the backyard of her friend's house to a new location, has been the subject of its last news story.

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