Animaloids are cryptids of animal intellegence and closer to animals in apperance. They often resemble existing animals or mixes of different species, but have been recorded to look entirely different from regular animals. They are most often a lesser threat than other types, with some being completely docile or even friendly to humans.
Several regular animals have been previously mis-identified as animaloids such as:
1. Komodo dragon — until 1910, stories of a giant lizard on the island of Komodo in Indonesia were laughed at by any respectable scientist. However, when Lieutenant Steyn van Hansbroek caught and killed one, things changed. Explorer W. Douglas Burden wasn’t happy with just a dead specimen and decided to travel to the island to capture a live one. He returned to New York City with a few dead specimens and not one, but two live komodo dragons. The dragons were put on display at the Bronx Zoo and inspired Merian C. Cooper to write the 1933 classic King Kong.
2. Platypus — if you weren’t familiar with a platypus and looked at a picture of one, it would be easy to believe it was a photoshop of a duck, otter, and beaver all put together. Naturalists, scientists, and most Europeans in the 18th century didn’t believe such a creature could exist! The second Governor of New South Wales, Captain John Hunter, sent a pelt and sketch of a platypus to scientists of the European community in 1798, shortly after one was discovered. Zoologist, anatomist, ethologist, and physician Robert Knox was convinced it was a hoax and that the pelt was made by an Asian taxidermist. He even convinced botanist and zoologist George Shaw; who at the time believed the platypus could be real, but had his doubts; to take scissors to the pelt to find stitches. Several years later, after many expeditions, the platypus was proven to be real.
3. Okapi — also known as the forest giraffe, the okapi is a blend of a zebra, donkey, deer, and antelope. Yet, its closest genetic link is giraffes. Europeans in the 18th and 19th centuries called this animal the “African Unicorn.” Of course, Africans knew the okapi existed, since these animals inhabit the Ituri Forest in central Africa. Because opakis are rarely seen and are extremely hard to find, they were classified as a cryptid for many years. In 1901, Sir Harry Johnston found an okapi skeleton and skin and sent it to the British museum, where it was classified as a new species.
4. Gorilla — I bet you didn’t expect to see gorillas on this list! In fact, most European explorers thought that gorillas were “monster-like.” The first attributed sighting of a gorilla by a non-African was made in the 5th century BC by Greek explorer Hanno. Most scientists today believe Hanno was describing either chimpanzees or baboons from his account. However, his interpreters called the creatures that he saw “gorillae” (interesting, right?).
Another explorer, Andrew Battel, recounted seeing human-like “monsters” visit his campfire every morning after he left for the day. Of course, he had to mention they didn’t know how to put more wood on the fire to keep it going. Yet, gorillas remained cryptids until 1847, when Thomas Savage found gorilla bones in Libera. He, alongside Harvard anatomist Jeffries Wyman, wrote a formal description of the new species, calling it Gorilla gorilla. A decade later, anthropologist Paul du Chaillu hunted live gorillas in order to obtain specimens to be analyzed. One gorilla species, the mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei), stayed a cryptid until 1902, when German captain Robert von Berigne first identified one.
5. Giant squid — Many people still consider the giant squid to be a cryptid. Similar to most cryptids, which tend to live in habitats that are difficult for humans to find, giant squid live in the deep ocean. The first images of a giant squid were taken in 2004 by researchers in Japan, and in 2006, scientists from Japan’s National Science Museum caught a live 24-foot female giant squid. Every few months, there’s another news report of a dead giant squid washing ashore. Even though some people consider the giant squid to be a hoax, the scientific evidence says otherwise.
6. Bondegezou — Bondegezou is one of the ancestral spirits of the Moni people in Western Papua New Guinea. Its ties to Western Papua New Guinea mythology made the bondegezou a cryptid for decades. It wasn’t until the 1980s that Tim Flannery, an Australian scientist, took the first picture of a bondegezou. Mr. Flannery identified the animal as a tree-dwelling marsupial that looked like a tiny man. It has black and white fur and even walks around on two legs! Unfortunately, the bondegezou is on the Endangered species list.