Friday, January 16, 2009

Sea Ape

The Sea Ape is a marine animal known from a single sighting by explorer Georg Wilhelm Steller, on August 10, 1741, in waters off the Shumagin Islands, Alaska.[1] This is the only animal described by Steller that has not been corroborated by physical evidence or other witnesses.

Steller described the animal as about 5 ft (~1.5 m) long, with a head similar to that of a dog. It had large eyes, pointed erect ears, and long whiskers. Its tail resembled that of a shark, but it had no forefeet nor forefins. Its body was covered with thick grayish hair, but its abdomen was reddish-white.[1] Steller recalled that it resembled an animal illustrated by Gesner which had been called Simia marina Latin for "sea ape".[2]
Steller wrote that the animal rose its front end out of the water to observe the ship, and engaged in an amusing juggling behavior with a piece of seaweed.[3]
Steller attempted to shoot the animal with a gun, but missed. He claimed the creature was seen several more times in various places.
The ship's log did not note the sea ape encounter, and Steller's 1742 governmental report made no mention of it, but he included a description of the creature in his The Beasts of the Sea.

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