Giant rat? Werewolf? East River Monster puzzles New Yorkers

Jul 26, 2012

A bloated animal corpse washed up in Manhattan has prompted wild speculation about its identity

Getty Images

A FREAKISH animal corpse found on the eastern bank of Manhattan island at the weekend has been dubbed the 'East River Monster' by a puzzled media.

Freelance photographer Denise Ginley was on a Sunday stroll with her boyfriend when she noticed the carcass lying under the Brooklyn Bridge, The Independent reports.

"We were horrified by it and we took some camera phone pictures," she told New York website Animal. They decided to go back later with Ginley's camera to take some better shots.

New York Magazine made a bold attempt to classify the animal, saying it fell "somewhere in between a rodent of unusual size and a part-human werewolf".

The New York Parks Department has denied wild speculation that the creature is the result of a genetic mutation. A spokesman originally told Animal that it was a "pig left over from a cookout", and said that workers had "disposed of it."

This simple explanation was not enough to calm online speculation, however.  Debate centred around the observation that the 'monster' in Ginley's photographs has five distinct toes on its feet - not trotters.

Gothamist called Paul Curtis, Cornell University's naturalist professor, who, after studying the photos, said the corpse was "likely a small dog that drowned and has been floating in the river for quite a while. It is obviously bloated, and all the hair has slipped off the carcass".

Curtis drew a comparison to the Montauk Monster, which was later determined to have been a water-bloated raccoon carcass, but added that the teeth on this particular animal looked more dog-like.

Animal Planet's Jeremy Wade also lent his expertise to the puzzling case in Gawker, but he could only confirm it was not a pig.

For her part, Ginley is convinced that the animal is not a pig, offering her conclusion to New York Magazine that "it could be a monstrously huge rat, but it could also be a monster. A rat that big would pretty much be a monster anyway, wouldn't it?"

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