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This 40-foot long, bovine featured, aquatic creature was discovered by natives on Masbate Island, but before it could be delivered into the hands of science it was sold to a local butcher for its meat. On December 24, 1996, the remains of an unknown animal were discovered on Villa Rico beach near the town of Claveria in Masbate province in the Philippines. Initially believed to be the corpse of a calf, upon further inspection it was concluded that the animal’s immense 26-foot proportions ruled out the possibility that it might be a desiccated bovine. The beast was further described as being an eel-like creature with dark, possibly scaly flesh, a turtle-like head, a seemingly mammalian blow hole, and came complete with long tail and four flippers. A photo showing the skull, vertebrae and limbs of this aquatic enigma appeared in the Philippine Star newspaper, but sadly does not seem to be available online.

Although the remains were reported to be in an advanced state of decomposition, the carcass was sold by the natives who discovered it to a local butcher who wanted to use the colossal creature for its meat. Reports indicate that during a televised interview, the butcher described the carcass as being a cross between a small plesiosaur and a large tortoise, which had been plied from its shell. The account further states that the butcher illustrated this image for the television audience by drawing the animal’s likeness in the sand. This tortoise comparison was also made in regards to the now famous catch of the Japanese fishing trawler, which, in 1977, managed to capture the remains of what the crew believe to be a reptilian creature that was considered by most to be long extinct. Dr Perry Ong — a Zoologist from the Philippines University — noted that despite its apparent “blow hole” the creature in question was clearly not a mammal, noting that it lacked the long, narrow snout of a dolphin. Dr. Ong went on to speculate that this sea monster was likely an: “…eel-like fish… It must be an ancestral or primitive fish. It had fins. But if it is a fish, where are the ribs? It is not a mammal.”

Cryptozoologist Dr. Karl Shuker suggested that it might be a profoundly decomposed killer whale and, of course, there are more than a few who believe it to be the rotten remains of a basking shark, but since the monster slipped out of the hands of scientists and into the bellies of some local fisherman it seems likely that this debate with rage on and we’ll be forced to accept the fact that this case is just another in that tragically long list of cryptozoological incidents that end with the phrase: “the one that got away.”

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