Saturday, April 29, 2017

Y - What the Heck is a Yukon Beaver Eater?


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For a long time, the Indigenous people of the Yukon territory and British Columbia on the west coast of Canada have described a huge beast, "bigger than even the biggest grizzly bear," that has been spotted tearing apart beaver lodges and devouring the poor creatures within. On the one hand, this monster is among the rarest and most obscure of cryptids (mysterious creatures such as bigfoot, yeti, lake monsters, etc), with very little information outside of native oral tradition. On the other hand, there are several very viable but surprising explanations for the Yukon Beaver Eater.

The natives traditionally called the beast saytoechin, which literally translates to "beaver eater." When shown pictures of similar-sized potential relatives to the beaver eater, eyewitnesses have uniformly identified the creature immediately: the megatherium, or giant ground-sloth.

This ugly sonofabitch right here.

The size and appearance of the ground sloth matches the saytoechin perfectly. There's just one problem: the giant ground sloth has been extinct for over 10,000 years. The beaver eater has been sighted as recently as 1989. There's a slight discrepancy in the dates there.

Could the saytoechin be a surviving megatherium? It's not like theories that the Loch Ness Monster is a surviving aquatic dinosaur from 100 million years ago. Ten thousand years is not that long. Is it long enough for the herbivore giant sloth to develop a taste for beaver? Possible, but it's a long shot.

About as long of a shot as me getting through this post without making a crass joke.

Other, slightly more plausible if less fun theories about the saytoechin is that it could be just an unusually large grizzly bear, or a short-faced bear (Arctodus Simus), which although also extinct is at least a carnivore.

A super-weird theory is that the Yukon Beaver Eater is actually a giant beaver itself (a castoroides), which is probably the most terrifying idea of all. We're talking about a 2-metre plus (7-foot) long beaver, weighing hundreds of kilograms, that is also a cannibal? I'm glad Canada doesn't have things like poisonous snakes and giant spiders, but I think a giant cannibal beaver might be just as bad.

Yeah, no thank you.

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My A-to-Z Blogging Challenge theme for 2017 is Weird Canadian Facts and History. To see more blog posts, click here.

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