Mystery Creature
Roams Auckland Park

by Merilee Andres
The Aucklander
It looks like this was simply a publicity stunt by the museum to generate interest in their new Dino replicas at the park - ed


Bill Van Halewyn
New Zealand

Kia ora
Residing in NZ, and being avid follower of the news, I suggest the article re "mystery creature roams auckland park" is a hoax! The description of the park and several other items do not ring true besides having looked at the date of the article and comparing it to todays date, means that if it was factual, something would have been on the news and it hasn't! our media is very open when comes to such things and hence i strongly suggest a hoax!
We also received this...
Caption: Jo Lees has an unexpected visitor in the Auckland Domain. Dryosaur is a new attraction being launched today at the Auckland Museum. Picture / Brett Phibbs
Original Article...
Something mighty strange is at large in Auckland and appears to be making its home in the Domain. The creature for it is definitely an animal only comes out at night. Then, it roams free through the huge park, leaving behind large, never-before-seen footprints, and unusual, unidentifiable droppings.
Alarmed early-morning joggers say trees are freshly scratched when they run the paths in the early morning. Its as if someone, or some beast, is trying to climb the trees. Of course, there must be a perfectly good explanation for all this. The problem is, nobody knows what the answer could be. Even the boffins in the white museum at the top of the hill, who are surely the best people in town at nutting out the mysteries, are at odds over what kind of brute could have taken up residence nearby. They agree on only one thing - its a life form. But not as we know it.
Glenys Stace is the museum's spokesperson on the new park resident. She pauses gravely before speaking. Her usually twinkling blue eyes are subdued as she gives full weight to the puzzle that experts like her have been asked to solve. "It's come tour attention, from people using the Domain, that strange things have been appearing," she begins. "It's possible this creature is hanging around." Her caution is understandable.

The creature has left behind many footprints to be examined
The author, researcher and intrepid explorer of the natural world is well aware that one wild claim too far will make her "the laughing-stock" of the scientific community. Stace and other scientists are now studying the clues that the creature has left, and she warily agrees to clarify what they know so far. Most of the activity is occurring in the vicinity of the duck pond, and on the front steps of the Auckland War Memorial Museum. The pond, she argues, could be its water source.
The scratches on the trees point to the fact that the beast is a plant-eater, and probably prefers Australian Kauri. The footprints show it has three toes and its not a mammal, which has either five toes, like us, or hooves, like a cow. The "quite unusual droppings", usually of great interest to scientists, are thought to be from a decent-sized animal. But tests to this point have drawn a complete blank as to what kind. Stace says the first thing they thought was that the rogue had escaped from the Auckland Zoo. That was quickly ruled out. There are no animals missing and nothing at the zoo fits the bill.
Someone suggested that the creature could be an ostrich. No, they have only two toes. A wild guess that the creature could even be a moa, which did have three toes, predictably, hasn't held water. The shape of the prints are different, and more to the point, do not account for the markings found near the footprints, which look like a tail being dragged. Moa didn't have dragging tails. "That's quite a significant mark. That makes us stop and think." The creature, Stace believes, could "possibly be more reptile like". She puts her scientific reputation on the line to say that it does not resemble the footprint of any creature living in New Zealand today.
She dismisses suggestions they could be dealing with an undiscovered species, or even a hoax. "I'm a sceptical scientist. I couldn't possibly comment on it being something the world doesn't know about," she reasons. "If it was a hoax, I'm sure that someone would have left more clues. There would be a path they wanted us to follow, but there doesn't seem to be any pattern of logic." It now looks as though a posse will be set up for overnight surveillance, in the hope of catching the animal as it emerges from the dense bush of Parnell Gully, where it is thought to be hiding during the day. As the interview draws to a close, the scientist gives in to an unexpected moment of openness, to reveal one last clue. "It would have to be something that, in appearance at least, was like a small dinosaur, maybe a hipsylophodont." This kind of dinosaur ranged 3m long and up to 2.5m high. It was known to roam the glades of this country in the Cretaceous period about 65 million years ago. But she rushes to correct herself: "Of course there aren't any dinosaurs alive today. It's a puzzle. It's a terrible puzzle."



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