Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Beast of Bodmin
The Beast of Bodmin is a phantom wild cat (or possibly a number of them) which ranges in Cornwall in the United Kingdom. Bodmin Moor became a centre of these sightings with occasional reports of mutilated slain livestock: the alleged leopard-like cats of the same region came to be popularly and alliteratively known as the Beast of Bodmin Moor. Eventually the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food decided to conduct an official investigation in 1995. The study's findings decided there was "no verifiable evidence" of exotic felines loose in Britain, and that the mauled farm animals could have been attacked by common indigenous species. The report did accept that "the investigation could not prove that a 'big cat' is not present."
Less than a week after the government report, a boy was walking by the River Fowey when he discovered a large cat skull. Measuring about four inches wide and seven inches long (10 × 18 cm), the skull was minus its lower jaw but possessed two sharp, prominent incisors that suggested that it might have been a leopard. The story hit the national press at about the same time of the official denial of alien big cat evidence on Bodmin Moor.
The skull was sent to the Natural History Museum in London for verification. They determined that it was a genuine skull from a young male leopard, but also found that the cat had not died in Britain and that the skull had been imported as part of a leopard-skin rug. The back of the skull was cleanly cut off in a way that is commonly used to mount the head on a rug. There was an egg case inside the skull that had been laid by a tropical cockroach that could not possibly be found in Britain. There were also cut marks on the skull indicating the flesh had been scraped off with a knife, and the skull had begun to decompose only after a recent submersion in water.
Sightings of the Beast of Bodmin Moor still continue. In October 1997, officials from Newquay Zoo claimed to identify pawprints left in mud to the south of Bodmin Moor as the tracks of a puma. Soon after that discovery, an alleged photograph of the Bodmin Beast materialised, purporting to show an adult female puma. The authenticity of this piece of evidence remains unconfirmed.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details