Magenta Whale

Unknown Cetacean of the South Pacific and Nor t h At lant ic Oceans.

Etymology: After the scientific research ship Magenta.

Scientific name: Amphiptera pacifica, given by Enrico Hillyer Giglioli in 1870.

Variant names: MongiTORe's Monstrous Fish, Rhinoceros whale.

Physical description: Length, 60 feet. Gray-green back. Lower parts are grayish-white. Muzzle is large and blunt. Lower jaw is slight ly longer than the upper. Two dorsal fins, 6 feet apart.

Distribution: South Pacific and North Atlantic Oceans; possibly the Mediterranean Sea.

Significant sightings: A two-finned baleen whale was observed September 4, 1867, by Enrico Hillyer Giglioli on the ship Magenta in the South Pacific Ocean, about 1,000 miles off the coast of Chile. The dist ance bet ween t he animal's two fins was about 6.6 feet, and it was grayish-green above and grayish-white below. It had no ridges on the top of its head or on its throat.

A sea monster with two dorsal fins about 20 feet apar t was seen by Alexander Taylor and t he crew of the fishing boat Lily off the coast of Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, in October 1898. It spout ed like a whale and was about 68 feet long.

On July 17, 1983, a sailboat was followed by a large animal with two dorsal fins, a trapezoidal head, and a white belly in the Mediterranean between Corsica and Cavalair e-sur-Mer, France.

Sources: Enrico Hillyer Giglioli, Note intorno alla distribuzione della fauna vertebrata nell'oceano prese durante un viaggio intorno al globo, 1865—1868 (Florence, Italy: Giuseppe Civelli, 1870), pp. 75-76; Enrico Hillyer Giglioli, I cetacei osservati durante il viaggio intorno al globo della R. pirocorvetta Magenta, 1865-1868 (Naples, Italy: Stamperia della Regia Universita, 1874), pp. 59-72; "Scared by a Sea Serpent," Daily Mail (London), October 10, 1898, p. 3; Jacques Maigret, "Les cétacés sur les côtes ouest-africaines: Encore quelques énigmes!" Notes Africaines 189 (1986): 20-24; Michel Raynal, "Do Two-Finned Cetaceans Really Exist ?" INFO Journal, no. 70 (January 1994): 7-13.

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