Makalala

Giant Bird of East Africa.

Etymology: Uncertain; said to mean "noisy." Similar t o makalele ("noise") in Lingala (Bant u).

Scientific name: Megasagittarius clamosus, given by Karl Shuker in 1995.

Physical description: St anding height , 7-8 feet . Head and beak like a bird of prey's. Horny

308 maggot plat es or claws on t he wing t ips. Long legs.

Behavior: Capable of sustained, powerful flight. Makes a loud noise when it claps its wings together. Feeds on carrion. Distribution: Tanzania. Significant sighting: In Zanzibar, a Dr. Fischer saw a bird's rib that narrowed from 8 inches at one end to 1 inch at t he ot her. August Fr iedr ich graf von Marschall records that the "Wasequa" people use Makalala skulls as ceremonial helmet s.

Present status: Not seen since the nineteenth century.

Possible explanations:

(1) Surviving phorusrhacid bird similar t o the 6- to 9-foot Titanus walleri, though these lived in North and South America and were flightless. A Titanus t oe bone found in

Texas could be as recent as 15,000 years ag°.

(2) The Secretary bird (Sagittarius serpentarius) inhabits much of Africa south of t he Sahara and has adapt ed so well to a snake-eating life on the ground that it rarely flies. It is one of t he few bir d species t o have claws on its wing tips. Karl Shuker suggests t hat a giant species of secr et ary bir d might account for the Makalala.

Sources: August Fr iedr ich, gr af von Marschall, "Oiseau problematique," Bulletin de la Société Philomatique, 7th ser., 3 (1878): 176; Karl Shuker, In Search ofPrehistoric Survivors (London: Blandford, 1995), pp. 72-73.

resemble t hose of a fossil gomphot her e t han t he Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). Possible explanations:

(1) The sculptures could have been based on fossil elephant skulls.

(2) A tetralophodon, an advanced gomphot here that lived in India and Java in the Pliocene, 5 million years ago, and survived into historical times.

(3) The myth of the Makara may be based in part on the Nile crocodile ( Crocodylus niloticus) and the Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius).

Sources: Ermine C. Case, "The Mastodons of Baraboedaer," Proceedings ofthe American Philosophical Society 81 (1939): 569-572; Makara, 2001, http://www.khandro.net/ myst erious_makaras1.ht m.

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