Muhuru

Unknown Lizard of East Africa.

Etymology: Unknown. Muhuru is the name of a bay in Lake Victoria as well as a dialect of Suba (Bantu), spoken by about 15,000 people in Kenya.

Physical description: Length, 9-12 feet. Dark gray. Sail-like structure on its back.

Distribution: Eastern Rift Valley, Kenya.

Significant sighting: Cal Bombay and his wife were driving through the Rift Valley in 1963 when their path was blocked by a gray, sail-backed reptile lying across the road.

Possible explanation: A surviving pelycosaur reptile, such as Edaphosaurus or Dimetrodon, which died out in the Late Permian, 275 million years ago. They both had tall neural spines between the neck and pelvis that supported a sail-like membrane; the membrane presumably provided a surface for body-temperature control and may also have been useful in defense or sexual display behavior.

Source: Karl Shuker, "From Dodos to Dimetrodons," Strange Magazine, no. 19 (Spring 1998): 22-23.

MUHURU 357

Mystery MUHURU lizard seen by Cal Bombay in Kenya in 1963. (William M. Rebsamen)

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