Monster Mondays: The Monster of Troy

.flickr-photo { border: solid 2px #000000; }.flickr-yourcomment { }.flickr-frame { text-align: left; padding: 3px; }.flickr-caption { font-size: 0.8em; margin-top: 0px; }

monster of troy, originally uploaded by Boju.

First off, I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to the Montauk Monster identification last week. High resolution photos were finally released, clearly showing raccoon paws. Congratulations if you correctly IDed the beast as a raccoon.

The response was incredible, and several new and plausible theories were brought forward, so this week, the Dapper Cadaver Blog would like to invite you to help unravel one of the most ancient monster mysteries in history – The Monster of Troy. Depicted on a Greek vase circa 560-540 BC, a huge, ghastly skull is seen emerging from a cliff as the heroes shot it with arrows. Its unusual in that most monsters of the Greeks are shown alive, enacting myths. This may be an actual record of a monster skull, a fossil skull, be unearthed, and I believe in good enough detail to positively ID the beast.

Important to note is that the Monster of Troy is sometimes described as a land monster, and sometimes as a sea monster, so we can’t rule either out. It’s known that the Greeks unearthed many ice age mammal skeletons, but the open boney ring around the eye, called scleral ossicles are only found in birds, dinosaurs, and reptiles, and the open sinus in front of the eye suggests a dinosaur or bird.

Paleontologists have suggested some of the following possibilities
Prehistoric Giraffes

Giraffes do have forward facing teeth and thick jaw bones. However, they don’t have open sinuses or scleral ossicles, and they do have horns, which a monster artist would have included.

A Giant Ostrich

Aside from the scleral ossicles, which are so delicate they’re rarely preserved, I don’t see how anyone could mistake an ostrich for the monster of Troy.

A Prehistoric Whale

This is a pretty good sea monster. It’s huge, has forward facing teeth, and an open sinus. However, no scleral ossicles because no mammal has the bony eye ring.

That’s all I could find on expert opinions. Here are some beasts I dug up as candidates. Remember, the bony ring around the eyes, the scleral ossicles, are rarely preserved, but are believed to be present in all dinosaurs.

Diplodocus (dinosaur)

Carnivorous Dinosaur

Plesiosaur (marine reptile)

Mososaur (marine reptile)

Hippo Skull (mammal)

Entelodont skull (mammal)

Although difficult to see in the fossils, scientists have found evidence that both Elasmosaurus and Plateosaurus had scleral ossicals (also known as sclerotic plates) Here’s a Plateosaurus with forward facing teeth, a massive jaw, and sclerotic plates in the eye sockets


The black mass behind the skull was once thought to be the ocean, and is now thought to be a cliff or cave. The curious thing about the skull is that it is a skull, and not a mythological beast. The greeks found many ice age mammal bones, but they tended to interpret them as gods and monsters, and illustrate them as alive. A famous example being elephant skulls and cyclopses

A Giant Wolf Eel SKull?