Fores specimen

Photograph of the specimen taken by Forés.

Other names: Ecuadorean mystery beast, Macas mammal, Forés specimen
Country reported: Ecuador

The Macas specimen is an unidentified taxidermied animal found in Ecuador by Spanish cryptozoologist Angel Morant Forés.[1][2]

Forés discovered the specimen in Macas in a small shop of animal souvenirs. To his regret he only photographed it and did not buy it, as he was uncertain as to whether he would be able to take it back to Spain with him. Upon his return to Spain he sent the photographs to five mammalogists, one of whom believed it was a manipulated yapok or water opossum, whilst the other four believed it could be a new species. Forés described the specimen thus:[1]

"The Macas specimen is 35 or 40 cm long, has a proboscis on its snout and webbed feet. It cannot be Chironectes minimus, because both males and females have a marsupial ventral pouch, whereas the Macas specimen has no pouch whatsoever. Moreover, the Macas specimen has a feature which rules out all known marsupials from South America : its fore feet are webbed, whereas in the yapock only the hind feet possess an interdigital web. The Macas specimen cannot be a rodent either, because rodents have no proboscis. Could it be an insectivore ? Well, the only thing I can say is that none of the known South-American insectivores is aquatic : all of them belong to the genus Cryptotis and are arboreal or terrestrial. I also investigated the origin of the stuffed specimen and learned from a Shuar that the mystery animal is common in local rivers."

Forés attempted several times to purchase the animal through a contact in Macas, but the shop's owner refused to sell.[1] He later told Karl Shuker that the specimen had been examined by Ecuadorian biologist Didier Sanchez, who determined that it was a yapok which had been manipulated by a taxidermist. Forés stressed that the verdict was not final, and Sanchez apparently succeeded in purchasing the specimen and taking it to Quito for further study in 1999.[2]

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