Saytoechin

Illustration of the "Yukontherium," a very similar cryptid reported from Alaska and the Yukon.

Category Unknown
Proposed scientific names
Other names Beaver eater, satoychin, saytochin, Yukon beaver eater, Yukontherium
Country reported Yukon, Canada
First reported 1993
Prominent investigators Sebastian Wang
Ben S. Roesch

The saytoechin (Unknown, possibly Northern Tutchone:[note 1] "beaver eater"[1]) is a cryptid reported from the boreal forests of the Yukon in Canada, described as a large, dangerous animal which has been likened to a giant ground sloth.[1]

Description

The saytoechin was identified by multiple interviewees with an image of a giant ground sloth, and is said to be a very large animal, larger than the biggest grizzly bears. It allegedly feeds on beavers (Castor canadensis) by flipping open their lodges.[1] According to Dawn Charlie, saytoechins are alleged to be numerous in the mountains east of Frenchman Lake,[1] identified as the Big Salmon Range[2] or the Glenyon Range, in the Pelly Mountains.

Sightings

~1980s

A woman named Dawn Charlie was interviewed for the newsletter of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, and described two encounters with the saytoechin. The first occured the most recently:[1]

The latest report was from Violet Johny, my husband’s sister, who was fishing with her husband and her mother at the head of Tatchun Lake 4 or 5 years ago. An animal came out of the woods, 8 or 9 feet high, bigger than a grizzly bear. It was a "saytoechin" and it was coming towards them. They panicked, fired a few shots over its head and finally managed to get the motor going and took off. There are other reports. There is also a report that a white man shot one in a small lake in that area.

Theories

Illustration of a northernly ground sloth, Megalonyx, in a snowy environment, by Carl Buell.

Canadian cryptozoologist Sebastian Wang discussed the possibilities for the saytoechin's identity in the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club newsletter for Autumn 2006. Local Tutchone interviewees selected an image of a ground sloth as the saytoechin. The only ground sloth known to have lived in the Yukon is the Pleistocene Megalonyx jeffersoni, a boreal forest browser which ranged as far north as the Old Crow Basin during the Eemian interglacial (130—115 KYA) of the Late Pleistocene, when temperatures were slightly higher than at present.[3] However, there is little other evidence linking the two animals.[4] Karl Shuker pointed out that ground sloths are usually believed to have been herbivorous, and that the theory posited by Richard Fariña and Ernesto Blanco that Megatherium hunted glyptodonts, using its claws to dispatch them, was not well-received by the palaeontological community,[1][5] although isotopic analysis of a Virginia Megalonyx specimen suggested that it may have consumed a small amount of meat.[6] To resolve the diet issue, Ben S. Roesch suggests that, if the saytoechin is a giant ground sloth, it may tear apart beaver lodges to eat the branches, bark, and other vegetation of which the lodge is composed, not to eat the beavers themselves. Roesch notes that anyone catching a glimpse of such a scene would immediately assume the animal was trying to attack the beavers.[7]

Other suggestions included an oversized brown bear (Ursus arctos), bigfoot, a surviving short-faced bear (Arctodus simus), or a surviving giant beaver (Castoroides ohioensis), both of which are also reported from elsewhere in North America as cryptids in their own right. Shuker expressed doubt over the possibility of a giant beaver preying on smaller beavers.[1] "Beaver eater" is also an old term once used by some American Indians to refer to the wolverine (Gulo gulo). Gerald McIsaac claims that a giant bear, the rubber-faced or beaver-eating bear, which he believes to be a surviving short-faced bear, also exists in British Columbia, where it tears open beaver lodges to eat the occupants.[8]

Further cryptozoological reading

Notes and references

  1. the Northern Tutchone word for "beaver" is "tsé"
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Shuker, Karl P. N. (2016) Still In Search Of Prehistoric Survivors: The Creatures That Time Forgot?, Coachwhip Publications, ISBN 978-1616463908
  2. Morgan, Thomas Saytoechin | Thomas Morgan superbugtom.com [Accessed 8 October 2020]
  3. McDonald, Greg et. al "The Ground Sloth Megalonyx from Pleistocene Deposits of the Old Crow Basin, Yukon, Canada," Arctic Vol. 53, No. 3 (September 2000), pp. 213-220
  4. Wang, Sebastian H. F. "Revisiting the Mystery of the 'Beaver Eater'—The Possible Survival of North American Ground Sloth in Yukon," British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club Newsletter, No. 60 (Winter 2006)
  5. Shuker, Karl ShukerNature: THE YUKON BEAVER EATER, AND GROUND SLOTHS IN NEW ZEALAND? karlshuker.blogspot.com [Accessed 2 June 2019]
  6. Extinct Ground Sloth Fact Sheet library.sandiegozoo.org (April 2009) [Accessed 10 June 2020]
  7. Roesch, Ben S. "Ground Sloth Survival in North America", Animals & Men 11 (1996)
  8. McIsaac, Gerald (2020) Bird From Hell, BookTrail Publishing, ISBN 978-1951505813
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