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A drawing of a bunyip from 1890. Note its fondness for oversized toothpicks.
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Hiding with Schrödinger's cat

A bunyip is a mythical animal from down under that dwells in rivers and swamps and generally either resembles a large dog or has an elongated neck.[1] Individual bunyips seem to have a multitude of other features, including scales, feathers, tails, flippers, and tusks.[2] Despite their Aboriginal roots, no drawings of bunyips exist in Aboriginal art.[1] As nothing more than a freakish skull or two has ever been found, most scientists, and most Australians, doubt the bunyip's existence. Some scientists suggest that the bunyip may be a part of the Aboriginal cultural memory from either discovery of prehistoric bones or contact with the animal itself, as the bunyip shares a resemblance to the extinct DiprotodonWikipedia.[3] Creationists have somehow managed to use the bunyip as possible proof of dinosaurs still being alive... no, seriously.[4]


Throughout the years since the colonization of Australia by Europeans various non-aboriginal people have tried to uncover the origins of the bunyip myth, with one notable case in 1933 being a proposition that the bunyip myth was at least partially inspired in derivation by seals, noting that various seals have been found as far inland as the Overland Corner over the years, specifically noting how the "smooth fur, prominent 'apricot' eyes, and and the bellowing cry are characteristics of the seal," most notably the southern elephant sealWikipedia and the leopard sealWikipedia.[5]

Others hold the bunyip to be a folk memoryWikipedia of the extinct Australian megafauna, such as the aforementioned Diprotodon. It's noteworthy that when confronted with the remains of some of the now extinct Australian marsupials, Aborigines would often identify them as the bunyip.[6]

A far less spectacular but very interesting possibility is that Bunyips are derived from encounters with cassowaries.[7] It is worth noting that most etymologists see a connection with BunjilWikipedia,[8] the divine ancestor of the people of the eagle moiety of the Kulin nation, so an origin as a "dark aspect" of this deity cannot be ruled out.


  1. 1.0 1.1 The Story of the Bunyip - National Library of Australia
  2. Bunyips - Cryptozoology.com
  3. Bunyips - Skepdic's Dictionary
  4. Bunyips and dinosaurs - Answers in Genesis
  6. See the Wikipedia article on Bunyip.
  7. Brandt, Karl (June 2017). "Bunyip Hunters". Australian Birdlife. 6 (2): 10.
  8. Davey, Gwenda; Seal, Graham, eds. (1993). The Oxford Companion to Australian Folklore. Oxford University Press. pp. 55–56. ISBN 0-19-553057-8.