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Our favorite sea monsters – Ningen (#4)

Sitting squarely in the middle of our favorite sea monsters is a new entrant in the world of cryptic sea monsters, the Ningen. The Ningen is a recent sea monster reported by Japanese fishermen working in the Antarctic. Allegedly, Ningens are up to 30 meters long, have a human like body, and a tail. Reports of what they look like seem to vary quite a bit, but the one consistent bit is that they have a human face and other human features.

an artists interpretation of the Ningen

Despite their impressive size, there are very few actual reports of Ningen, and none that I can find before 2007. Of course, most of the websites are in Japanese, so if any of our Japanese readers have more insight into the Ningen, I’d love to hear it. This creature may be a modern variation of the mermaid myth, or perhaps people are mistaking the undersides of large rays for a human face.

More likely is that the Ningen is a case of pareidolia, the perception of recognizable shapes in a random pattern. Of the thousands of large icebergs floating around the Southern Ocean, a few of them are probably vaguely human shaped.

The novelty and the sheer number of interpretations of the Ningen has earned this beastie a place among our favorite Sea Monsters.

~Southern Fried Scientist

Marine science and conservation. Deep-sea ecology. Population genetics. Underwater robots. Open-source instrumentation. The deep sea is Earth's last great wilderness.

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