Mystery of Craggs "carcass" revealed

18:14 (GMT+2) Wed, 10 Jul 2013

John Harvey

A mysterious "alien-like" creature found outside Nature's Valley this week has been revealed as a newborn infant baboon.

The discovery of the animal's carcass, by 17-year-old Curt-Leigh Dixon, son of local SANParks ranger Llewelly Dixon, was made at Covie between Nature's Valley and the Tsitsikamma toll plaza on Monday.

Images of the creature - which has a thin, exaggerated torso and long limbs - have baffled those who have seen it, some believing it to be a dead dog and others even suggesting it is from another planet.

But Dr Magdalena Braum, of The Crags Vet Clinic who performed the autopsy, has now confirmed that it is in fact a newborn female baboon.

"It was most likely killed by the bite through her scull soon after birth, possibly infanticide which is very common in some primate species when a new male takes over the troop," she said.

"The body is misshapen and mummified because it had been carried by the mother after death. We have seen it quite often in baboon research troops, when females carry the deceased infants sometimes for as long as three to four weeks on their tail section before finally discarding them.

"That explains unusually long and narrow mid-body segment."
Llewelly Dixon said despite the findings of the autopsy, people he ran into still did not believe the carcass was that of a baboon.

"The teeth don't seem like a baboon's teeth, and while the head was slack the legs were still very rigid. People I have told still don't believe it is a baboon."