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A creature of 'Terra Incognita'; in other words, a creature of which existence was told by the explorers of the new worlds (such as Marco Polo), and widely believed to be real.
The roc is a gigantic bird with "wingspan of 16 yards and the feathers 8 yards". It is usually described being white. The egg of the bird was 50 yards in circumference, and in (One Thousand and One) Arabian Nights
Sinbad first mistakes it as a huge domed building. The roc is capable of blocking off the sun with its body, carrying off something as large as an elephant and attacking ships by dropping huge boulders on them.
Marco Polo told that the roc lived in Madagascar, and he supposedly even had a feather of the monster. In fact, in Madacasgar lived the largest bird that has ever lived, the elephant bird
aka vouron patra ( http://users.aristotle.net/~swarmack/patra.html
), which might have inspired the stories. This bird though was like emus and couldn't fly, and it wasn't quite the size of the roc. Also a sighting of an ostrich might have affected the myth, as the bird's strange appearance and flightlesness may have sparked the idea that it was a chick of a much larger species of bird.
The ship-attacks could also have a base in reality: meteorite showers.
Travels of Marco Polo
(One Thousand and One) Arabian Nights
Other giant birds
Phoenix (originated in Assyria)
Simurgh/senmurv (of Persian origin)
Garuda (divine hindu origin)
Thunderbird (Native American origin)
Ziz (Jewish origin)
Other monsters of 'Terra Incognita'
Back to the creature_list
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