Earlier this week we posted a graphic photo of a bloated animal near the East River, and assumed it was just one of the many giant mutant rats in the Giant Mutant Urban Rat Army that is planning a takeover of human New Yorkers. But don't ya know it turns out there may not actually be a Giant Mutant Urban Rat Army taking over the city? At least, no one has sent out the activation call yet, which happens when you look into a dirty sidewalk puddle at the strike of noon and say R.O.U.S. three times aloud without blinking (if you did that, please send us an email at email@example.com). So, what is this thing? There has been much debate about it for some reason.
While Animal says the Parks Department told them, “It was a pig left over from a cookout," Vickie Karp at the Parks Department told us this morning, "We did not say this," adding, "We said it was a cooked pig and we disposed of it." Parks, however, did not have an animal expert on location to make that call, so we turned to Cornell University's naturalist professor Paul Curtis.
After looking at all of the above photos, Curtis told us this morning, "The best guess looking at body conformation and dentition, is this was likely a small dog that drowned and has been floating in the river for quite a while. It is obviously bloated, and all the hair has slipped off the carcass. The Montauk monster that washed up on LI... that was determined to be a bloated raccoon carcass. The teeth in this case look more dog-like than raccoon-like to me. It’s tough to confirm the species from the photos without the jaw in hand to examine the teeth in detail."
UPDATE:Gawker has now asked Animal Planet's Jeremy Wade to help identify the creature, and he also confirms it's not a pig.