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M V Portman

Photo of British explorer M.V. Portman, who claimed to have been shown Kara-duku bones.

The Kara-duku, or Kara Lizard (duku is Great Andamanese for lizard) is a giant large-toothed creature reported by the Great Andamanese to inhabit the Andaman archipelago. The Great Andamanese believed the creature was the spawn of monitor lizards, and claimed they frequently encountered them [1]. British explorers tried to identify this creature, but were unable to identify it [1].

Description[]

The Kara-duku was described as a giant lizard-like creature. It had giant jaws with large teeth for which it used to eat its pray [1].

Accounts from Early Explorers[]

The only authority for the existence... is the statement of Mr Portman, who says that the natives killed one in the Middle Andaman and brought the bones to him. Although I was in many of the creeks of the Andamans at different times I... and none of the other officers of the Settlement, who have repeatedly explored a large part of the islands, ever seems to have seen one.

British explorers were told of the creature; they initially translated thought it was a crocodile after the explorer Portman allegedly claims to have been shown some bones of the Kara-duku that were he thought were crocodile-like in the Middle Andaman [1]. His British explorer contemporaries; however, refuted such a claim as no one (except for Portman), was able to identify anything crocodile-like in the vicinity of where Portman was shown the bones [1]. The widely-held belief for what the majority of the explorers thought at the time was that the Kara-duku was in fact a term for sperm whales, although this notion was questioned because the Great Andamanese word for sperm whale was already well-known as Biriga-ta. Many of the British explores assumed that the Kara-duku must of been an alternate name for Biriga-ta (sperm whales), though it was unclear to the explorers what Kara-duku exactly was [1]. Also, sperm whales don't match the lizard description of the Great Andamanese and Portman.

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 A.R.,Radcliffe-Brown. Myths and Legends of the Andamans. The University press, 1922. Pg 194-197 isbn=1296034577
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