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Oxypterus mongitori, also known as Mongitore's Monstrous Fish or Mongitore's Whale, was a large marine animal that washed up in Licata, Sicily in 1741. It was drawn by Mongitore alongside a Sperm Whale and a False Killer Whale, and later given a scientific name by Constantin Samuel Rafinesque-Schmalz in 1814[1]. It was described as 45 feet long and 23 feet in circumference. It had two dorsal fins, a blowhole, powerful teeth, and a 10 foot tail. While the animal’s description is vague, Oxypterus mongitori has been used as evidence in favor of the existence of cetaceans with two dorsal fins.

Its name, Oxpterus, was referenced in relation to a description of the Rhinoceros Dolphin in 1838[2]. It was referenced later by Giglioli in his 1884 book Pelagos, in which he describes Amphiptera pacifica, a baleen whale he witnessed with two dorsal fins[3].

In 2023, cetologist Tom Jefferson designated Oxypterus mongitori a nomen dubium.


Not much is known about this strange creature but scientists have raised speculations about what it could be. Some have suggested a misplaced Magenta Whale, another cetacean cryptid with two dorsal fins. Others have suggested a juvenile Basilosaurus , a prehistoric toothed whale that grew up to 80 feet long. Some have even said it could be a Basking Shark , though these are sharks with miniature teeth and is a filter feeder. Basking Sharks also do not have double dorsal fins, though they are found in the Mediterranean Sea (where Sicily is) and they do almost get to these lengths, it is unlikely that a basking shark is the culprit. So what was this creature? It would probably be a Basilosaurus. Basilosaurs were probably migratory cetaceans, their fossils have been found near Egypt which is fairly close to the Mediterranean Sea. If a living population of Basilosaurs is true, this theory could be the answer. These Basilosaurs could have migrated to the Mediterranean Sea and a juvenile could have strayed off to close to the shore. And though this is only a theory this could solve the mystery of this denizen of the deep.

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  1. Raynal, Michel (1991) “Cetaceans with two dorsal fins” pp. 1-2. Aquatic Animals, issue 17.1.
  2. Compléments de Buffon (1838) p. 620.
  3. Giglioli, Enrico Hillyer (1884) "Pelagos, saggi sulla vita e sui prodotti del mare" p. 264.