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The Victorian naturalist James Hector collected accounts of walrus-like pinnipeds off New Zealand, and believed that such an animal existed among the Antarctic ice floes. Thor Heyerdahl also believed that a Maori myth of a tusked merman referred to as walrus. There are historical records of tusked marine mammals off South Africa. There are also possible references from Tierra del Fuego, including an odd Dutch depiction from the Age of Exploration. I'll fill all this in later. Hugh de Bonelli also saw a sort of giant tusked seal off Isla San Lorenzo in Peru in 1852(?). One of the South African accounts is from François Leguat's Voyage et Avantures (1707). This was a controversial work, but now seems pretty much accepted. Leguat mentions seeing a very large red "sea cow" off the Cape of Good Hope which had long teeth or tusks. Unfortunately, the other account is from the Voyage (1736) of Inigo de Biervillas (Saunier de Beaumont), which I now discover is supposed to be "fictionalised," although it's cited by Buffon. Whether or not it's true, it mentions a "sea lion" killed at the Cape which measured 10 ft in length and had two tusks of about 0.6 ft. Here is what little James Hector had to say about walruses in New Zealand.

The evidence of the actual existence of a southern walrus is at present founded only on hearsay report, but it is very probably that when the great Antarctic islands and ice-floes, as yet unvisited, are explored, not only this but other novel forms will be found.

Hector, James "Notes on the Southern Seals," Transactions of the Royal Society of New Zealand, Vol. 25 (1893)

There have indeed been more recent sightings of giant seals in the Antarctic ice floes and off southern New Zealand (Soya and Kompira Maru), although neither had tusks.

Austin Whittall covers the Dutch picture from Tierra del Fuego on his blog here. /u/HourDark has suggested that the Dutch could have discovered a Smilodon skull and tried to restore it artistically. Finally, here is how Hugh de Bonelli described the tusked animal he saw off Isla San Lorenzo. He and others thought it could be an elephant seal, although they don't have such big, projecting tusks. Incidentally, the Mio-Pliocene tusked whale Odobenocetops, discovered in this general area a century later, had a different head shape, and wouldn't have been furry.

Its appearance, from the great elevation at which I beheld it, was extremely singular. Its body seemed to be of a prodigious length, and covered with a short, glossy coat. With the exception of two great white tusks, projecting from the mouth on either side, the form of its head resembled that of a seal. This monster swam about with great rapidity, at times showing the greater portion of his body above the water, and at other times disappearing from view altogether.

Bonelli, Hugh de (1854) Travels in Bolivia: With a Tour Across the Pampas to Buenos Ayres, Vol. I

Explanation[]

The southern walrus could be a new species of walrus that could migrate and evolve in the Miocene-Pliocene epochs in restricted areas of the southern hemisphere.

Sources[]

https://www.amazon.com/Search-Real-Monsters-Adventures-Cryptozoology/dp/1642507504

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