What are we to make of the mysterious Clark from Dr. Seuss' 1960 classic "One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish?"
For now, we'll ignore why such a large, aquatic mammal might be found at the local park enclosed in a giant jar. We'll avoid the obvious comparisons to the Guild navigators of "Dune."
The Science of Clark
- Upturned tusks like those of a warthog instead of a walrus' downward tusks
- Furrier skin
- Hands instead of flippers
- A double elongated tail
While our modern walrus is the only surviving member of the Odobenidae family, the fossil record reveals a number of diverse cousins -- and there's even more diversity when you draw in the Desmostyla order of "seahorses" and the Sirenia order of sea cows.
Clark the Bunyip?
No known, natural-world organism (living or extinct) matches Clark exactly, but it is worth noting that a long-tailed, tusked creature DOES reside in the world of Aboriginal mythology and cryptozoology: the dreaded bunyip.
The bunyip interpretation is particularly terrifying, especially since the children of "Red Fish Blue Fish" imply that Clark is but a juvenile destined to "grow and grow." According to folk historian Carol Rose in "Giants, Monsters and Dragons," the mother of an abducted bunyip will unleash a terrible howl that causes the waters to rise and pour into the kidnappers' dwelling to retrieve her young. Any human touched by this magical flood will instantly transform into a black swan.
Monster of the Week is a - you guessed it - regular look at the denizens is of our monster-haunted world. Sometimes we'll focus on the cultural aspects, but mostly we'll look at the possible science behind a creature of myth, movie or legend.