Courtesy of: http://www.newanimal.org
The mapinguary (also spelled “mapinguari”) is a hairy biped reported from the Amazon Rainforest of South America. It is firmly embedded in local folklore, and some legends show characteristics that would tend to classify this beast as supernatural, scaring away researchers who work in the field of cryptozoology. The mapinguary sometimes speaks, likes to punish hunters who violate religious holidays, and is often bulletproof. Certain lore seems to link it with the South American werewolf. The more werewolf-like version of the mapinguary is called the “wolf’s cape” and is thought to have originally been human.
Other sightings describe what sounds more like a real animal. The mapinguary looks something like Bigfoot, being a bipedal hairy giant, but it is less human-looking than Bigfoot. In fact, it resembles a giant sloth, an animal that was alive during the last Ice Age. Even its footprints resemble those of the giant sloth. Therefore, cryptozoologists who are investigating this creature usually think that if it exists, it is really a giant sloth. All the weird characteristics are regarded as being added on by superstition.
Ornithologist David C. Oren is the researcher who is most strongly associated with the theory that mapinguary legends represent sightings of living giant sloths who survived the Ice Age extinctions, but there are many other scientists and adventurers who have looked into the problem. Charles Fort was perhaps the first to suggest the survival of giant ground sloths in South America, in reference to legends about the “blonde beast” of Patagonia.