Buru

The Buru was an aquatic reptile said to have lived in Jiro (also spelled and pronounced as Ziro) valley, a small town in the state of Arunachal Pradesh, India, at some undefined time in the past. In 1947, Professor Christopher von Furer-Haimendorf was the first westerner to be told about the Buru. By that time, the animals had reportedly already become extinct in the valley.

According to the Apatani elders, when their forefathers migrated to Jiro valley, the valley was primarily a marsh which was populated by Burus. The Apatani people decided to settle in the valley because of its fertility and good climate. But every now and then they would have confrontations with burus. So they decided to drain the marsh of its water and thus eliminate the Burus. Most of the Burus died because of the drainage, and many supposedly went underground into the 'soo' (springs).

The last Buru was said to be reported by a young woman, who sighted it in a spring one night while she was drawing water. The startled lady told her father about the incident. The next day the whole village helped fill the spring with stones and clay.

Identity
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Traditionally, there has been speculation that the Buru was an unidentified member of the Order Crocodilia. Tellingly, crocodiles or alligators are also called "Buru" by the Apatanis. It should be noted that there is large population of crocodiles which live in caves in North Africa, quite far from open water, so an underground existence is not improbable for persecuted Indian crocodiles.

The mere fact that crocodilians are called 'buru' may not however be very significant, since the buru is described with monitor-like characteristics such as an elongated neck and a forked tongue. The native name of the Komodo dragon is "Land Crocodile". Both Bernard Heuvelmans and Roy Mackal regard the Buru to be a large Komodo dragon-like monitor lizard, and there are fossils of such a creature to be found in the Indian subcontinent. Heuvelmans notes similar reported creatures from Western India, where they seem to merge into the Iranian traditional dragon or ahi (Azi Dahaka), which in Iranian art is basically a local stylistic adaptation of the Chinese dragon. George Eberhart notes rumors of a similar creature in the Tigris marshes of Iraq, called the afa, possibly the same thing as ahi. Heuvelmans also notes in his checklist of unknown animals that similar reports to the buru also come from Burma, and they might also relate to a reported lizardlike Meikong River monster. More importantly, Charles Gould in Appendix VII to Mythical Monsters describes what is supposedly a Chinese dragon going under the name of Kiao-lung, which corresponds in some ways to the description of the buru.

However, British cryptozoologist Dr Karl Shuker has provided a convincing case for discounting a reptilian solution for the Buru in favour of a piscean identity, namely, a giant lungfish, noting that this provides a far more comprehensive, comparable match not only in terms of morphology but also with regard to behaviour. In particular, this explains the Buru's alleged ability to survive hidden at the bottom of lakes during the dry season - a famed ability of lungfishes but inexplicable by way of any reptilian identity.

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