Snouters (also known as Rhinogrades or, more formally, Rhinogradentia) are a class of animals once found on the Hi-yi-yi Islands in the Pacific. These animals had evolved to use their noses for virtually every imaginable function. For instance, the Sniffling Snouter caught fish with the long delicate threads that emerged from its nostrils. The perfumed Honeytail Snouter stood rigidly upright on its thick nose and caught insects with its sticky tail. The Suctorial Snout Leaper used its long, flat nose to spring itself backwards great distances.
Snouters were first discovered in 1941 by a Swedish naturalist who, while fleeing from the Japanese, became shipwrecked on the Hi-yi-yi Islands. But they received their fullest scientific description in a monograph, Bau und Leben der Rhinogradentia
, published in 1957 by the German naturalist Harald Stümpke.
Unfortunately, soon after Dr. Stümpke described the Snouters, the entire Hi-yi-yi island chain sank into the ocean as a result of an earthquake triggered by atomic-bomb testing. When the islands sank, they took with them all trace of the Snouters, except for the sketches which Dr. Stümpke had commissioned an artist to make of them. (Note: recently some amazing color photographs
of the Snouters have surfaced.) Dr. Stümpke, who had returned to the islands to conduct further research, sank with the Snouters.
Due to the complete extinction of the Snouters, and the eradication of their only habitat, rumors have arisen to the effect that both Dr. Stümpke and the Snouters never existed. They are alleged to have been the whimsical creation of Gerolf Steiner, a zoology professor at the University of Heidelberg, perhaps inspired by Christian Morgenstern's 1905 poem "Das Nasobem" (about an animal that walked on four snouts). It is not known if there is any substance to this rumor.
Reference: Dr. Harald Stümpke. The Snouters: Form and Life of the Rhinogrades. Translated by Leigh Chadwick. The Natural History Press (1967).