Tetrapod Zoology

What to make of the Yowie?

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Like many people interested in cryptozoology (the study of animals – or alleged animals – known only from anectodal evidence), I’m of the opinion that the Australian Yowie is one of the most problematic of mystery beasts. It is, in fact, so ridiculous and inconvenient that it’s difficult to take seriously. As if sasquatch, yeti and orang pendek aren’t difficult enough*, what are we to make of antipodean reports of a hairy, bipedal, ape-like creature? Back in 2006 (oh my god, four years ago already), Tony Healy and Paul Cropper collated everything known about the Yowie for their book The Yowie: In Search of Australia’s Bigfoot (Strange Nation, Sydney, 2006).

The Yowie may, or may not, have anything to do with North America’s Bigfoot but, as the authors admit (p. 161), they had to use the word ‘bigfoot’ in the title ‘in order to make the subject of the book more easily recognisable to non-Australian readers’.

* I don’t reject the possible existence of these creatures out of hand.

While it’s all very well saying that any and all reports of an ape-like creature in the Australian bush are nonsense and that the phenomenon can hence be rejected without question, the problem is that at least some Yowie accounts really do sound extremely intriguing at the very least. Maybe all the reports represent misidentifications, hoaxes and the manifestations of cultural stereotypes or something, but even if this is so, there’s still an interesting phenomenon here that’s worthy of investigation. Those of us predominantly interested in zoology sometimes forget that cryptozoological reports might tell us more about folklore, psychology, witness perception and/or cultural transmission than anything else (see Meurger 1995, Meurger & Gagnon 1988). As a result I still think that investigation of subjects like the Yowie is worthwhile, and within the remit of science. Please remember this as you read the following: I’m nowhere near happy with the idea that the Yowie might be real, but – whatever the phenomenon represents – it’s interesting.

The three ages of Yowie

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Anyway… I really enjoyed reading Healy and Cropper’s book, even though some of the material was, necessarily, repeated from their 1994 book Out of the Shadows: Mystery Animals of Australia (Healy & Cropper 1994). They discuss everything that’s known about the Yowie, include virtually all relevant illustrations, and include a catalogue of the 300+ Yowie accounts of which they’re aware. An early chapter reviews Aboriginal references to the giant, hairy, man-like creatures known variously as Dulugar, Yahoo, Devil-Devil, or Jimbra. I was interested to discover that a Yowie was reportedly seen by the three girls who star in the book and movie Rabbit Proof Fence during their 1931 escape from the Moore River Native Settlement [adjacent illustration of a 'wood devil' attack represents an event that supposedly happened near the Einasleigh River, Queensland, during the 1880s].

Colonial awareness of hairy, bipedal, primate-like creatures in the Australian bush goes back to the 1820s at least, and various ‘Australian gorilla’ accounts were reported during the late 1800s and early 1900s. We’ll call this the ‘historical phase’. For the most part, these early accounts sound much like modern ones (Healy & Cropper 2006).

Yowie reports went quiet for much of the 20th century (we’ll call this the ‘quiet phase’), though we do know that people in rural areas were still aware of the creature, and apparently encountering it (as demonstrated by recently discovered and long-overlooked accounts from the 1910s, 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s). Healy & Cropper (2006) suggest that there might be a few reasons for this ‘quiet phase’. The Australian population became highly urbanised during this time, naturalists became less active, rural news became ignored or was deemed irrelevant by city-based newspapers, and Aborigines went through one of their most difficult periods ever and lost much of their cultural heritage.

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During the 1970s, the Yowie became better known to white Australians. This was almost entirely due to the newspaper and magazine articles written by Rex Gilroy. As the authors state, Gilroy is a problematic character (search Tet Zoo for previous comments), and his contributions haven’t exactly made mystery animal research in Australia all that reputable. Nevertheless, it would be wrong not to credit his contribution, and he’s essentially responsible for getting the ‘modern phase’ up and running. Other Yowie researchers emerged soon after, and in the following decades, including Graham Joyner, Malcolm Smith, Healy and Cropper themselves, Dean Harrison, Gary Opit and Tim the Yowie Man (yes, really). You may have heard that Tim successfully fought against Cadbury’s (the confectionary company) after they tried to get him to stop using his unique moniker (at the time, Cadbury’s were marketing chocolate products called yowies: they’re hollow chocolate figures containing toy animals. I collected these toys, but was only able to do so up to series 2, as shops stopped selling them after that!) [adjacent sketch produced by Katrina Tucker following a sighting made in Acacia Hill, NT, in August 1997].

Healy and Cropper’s discussion of ‘modern phase’ eyewitness reports makes entertaining and fascinating reading. Among the most interesting accounts (for me) were Neil and Sandy Frost’s from the Blue Mountains just west of Sydney. The Frost’s accounts involve a prolonged history of sightings (many made at close range), the discovery of tracks and other field signs (namely, ‘bites’ taken out of tree bark), perceived interactions (viz, where something banged on the side of the house), and even attempts to capture the animals on film (they only succeeded in getting two photos of a humanoid face, obscured by darkness, peering in the camera’s direction). It’s fairly typical for writers to regard anecdotes as particularly impressive when the witnesses are of the ‘reliable’ sort (that is, they come from a trained background of some kind, and are somehow more trustworthy than ‘average’ witnesses). It’s been argued that such perceived reliability doesn’t count for much, and that hoaxing and misinterpretation can come from a ‘reliable’ witness as much as a ‘less reliable’ one. I know all of this, but I can’t help but be impressed by the Frost’s sincerity and credentials. In similar vein, Percy Window’s daylight encounter of 1978 seems impressive. Window was a ranger for the Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service, and claimed to have a prolonged, face-to-face sighting of a black, gorilla-like Yowie at a range of about 4 m.

Many other fascinating encounters are discussed in the book. Yowies have been reported by some witnesses to be unbelievably aggressive, and to pursue people with what was interpreted as predatory intent. Yowies have sometimes been reported to peer into windows, hang around the outsides of houses, and to approach cars on remote roads – all motifs that sound familiar if you’ve read the sasquatch literature. In further parallels with sasquatch, extremely bad, lingering smells have also been associated with Yowie sightings, and Yowies also seem to be good swimmers and waders.

Hoaxing has definitely played a role in the Yowie phenomenon: in fact, the earliest account on record (a 1790 handbill depicting a ‘Monstrous Giant’) was a hoax, and additional definite hoaxes have been exposed or revealed over the years. However, while I feel gullible saying it, the sincerity of many of the eyewitnesses, and the quality of their accounts, makes me think that many people have indeed experienced something.

Field evidence

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Healy and Cropper are totally open about the fact that the ‘evidence’ for the Yowie is poor to non-existent. Obviously there are no bones, but there are also no recorded vocalisations (though people do claim to have heard loud, primate-like calls in Australia), nor are there any photos or pieces of film that are even half-decent (there are photos and pieces of film – I saw Tim the Yowie Man’s film at a meeting last year – but they’re ambiguous and of poor quality). Tracks are rare, and those that are on record don’t add much credence to the dossier (read on). One of the problems I’ve always had with the Yowie is the impression that eyewitness accounts are often vague, at best being fleeting descriptions of Chewbacca-like bipeds (some accounts describe the creatures as gorilla-like or bigfoot-like, but Chewbacca has – I kid you not – been used as a frame of reference on a few occasions) [Melba Cullen's illustration shown here; the sighting was claimed made in 1930, but this drawing was produced in 2001]. This contrasts greatly with descriptions of such mystery primates as sasquatch and the orang pendek which are sometimes highly detailed and include realistic-sounding observations on such things as facial morphology. However, my impressions aren’t entirely accurate. A number of observations – made by people who claimed to encounter Yowies at very close range (less than 4 m) – do include detailed information on such things as foot structure and the look of the head. The descriptions that are provided are weird [look at the foot drawings below, by Richard Easton. Easton got particularly good views of the feet, as he was lying on his belly at the time of the encounter].

Alleged Yowie field sign has been reported, but is very rare. Droppings have been attributed to the Yowie by some observers. Paul Compton reported the discovery of a 45 cm-long scat (20 cm in circumference) that apparently couldn’t be attributed to a human or other known animal (Healy & Cropper 2006, p. 152). Alleged ‘nests’ have also been reported: one is of particular interest because it was discovered by Major Les Hiddens (you may know him better as the ‘Bush Tucker Man’ of TV fame) while he was leading a team of scientists to a remote region near Queensland’s Russell River. The structure – a rectangular mat about a metre long and metre wide – was apparently made from plant fronds that had been chewed off from the source plant; reportedly, archaeologist John Campbell stated that ‘If I were anywhere but here in Australia, I would have to say this was a primate nest’ (Healy & Cropper 2006, p. 154) [ok, I'm not sure that an archaeologist can necessarily express a useful opinion on what might be zoological field evidence, but still].

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As just mentioned, alleged Yowie tracks are rare: perhaps this could be explained away by Australian terrain and sedimentology. However, those tracks that have been reported are annoyingly variable. Some are five-toed and don’t look all that different from typical sasquatch tracks [adjacent track photographed at Barrington Tops, NSW, in 1996... looks dodgy], but others are four-toed or even narrow, three-toed, and look nothing like primate tracks at all. It’s worth noting at this point that at least some North American tracks attributed to mystery primates are also four- or three-toed: nobody really knows what these tracks ‘mean’, but it’s most convenient to ignore them and write them off as hoaxes. A couple of alleged yowie tracks were reportedly ape-like in terms of digital configuration, but with an unusual broad, squared-off heel. At least one track cast (the Springbrook cast) was analysed for dermal ridges by Jeff Meldrum (a technically qualified primatologist with a well known interest in sasquatch). No dermal ridges were found; however, the owner admitted that he’d let an estimated 10,000 people handle it (he used it as a promotional tool for his restaurant!), so this isn’t surprising. Loud, primate-like calls have been attributed to Yowies, as mentioned earlier.

If real, what the hell is it?

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Good evidence that the Yowie is real is, in conclusion, pretty much absent, and Healy and Cropper don’t pretend otherwise. Because Australia’s biogeographic history is well known, the hypothesis that the Yowie might be what it looks like – an undiscovered hominid or hominoid – seems absurd. Remember, however, that Australia’s mammal fauna is not dominated by marsupials. There are lots of native placentals on the continent too. Indeed, the possibility that hominids of some sort got to Australia independently of Homo sapiens is not entirely unreasonable (H. erectus may have had a sea-faring tradition). However, Yowies (as – mostly – described by witnesses) are not advanced humans that could once have built boats: they’re long-haired, gorilla-like animals with arms that reach their knees [Richard Easton's sketches of a Yowie's feet shown here].

The idea that Yowies might be feral humans mostly fails for the same reason. The suggestion that the Yowie legend might have started when Aborigines encountered ‘dishevelled white castaways or runaway convicts’ has been made on quite a few occasions; it might seem conceivable that Yowie lore was initiated or inspired by encounters with ‘wild’ humans, but note again that this doesn’t match eyewitness reports of giant, gorilla-like animals. Having said that, there are a minority of accounts that do describe man-like creatures. Healy & Cropper (2006) discuss Gary Jones’s 1989 encounter from Glenmore Park in Sydney. Jones described a hair-covered creature that was, apparently, exactly like a tall, muscular, but normally proportioned, human.

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The hypothesis that the Yowie might actually have been a diprotodontid, similar to or congeneric with Hulitherium from New Guinea (Greenwell 1994), now extinct, has always struck me as a non-starter: eyewitnesses have never described Yowies that sound at all diprotodontid-like [diprotodontid Zygomaturus shown here; Hulitherium would have been similar. Picture by Nobu Tamura, from wikipedia].

So, having read the book, I remain perplexed. The most sensible conclusion is that the Yowie represents a combination of hoaxing, hallucination and witness misinterpretation, combined with the global folklore motif of the wild hairy-man. ‘Wild man’/mystery hominid sightings and legends don’t just come from Asia and North America; believe it or don’t, there are also accounts, legends and even recent sightings of such creatures from Hawaii, New Zealand, the UK and Spain. While there’s nowhere near enough Yowie evidence to make any hard-nosed sceptic properly pause for thought, some of the eyewitness accounts do, I feel, suggest that people have had encounters with peculiar creatures of some kind. Even if this is a naïve conclusion, we still have a fascinating cultural phenomenon here, and a larger question emerges: why do people claim to see wild, hairy, man-like creatures in the Australian bush?

As a thorough and entertaining review of a very weird mystery animal phenomenon, Healy and Cropper’s book succeeds and fulfils expectations.

Healy, T. & Cropper, P. 2006. The Yowie: In Search of Australia’s Bigfoot. Strange Nation (Sydney), pp. 320. ISBN 978-0-646-46964-5. Get it on Amazon. Get it on Amazon.co.uk.

Most of the images used in this article were taken from yowiefile.com, a sort of online supplement to the volume. Thanks to Paul Cropper for his help.

For previous Tet Zoo articles on cryptozoology see…

Refs – -

Greenwell, J. R. 1994. The whatsit of Oz. BBC Wildlife 12 (2), 53.

Healy, T. & Cropper, P. 1994. Out of the Shadows: Mystery Animals of Australia. Ironbark, Chippendale, Australia.

- . & Cropper, P. 2006. The Yowie: In Search of Australia’s Bigfoot. Strange Nation, Sydney.

Meurger, M. 1995. Of skrimsls and men, Icelandic water being from folklore to speculative zoology. Fortean Studies 2, 166-176.

- . & Gagnon, C. 1988. Lake Monster Traditions: A Cross-Cultural Analysis. Fortean Times, London.

Comments

  1. #1 Dartian
    January 19, 2010

    Yowies have been reported by some witnesses to be unbelievably aggressive, and to pursue people with what was interpreted as predatory intent. Yowies have sometimes been reported to peer into windows, hang around the outsides of houses, and to approach cars on remote roads

    Why don’t yowies ever get killed by people? From that description, it sounds like their behaviour is very conducive towards eventually meeting the business end of a rifle or a shotgun.

    Loud, primate-like calls have been attributed to Yowies

    ‘Primate-like calls’? Specifically which primates’ calls do they sound like?

  2. #2 Tim Morris
    January 19, 2010

    I have always been fairly skeptical of the Yowie phenomenon. But it strikes me as vaguely possible that the original yowie myth may have been based around encounters with Procoptodon-like animals, who do look genuinely “human-ish” in ways.

  3. #3 Jerzy
    January 19, 2010

    Three-toed yowie tracks could be emu. They look genuinely weird.

    “why do people claim to see wild, hairy, man-like creatures”?

    I think it is biological phenomenon. Humans have instinctive fear of some categories of natural enemies. They are animal-like humans (perhaps image of rival bands of archaic hominids), big cats, big monsters lurking in water (crocodiles), big reptiles (constricting snakes) and large flying beast attacking from the air (large raptors). Because modern reality never releases the stimulus, sometimes the instinct is released spontaneously. So people enjoy monster movies, or hallucinate dangerous beasts in the woods.

    Note something. Country people in reality usually shoot any unusual animals with the gun. But in Yowie sightings and horror movies, there is never a gun ready.

    There are many deformities of small animals worldwide, which could give a rise to many cryptic species of birds, small mammals, ungulates etc. But cryptozoologists are mostly interested in the above categories of animals.

  4. #4 Christopher Taylor
    January 19, 2010

    Palorchestids would seem a better starting point to me than diprotodontids, but still not a particularly good one.

  5. #5 JS Lopes
    January 19, 2010

    What did create these worldwide legends of mysterious hairy, wild ape-men? We find them in North America, Amazonia, Central Asia, Australia and another places. Just phantasies? I’ve heard an interesting hypothesis that ape-men sightings became more common after Origin of the Species’ publication, substituting werewolf sightings, because the idea of a wolf-man became illogical. Add to this scenario tha spread of European occupation of Asia and Africa, with a bunch of “explorers” avid for find new animals, and maybe, “living fossils”. The prototype of sasquatch legends in North America seem to be creations myths about stone-giants, later modified to hairy giants. Yeti legends could be corrupted relicts of pre-historic contacts with Gigantopithecus, or simply, a corrupted and mythologized description of South Asian monkeys and apes, from people who migrated from South Tropical Asia to arid Central Asia. A similar way to the development of South Chinese Rain Dragon from Indochinese crocodile.

  6. #6 ambulocetacean
    January 19, 2010

    Eh… being an Australian and having spent about five minutes wandering around the bush once every few years I reckon the yowie, the bunyip and all other Australian crypto-monsters are just bullshit.

    A lot of this stuff has come down through Aboriginal legend, and with the Aborigines having been in Australia for at least 40,000 years, there has been a lot of time for things to get exaggerated.

    I saw a doco a couple of years ago that reckoned that the best candidate for being a bunyip (a mythical monster more famous in Oz than the yowie) is the now-extinct marsupial lion, aka Thylacoleo Carnifex.

    Thylacoleo was well capable of killing humans, and it was – how you say – contemporaneous with Aboriginal Australians. (A lot of marsupial megafauna, apparently including wombats the size of VW Beetles, met their end between the time that Aborigines found Australia and the time that Europeans got here).

    On the primate front, south-east Asia is swimming in monkeys, gibbons and orang utans. Why are there no primates in Oz? If some strange ape-man had made it all the way down here, why don’t we have any funky monkeys?

  7. #7 anon
    January 19, 2010

    – “why do people claim to see wild, hairy, man-like creatures in the Australian bush?”

    This is a (possibly not-especially-notable) subset of the question “why do people claim to see wild, hairy, man-like creatures anywhere??”

    AFAIK, there aren’t too many places that don’t have some sort of tradition of such creatures.

    (Cf Wudewasa or Woodwose from England — the inspiration for the Woses or Drúedain in Lord of the Rings.)

  8. #8 Jon James
    January 19, 2010

    I just like how, despite living in Australia (and, if seen by the ‘Rabbit Proof Fence’ girls, the Outback), the Yowie has maintained long, shaggy fur.

  9. #9 wolfwalker
    January 19, 2010

    Bunyip = Thylacoleo? Wow. I thought “bunyip” was an Australian term for water monsters, said to resemble Nessie.

    [from Darren: this paragraph removed following advice. Apologies.]

    How recent are the most recent sightings by these yowie-hunters? I submit that any sighting more recent than about 2004 that does not have photographic evidence can be discounted. These days, any investigator worth his salt should be carrying a pocket digital camera that can take both stills and video.

  10. #10 David Marjanović
    January 19, 2010

    I’ve heard an interesting hypothesis that ape-men sightings became more common after Origin of the Species’ publication, substituting werewolf sightings, because the idea of a wolf-man became illogical. Add to this scenario tha spread of European occupation of Asia and Africa, with a bunch of “explorers” avid for find new animals, and maybe, “living fossils”.

    Makes a lot of sense.

    Why are there no primates in Oz?

    Because primates suck at swimming in the sea, and Australia has never had a land connection to Asia, not even in glacial maxima – there’s deep sea with ocean floor between them.

    The New World primates show it’s not impossible for primates to disperse overseas – but it’s not likely at all.

    I saw a doco a couple of years ago that reckoned that the best candidate for being a bunyip (a mythical monster more famous in Oz than the yowie) is the now-extinct marsupial lion, aka Thylacoleo Carnifex.

    If anything is Thylacoleo carnifex, it’s the yarri. The bunyip seems to me to be the ordinary sea leopard, which sometimes enters freshwater courses in Australia, but I’m not very familiar with that stuff…

  11. #11 Dan Holdsworth
    January 19, 2010

    Another way of looking at this might be to try to model how a possible relic hominid would behave when confronted by modern humans. Now, modern humans don’t use smell all that much, despite our having a much better sense of smell than is ordinarily supposed (walking down a path in the countryside, even with a nose over 5′ off the ground, I’m still well capable of detecting where a fox has been). Archaic humans and hominids would presumably have had even better senses of smell and a propensity to use these in daily life to a much greater degree than we do (hence the super strong body odour of these animals).

    So, how would a bigfoot or yowie perceive modern humans? From a distance, all they would see is a big hominid that looked a bit like members of their own species. A bit closer in, they’d get a whiff of us, but since modern humans tend to minimise body odour as much as we can, the yowie would likely get the impression that the human was a subordinate or immature individual. If yowies are territorial, then this could well switch on a lot of aggression; the yowie would think it had an intruder on its territory and would furthermore think that the intruder was a weakling.

    So, it’d come out of the bush charged up, thinking it had a pushover of a confrontation on its hands, and would very likely be handling the situation as would a chimp; i.e. making a lot of noise to scare off the intruder in the belief that the intruder would run for it at the first sign of trouble. At this point the yowie would be in line for a very nasty series of shocks; humans would probably look very weird and worryingly large to a yowie, wouldn’t smell right at all, and the presence of the ubiquitous dingo or stockmans’ dog barking its head off would also prove very unsettling.

    A couple of run-ins like this, especially if the run-in also involved a close encounter with a vehicle, with fire or with artificial lights would very likely so unnerve the yowie that it would keep well clear of humans forever more, and this is assuming it hadn’t bumped into Aboriginals before, who also keep dogs and use fire a lot.

    This is probably why there are few sightings; yowies would quickly learn that humans were extremely bad news and to be avoided.

  12. #12 Nicholas P. Miotk
    January 19, 2010

    Hello, Darren.
    I published an article on the very same subject in the last year in the German Cryptozoology Report. In fact the Yowie as a hypothetical zoological entity is very intriguing just by being that absurd.
    The most important evidence for the presence of any other hominid than H. sapiens is in my opinion the discovery of the Kow-Swamp-People published by A.G. Thorne and P.G. Macumber in Nature Vol. 238 in 1972. In my article I discuss the authors’ finding, i.e. that H. erectus is present on Australia in these Kow-Swamp-People in detail and come (in accordance to modern Paleoanthropology) to a dismissive conclusion.
    Based on the absurdity of the Yowie I further discussed possible explanations for the ubiquitous presence of this ape-man – phenomenon, that is in my opinion the result from a relic in the subconscious of H. sapiens. Confronted in his early evolutionary past with concurrence by other species of hominids, this could have shaped the subconscious of H. sapiens in a way (especially the populations of man, that left Africa and met other hominids like the Neanderthal-man or H. erectus in Asia in more recent times), that rooted the savage ape-man as some form of archetypus in the Jungian sense deep inside of our minds.
    (see N. Miotk, Die Funde aus dem Kow-Swamp. Homo erectus in Australien und der Yowie in Deutscher Kryptozoologie-Report II / 2009)

    If somebody is interested, I could translate my article into English and upload it to some webspace.

    Kindest regards,
    Nicholas

  13. #13 Dartian
    January 19, 2010

    I only now noticed (by clicking on the Amazon link and enlarging the image) that the yowie on the cover of Healy & Cropper’s book has long, protruding fangs and three long, sharp claws on each foot. Those are not exactly traits you’d expect a hominoid, or less still a hominid, primate to possess.

    And are yowies commonly supposed to catch kangaroos by grabbing them by their tails?

  14. #14 Dave Hughes
    January 19, 2010

    If the Yowie actually existed it would be one of the largest native land mammals in Australia, a continent devoid of any land predators larger than a medium-sized dog for many thousands, if not tens of thousands of years. Yowies clearly aren’t hunted by humans – if they were, we’d already know all about them. On that basis, would we expect them to show any fear of humans? Surely they’d be foraging along road-sides in broad daylight, or raiding suburban dustbins for scraps? Gorillas and chimps in Africa are heavily hunted in many places, and live in much more densely forested habitats, but there’s no mystery about their existence. Thousands of tourists have seen the mountain gorillas of Rwanda and the chimps of Gombe. In short, the idea that the Yowie might be an undiscovered large primate just seems to fly in the face of biological reality. There’s probably an interesting psychological phenomenon at work, to explain why people report such things, but an actual living animal? No way. I think the same goes for the Yeti and Bigfoot too. If they really existed, we’d have found them long ago.

  15. #15 ambulocetacean
    January 19, 2010

    Um, Wolfwalker… WTF have you been reading that says that Aborigines are 100% modern DNA-wise but look like homo erectus?

    I’m a totally white Australian but as a homo sapiens or whatever we’re all called I find that idea quite offensive. (For what little it’s worth my mainly British ancestors arrived here in the 20th century, after attempts to exterminate and/or assimilate the Aboriginal race had mostly been abandoned).

    Knowing next to zero about genetics I can look at people from Papua New Guinea and even some people from India and see resemblances to Australian Aborigines. But to suggest that Aborigines look like more like a species that died out 2 million years ago is slightly fucking insane.

    Re bunyips: I’m no expert on that either, but I’d always thought that they were supposed to be mammals that lived in billabongs (waterholes), rather than some Nessie-style dinosaur.

    Thylacoleo, like a lot of other predators that occupy similar ecological niches/positions, used to hang around waterholes so it could eat whatever turned up to drink.

  16. #16 ambulocetacean
    January 19, 2010

    @ David Marjanovic. I don’t think the bunyip is a sea leopard/sea lion/seal. The legend of the man-eating bunyip is more associated with billabongs, which are water holes that are created when seasonal inland rivers dry up in the dry season.

    I don’t see a seal swimming so far inland that it gets stuck in a waterhole when a river dries up. Even if one did I suspect that you, me and/or the Aborigines would have killed it and eaten it rather than turn it into a monster that scared us away from our water.

    Re Australia’s lack of primates: my point was that if we have no monkeys or orang utans in Australia we can hardly expect to have bigfoots.

    And Dave Hughes (not the comedian, surely?), yeah, if there were bigfoots in Oz or America someone would have found a body or bones or at the very least a pile of poop by now.

  17. #17 retrieverman
    January 19, 2010

    I’m always very skeptical about supposed bipedal apes that have not been discovered, especially if they come from regions which are known for being rather empty of primates in both the fossil record and in their recent natural history.

    I have no idea what a yowie is or what it would be. I feel the same way about the sasquatch.

  18. #18 Robert
    January 19, 2010

    I’ve spoken to an Australian Woman who claimed a very close encounter with a Yowie.

    She was hitchhiking through the Outback and was relieved when a Truck Driver picked her up, and agreed to let her sleep in his cab overnight.

    She woke while it was still dark, and saw a large, Apelike face staring in at her through the window. Understandably, she screamed in terror, at which the Driver woke up and the visitor disappeared.

    They left the truck to investigate, but it was raining heavily and there was no evidence of any kind in the vicinity.

    I asked her what to me seemed an important question – did she feel she was in the presence of an Animal or a Human?

    She responded that there was clearly an intelligence in the eyes, and that the creature seemed merely curious – the truck window was eight feet off the ground and anything so tall as to look in could clearly have forced its way in had it wanted to.

    As Darren noted, this kind of uncorroborated second hand account is of no real value, but I have no reason to doubt her sincerity.

  19. #19 Dave Hughes
    January 19, 2010

    “She woke while it was still dark, and saw a large, Apelike face staring in at her through the window. Understandably, she screamed in terror, at which the Driver woke up and the visitor disappeared.”

    A skeptic would probably suggest that her vision of an apelike face preceded the waking-up, i.e. that it was a vivid dream brought on by spending the night in unfamiliar and rather scary surroundings, possibly with her mind dwelling on Yowie-lore before she went to sleep. I’m sure most of us have had experiences of dreams so vivid that they seem real to the newly-awoken mind. This is just speculation. It may all have happened exactly as she described it, or she may have been sincere but just honestly mistaken. I’m not going to call someone a liar without good reason. Unfortunately the fact that cryptozoology consists mostly of uncorroborated tales like this is the reason why it never goes anywhere except round in circles. Until there’s some hard verifiable evidence to examine we have to consider the Yowie and similar beasts as psychological phenomena rather than biological ones.

  20. #20 Elliott Mason
    January 19, 2010

    In re cryptozoology, I had not previously heard of the ningen. Someone linked me to that story, and I thought of TetZoo. :->

  21. #21 Loren Coleman
    January 19, 2010

    Great overview summary, as always, of a complex cryptozoological subject. I posted a link at Cryptomundo so folks could find their way here and read this fully.

    Just one small correction, about the publishing history. The Cropper and Healy book with my introduction, The Yowie, was first published in the USA, by Anomalist Books, New York, in 2006. The book then appeared in an Australian edition (which you mention out of Sydney) in 2007 (even if it retained the earlier copyright date).

    Cheers,
    Loren

  22. #22 Adam Pritchard
    January 19, 2010

    On a completely different note, “Chewbacca-like” may be the best descriptor ever used.

  23. #23 Rob Jase
    January 19, 2010

    Personally I think most yowie sightings are misidentified drop-bears standing bipedally.

  24. #24 jdmimic
    January 19, 2010

    Have you ever been with a group of people (can be adults, but works best with kids or young adults) that are not really familiar with being in the woods and have someone come back to the campfire saying they saw a bigfoot? Someone will usually say it was only a bear or something, then the person will say something like, “I know what a bear looks like and it wasn’t a bear.” It is almost guaranteed that someone else will “remember” seeing it too or someone will see it later on that night. Those people will insist they saw something for real even if the first person admits he made it up.

    Suggestion is a very powerful thing.

  25. #25 Jerzy
    January 19, 2010

    Or maybe it is unknown tailless stenthurine kangaroo? Marsupial human!

  26. #26 Sharon
    January 19, 2010

    As always, the cryptozoological subjects are my favorite posts here at Tet Zoo. Thanks for writing about the topic, Darren.

    I agree that we are not talking so much about the zoological reality here as we are what did these people experience? A similar situation, I feel, is occurring with UFOs, hauntings, even alternative meds. The existing body of knowledge does not support the typical interpretation the witness gives for these experiences but there is something going on (related to culture, psychology, environment, physiology, etc.). That is REALLY interesting and far more complex. I’m glad there are those who don’t jump to the overly simplified false choice of “it’s a Yowie or he’s lying”.

  27. #27 doug l
    January 19, 2010

    Based on the wide range of reports I’d have to say that to a certain degree “all of the above” possible, at least the ones that can be explained within the context of natural history and/or clinical neurology.. Humans do encounter animals that are truly cryptic from time to time, and we do hallucinate once in a while, all kinds of things so why not the occasional “primeval monster father”. And in between those two examples are countless examples of misidentification so common we barely notice.
    Though when trying to explain-away the possibility that a human scaled archaic hominin of some sort is evading our observations and attempts to find them, based on the idea that no large animal could have evaded us the way this proposed creature could have, I have some questions.
    The presumption of its being some sort of hominin, and not just some kind of other ‘great ape’, but an H. erectus sort of hominin, means to me that it might be good to consider their brain capacity and the presumed ability to use that for a kind of situational awareness the likes of which we might seldom if ever encounter. I think it’s pretty well recognized that chimps, orangs and gorillas have some kind of self-awareness and some kind of internal understandin about how others think, and are in possession of some kind of “mind”, not simply animal intelligence. Even at the lower end of their range from the fossils that are known, it can be seen that H. erectus is still equipped with what, it is natural to presume, was at least a human-like brain that, though smaller and maybe less complex than ours, was at least an order of magnitude beyond the chimps and orangs, the same apes that we feel are so darned smart and even say they are “human-like” in their intelligence and have a rudimentary culture. Extend what we understand about chimps’ inate capacity based on their giant brains, to brains with volumes such as is known about H. erectus and it would far exceed the intelligene of any other so-called intelligent and cunningly elusive animal like a leopard, or wolverine, which are reputed to be pretty darn good at eluding us. It’s true that for all their smarts, humans long ago figured out how to actually hunt and trap them successfully, so why haven’t we been able to do Yowies or Sasquatch or any of the others? I don’t know how smart you have to be to elude modern hunters. Mabye not all that smart.
    So, if there were some kind of non-human hominin out there, I can believe that they would almost have to seem to be supernaturally gifted in eluding us out in the wild, because they conceivably could have capacity far beyond even the most clever of non-hominin animals out there, and can there be any doubt that when we savannah-adapted urban-apes head out into the wild with our modern dependencies and technologies, and our preferrence for easy trails, and our atrophied array of senses, that we would not be all that hard to elude for a wild and crafty hominin. Just look how even the crazy ‘abortion clinic bomber’ Eric Rudolph managed to elude scads of federal agents using every advantage in their remote sensing and imaging arsenal. He eluded being captured by hiding out in a relatively restricted area of woods North Carolina for 2 years…and they never got a got so much as a good picture of him…until he got tired of living out of dumpsters and gave himself up.
    I don’t see a truly wild adapted hominin, if they exist, to be all that easy to find or trick as if it were just some other kind of bush tucker.

  28. #28 Aldo Piombino
    January 19, 2010

    As Lopes (commentn.5) I think that there is a thik link beetween Yeti, Almas and Sasquatch (remember that Sasquatch mith is limited to na-denè pacific coast tribes). For someone thisi is a record of neandertalian men.
    Could for Australia be a big kangaroo the origin of the mith?

  29. #29 RStretton
    January 19, 2010

    Given the bipedal nature of these Yowies and their supposed ape-like face perhaps the myth was inspired by Aboriginal encounters with the extinct Giant Short Faced Kangaroos that I believe the co-existed with for some time. There faces could have seemed to human-like or at least more so than most animals do. That seems more plausible than the Diprotodontid idea not that it explains recent sightings or I’m suggesting these roos got into modern times.

  30. #30 John Scanlon FCD
    January 20, 2010

    I haven’t seen a yowie yet, but if I do I’ll be sure to collect samples. But I have numerous times had close encounters (while proccupied with looking at or under rocks, or watching where I put my feet) with large, shaggy bipeds with long, oddly-shaped feet (middle toe much longer than the first), that vocalised in an agressive way before leaving suddenly and noisily… So my guess is that a lot of these reports could be of ordinary large Macropus surprised at unusually close quarters, observed badly and reconstructed with artistic licence. If you happen to notice a male kangaroo’s chest first, rather than his face or feet or tail, you’ll definitely be thinking ‘furry muscle-bound large primate’ rather than ‘dopey grazing marsupial’.
    Also, human-shaped and -sized (or larger) scat containing fur or feathers (but no bones) are not unusual; they belong to pythons.

  31. #31 Mark Lees
    January 20, 2010

    I have a copy of ‘The Yowie’, and it is probably the best catalogue of recorded incidents, though I felt the analysis was somthing of a mixed bag.

    Interestingly the incidents you refer to, are not actually the ones I would have singled out as being the most convincing evidence for the yowie phenomenon.

    A difficulty with the idea that Yowie is based on an aboriginal cultural memory of some extinct creature (and in deed a problem for most explanations of the yowie phenomenon) is that is very little evidence that aboriginal peoples knew of the yowie.

    Malcolm Smith referred to a couple of examples of ‘hairy man’ type creatures in aboriginal mythology – and the problem is that not only do there seem to be few of them, they also seem to have little to do with the yowie being seen by people from the 19th century to the present day (some for example refer to hairy dwarfs).

    Unlike the sasquatch which does seem to have some kind of cultural heritage among indigenous north american cultures, the yowie seems to have little pre-colonial history (note ‘little’ not ‘none’).

    As I have stated previously if you discount probable hoaxes and misidentifications there remains a core of incidents that are not easily explained and do seem to refer to something.

    Nicholas Miotk makes a reference to the Kow Swamp remains. These are intriguing, and I strongly suspect that if these had been found elsewhere they would have been treated if not as H. erectus then at least as some form of archaic Homo.

  32. #32 Dartian
    January 20, 2010

    Dan:

    relic hominid

    That term, it seems, is only ever used in cryptozoological contexts. I’ve never liked it. Throughout most of the Pliocene and the Pleistocene there were, AFAWK, always more than one contemporary hominid* species in the world. Now there’s only one. If any hominid species deserved be called a ‘relic’, it would be us.

    * I’m here using the vernacular ‘hominid’ in the traditional humans sensu stricto-sense.

    Dave:

    Yowies clearly aren’t hunted by humans – if they were, we’d already know all about them. On that basis, would we expect them to show any fear of humans? Surely they’d be foraging along road-sides in broad daylight, or raiding suburban dustbins for scraps?

    I think this touches on a very good point. It’s all fine and well to speculate that Mystery Hominids elude discovery because they intentionally avoid us. But that begs the question, why do they avoid us, anyway? Staying alert costs energy, so animals don’t stay eternally vigilant unless they have some pressing reason to do so. For similar reasons, animals don’t remain hidden all the time unless they absolutely have to. For most species, the presence of predators and/or aggressive competitors is reason enough to stay alert and/or hidden. In most countries, bears, wolves, big cats and other large top predators avoid humans because they until recently have been, and sometimes still are, heavily hunted/poached by humans*.

    * A side note regarding conservation biology: If ‘megafauna’ is to be conserved outside of zoos, it’s probably – especially in the long run – a necessary evil to maintain a certain amount of healthy fear of humans in large predators (and potentially dangerous large herbivores) by strictly controlled hunting, at least in populated areas. Cynical as it may sound, if animals are not persecuted they will eventually get habituated and lose their fear of people, and when that happens…

    But who threatens a yowie or a sasquatch? From where comes the predation (or other) pressure that keeps them so vigilant? Clearly not from humans, if eyewitness accounts are anything to go by. During a sudden encounter with a Mystery Hominid it seems that the human observers usually are virtually paralysed with fear (often to the extent that they are unable to use their cameras, or their guns, should they be carrying any). To assume that the Mystery Hominids are somehow able to conclude that these puny cowardly beings are to be feared and avoided at all costs seems to me unwarranted. Far more likely, in my mind, is that the Mystery Hominids (especially the young, cocky individuals) would only be enboldened by such encounters and start harassing and scaring humans for fun. Just think of how other species of primates, and indeed many of us humans too, enjoy taunting and teasing other animals.

    The counter-suggestion that Mystery Hominids avoid humans today because we did hunt them in the Pleistocene/whenever, and that they’ve retained this fear over countless generations and milennia, also seems unlikely to me. It would imply (unless you’re willing to resort to some metaphysical “racial memory” type of explanations) that Mystery Hominids would have to have a rather sophisticated culture; at the very least, they would have to have some sort of a language for passing on this specific information. And it’s hard to see how language could have evolved/been maintained without the Mystery Hominids having at least some sort of organised society.

    Doug:

    I don’t know how smart you have to be to elude modern hunters.

    Well, how smart do you have to be to understand that being hit by an automobile is dangerous? Pretty much every single human being on this planet, save for the very youngest children and the mentally deficient, knows that it can be quite dangerous indeed. And yet: millions and millions of people worldwide get killed in traffic accidents every year. Quite a few because of their own carelessness or downright stupidity, others (the majority, perhaps?) because of the powerful cause often known as ‘Shit happens’.

    Shit happens to us humans even though we are, when all is said and done, pretty damn smart by animal standards. So why does similar shit never seem to happen to the yowie, the sasquatch, the yeti or the almas? Where are the Mystery Hominids’ Darwin Award winners and contenders?

    And finally: even if we are willing to assume that Mystery Hominids are stupefyingly smart, cunning and elusive in life and that they’re virtually immune to accidents, disease and predation, then we still should have found their fossils by now. After you die, it doesn’t matter how smart and elusive you were in life. Even if your kin bury your corpse (as has sometimes been suggested, apparently in earnest), that should, if anything, only enhance the likelihood of its eventual fossilisation.

  33. #33 Darren Naish
    January 20, 2010

    Ah, nothing like a lengthy cryptozoology article to get people angry and arguing :) Many thanks to all for comments, very interesting. A few responses…

    – Dartian (comment 1) asked why yowies never get killed by people. Err, because they’re not real? He also asked what the ‘primate-like’ vocalisations sounds like. I mostly had Gary Opit’s descriptions in mind: Opit described a series of ‘deep, base notes’ that ‘produced a bellowing-roar’. See the pdf here for more.

    – Bunyips (see comment 6) are meant to be water monsters of some sort; if there was ever a real animal at the bottom of the stories/sightings, it was not a thylacoleonid. Some stories and eyewitness reports associate the name bunyip with a flippered, swimming animal that had a dog-like head. Speculations include that it was a sort of marsupial seal (that would be soooooooooo awesome… [but, alas]), or just wayward seals or sea lions. Pinnipeds will, on occasion, swim far up rivers (as in, a couple hundred km in cases), and there are quite a few claimed inland seals from Australia. See the list here. My favourite: a Leopard seal shot in 1859, 30 km up the Shoalhaven River, and (apparently) with a platypus in its stomach. I forget who, but one naturalist of the time said “Surely, a bunyip within a bunyip”.

    – Dartian also commented on the weird tridactyl creature depicted on the cover of Healy & Cropper’s book (comment 13). This picture is a 1982 painting by bushman/writer Percy Trezise of Turramulli, the giant quinkin. Turramulli was a mythical giant who featured in the mythology of the Yalanji people of Cape York Peninsula, and Trezise’s painting featured on the cover of a children’s book he and Dick Roughsey wrote about Turramulli. Quinkins (which were small as well as large) may or may not be anything to do with yowies. And, yes, as Mark Lees noted (comment 31), Aboriginal ‘hairy man’ legends refer to small creature as much as large ones. Healy & Cropper have a whole chapter on these smaller creatures, known as junjudees (or variations thereof).

  34. #34 Dartian
    January 20, 2010

    Mark:

    if you discount probable hoaxes and misidentifications there remains a core of incidents that are not easily explained and do seem to refer to something.

    I dunno… Try to apply that kind of reasoning to the Nigerian scam letters that we’re all surely familiar with. They are a bit like bigfoot sightings in that they are numerous and they are, by and large, internally consistent. Does that then mean that some of these letters really are what they purport to be: genuine get-rich-quick offers by complete strangers? Or is it safer in this case to take the risk of throwing the baby out with the bathwater (and possibly leave the unfortunate son of Nigeria’s ex-Foreign Minister languishing in house arrest in the outskirts of Lagos, or summat) and assume, at least until much better evidence to the contrary is at hand, that they are all hoaxes?

    Darren:

    I mostly had Gary Opit’s descriptions in mind: Opit described a series of ‘deep, base notes’ that ‘produced a bellowing-roar’

    In the link you provided, Opit opines that there may be more than one species of unknown primate in Australia. Parsimony FAIL.

  35. #35 Mark Lees
    January 20, 2010

    Dartian,

    “all hoaxes” – mmm, some certainly are, quite a lot of others probably are, but “all” – no. There are of course many misidentifications, and as with many other cryptids I would suggest that misidentification is a much greater cause of sightings than hoaxing is.

    But there does seem to be a number of sightings that cannot be entirely explained simply as misidentification or hoax. One of the Woodenbong sightings allegedly had additional evidence in the form of footprints, hair (as far as I recall it was long and reddish – I’d double check that, but the relevant book is at home) as well as the effects on the dog attacked by the ‘yowie’.

    I guess I have come to the conclusion that while most yowie sightings are due to hoaxing or to misidentification of known animals or people, some are not. That is not to say I think they are based on an unknown non-human primate in Australia (in my opinion that is ridiculously unlikely, and don’t consider it a realistic option). So what is the cause of the ‘genuine’ sightings – I haven’t got a clue, but suspect that it might not be purely biological – I will end there on a suitably enigmatic note, with eyebrow raised :)

  36. #36 David Marjanović
    January 20, 2010

    Based on the absurdity of the Yowie I further discussed possible explanations for the ubiquitous presence of this ape-man – phenomenon, that is in my opinion the result from a relic in the subconscious of H. sapiens. Confronted in his early evolutionary past with concurrence by other species of hominids, this could have shaped the subconscious of H. sapiens in a way (especially the populations of man, that left Africa and met other hominids like the Neanderthal-man or H. erectus in Asia in more recent times), that rooted the savage ape-man as some form of archetypus in the Jungian sense deep inside of our minds.

    Wouldn’t that be Lamarckism?

  37. #37 Stu of the peak
    January 20, 2010

    Given Australia has a landmass size roughly equivalent to the contiguous United States and a population around 280,000,000 ish less (around 22,000,000) than the US would if you don’t want to be spotted, there’s a lot of space to hide in.

  38. #38 Nicholas P. Miotk
    January 20, 2010

    Hello, David. I don’t see any Lamarckian aspect in my writing yet, but maybe you could point your thought out further.
    As far as I understand this concerned intersection of psychology and biology it is not possible yet to determine of which basic nature these archetypi are and wether darwinian or maybe different rules (as proposed for the memes) apply for them.
    For me just the coincidence is striking of our ancestors being exposed to competing ape-men and the nowadays inclination of seeing such creatures lurking in every dark spot on the map. Similarily striking as the horror spiders and snakes do invoke somewhat instinctively even in Europeans, living where dangerous forms of the aforementioned groups are almost unknown.

  39. #39 Laura Henson
    January 20, 2010

    Regarding the’wood devil’of Einasleigh River pictured near the beginning of the article. The picture looks very much like a baboon and it reminded me of the hypothesis that Egyptians supposibly visited Australia in ancient times.One book even told of an Egyptian baboon statue that was supposibly found in Australia. Could the orignal Yowie be based on Egyptian baboon images? I can easily see Aboriginal stories of babboon-like animals being distorted into “gorillas” and “bigfoots” by settlers more familiar with the latter creatures.

    Just a thought.

  40. #40 Dave Hughes
    January 20, 2010

    “Regarding the’wood devil’of Einasleigh River pictured near the beginning of the article. The picture looks very much like a baboon and it reminded me of the hypothesis that Egyptians supposibly visited Australia in ancient times.One book even told of an Egyptian baboon statue that was supposibly found in Australia. Could the orignal Yowie be based on Egyptian baboon images?”

    The likelihood of the ancient Egyptians ever having visited Australia are about the same as the likelihood of them landing on the moon, i.e. zero. The Egyptians were one of the least maritime ancient civilizations on record, and for most of their long history had little interest in anything outside the Nile valley. As for the alleged baboon statue, let’s see the artifact and have its authenticity and provenance verified by a professionally qualified Egyptologist. Until that happens, it’s nothing more than the archaeological equivalent of a Nigerian email scam.

  41. #41 Trilobite
    January 20, 2010

    Dave, You’d wonder about Rex Gilroy’s account of what he found in Australia. I bet this baboon-statue is on his record…

  42. #42 wolfwalker
    January 20, 2010

    My abject apologies for the offensive material in my previous comment. I obviously completely screwed up on phrasing, because it was not intended that way.

  43. #43 David Marjanović
    January 20, 2010

    I don’t see any Lamarckian aspect in my writing yet, but maybe you could point your thought out further.

    If I’ve understood you correctly, you postulate the inheritance of an acquired memory… is that right?

    different rules (as proposed for the memes)

    Memes spread culturally, by word of mouth. The idea behind archetypes is specifically that they’re not memes, not learned, but innate, isn’t it?

    Similarily striking as the horror spiders and snakes do invoke somewhat instinctively even in Europeans

    It’s not clear how instinctive that really is. There are many people who even find them cute… Europeans simply aren’t used to large spiders, and the unfamiliar is often scary. And while the adders of Europe hardly ever manage to kill anyone, their bite is not exactly pleasant.

    for most of their long history had little interest in anything outside the Nile valley

    That’s not true, they ruled Palestine for centuries, up into modern Syria even, and they had diplomatic contacts with the entire Middle East (as attested most obviously by the correspondence archive in Tell el-Amarna, written in the diplomat language of the time, Babylonian).

    But…

    Australia?!? That I want to see.

  44. #44 Jerzy
    January 20, 2010

    Territorial raids aimed at killing of neighboring groups are regular in hunter-gatherer humans. And in common chimpanzees, too.

    So, human has a good evolutionary reason to try spotting a lurking biped when alone in the bush. At least as good as keeping eye for poisonous snakes and big cats.

  45. #45 Allen Hazen
    January 20, 2010

    Folk memories of Procoptodon are a nice thought, but even extant kangaroos (which can sit up very straight and tall when watching something) can be mistaken for humanoids. An Australian friend once told me of an occasion when, as a university student somewhere in the outback on holidays, he had been walking at night and suddenly saw what he thought was a man standing and looking at him (and thought he as a city boy was about to be bashed by a local redneck), until it turned and bounded away.

    Some of the Yowie sighting accounts seem to be too detailed for this as an explanation, but some may originate in this sort of mistaken identity.

  46. #46 William Miller
    January 20, 2010

    I wonder to what degree the universality of “wild man” legends is real, and to what degree it’s a matter of conflating originally unrelated things (like the supposed universality of dragon legends). The European woodwose/wild man seems to have been originally thought of as simply a wild or ‘feral’ human and not a separate sort of being (though it got conflated with fauns and satyrs and things, this seems to be later). Some of the authentically Native American legends which have now become associated with “Bigfoot/Sasquatch”seem to be fairly generic bogeymen.

    So far the evidence doesn’t seem convincing for such a bizarre creature (or even as good as that for the American ‘bigfoot’). One interesting question (which may or may not be answered in the book, since I don’t have it) is the distribution of the reports. If they are distributed fairly evenly or coincident with human population density, that seems to make its reality less likely; on the other hand, if reports predominantly are distributed along biogeographical lines or only far from human habitations, that might be more suggestive of a real creature.

  47. #47 Adam
    January 21, 2010

    Eh, it’s a shame there are no big marsupial “primates” to account for the sightings. I mean we have marsupial cats after all. It would have been an interesting bit of convergence.

  48. #48 Ed Skoda
    January 21, 2010

    The “baboon statue” – also known as the “Gympie ape” and the “iron man” statue – is still on display in the Gympie Museum. Rex Gilroy claimed it was an ancient weathered sculpture depicting the Egyptian God Thoth in ape form. Apparently, the statue shows signs of metal sculpting and is most likely a modern artefact crudely carved during Gympie’s gold rush.

    It is difficult to gain a reasonable understanding of the possible physical appearance of yowies due to the high level of fiction and fabrication. However, regarding hominid fossil evidence what is your opinion of Wilandra Lakes Hominid 50? WLH 50 bears similarities with the Ngandong hominids (Homo erectus) from Indonesia. Could remnant populations of such hominids be responsible for the cultural memory of (or even actual modern sightings of) yowies?

  49. #49 Dartian
    January 21, 2010

    Mark:

    “all hoaxes” – mmm, some certainly are, quite a lot of others probably are, but “all” – no.

    Oh, my analogy was apparently a bit misleading. I was referring there specifically to the Nigerian scam letters (incidentally, long before e-mail existed, similar scam messages were sent as physical letters – and, of course, this type of scam is by no means a Nigerian invention). They are surely all hoaxes, or at least should sensibly be treated as such. I don’t think that all Mystery Hominid sightings are deliberate hoaxes; to the contrary, I’m quite convinced that many, many people who report such sightings are perfectly sincere. (Although as long as we can’t reliably tell which reports are sincere and which are not, that point is effectively moot.)

    The point of my scam letter – bigfoot sighting analogy was this: both the letters and the sightings are ‘data’ that are numerous and widespread in time and space. And if you look hard enough, you’ll surely find patterns in those data that might suggest to you that behind all the outwardly dubiousness there is a core of truth (i.e., genuine letters/sightings). ‘No smoke without fire’, and all that. I just wanted to point out that such a conclusion may not necessarily be warranted in either of those two particular cases.

    William:

    I wonder to what degree the universality of “wild man” legends is real, and to what degree it’s a matter of conflating originally unrelated things

    Very good question.

  50. #50 David Marjanović
    January 21, 2010

    The European woodwose/wild man

    How universal is that one within Europe even? Is it specifically British?

  51. #51 Raaf
    January 21, 2010

    A late surviving short-faced kangaroo which were said to have human-like faces could be a possibility.

  52. #52 ambulocetacean
    January 21, 2010

    Hi Wolfie,

    Sorry if I overreacted. It was just that what (I thought) you said kind of took me by surprise.

  53. #53 alanborky
    January 21, 2010

    “It’s been argued that such perceived reliability doesn’t count for much, and that hoaxing and misinterpretation can come from a ‘reliable’ witness as much as a ‘less reliable’ one.”

    You’re telling me!

    I’m an artist – a supposedly highly talented one – and so’ve always assumed I had an above average capacity when it comes to LOOKING and actually SEEING and, over the last four decades, whenever there was a Patterson Bigfoot documentary on, I’d sit all the way through them, howling my head off that people couldn’t see it was clearly a man in a rubber suit.

    A few years back, though, I decided to pay particular attention, for some reason, and to my astonishment, noticed a pair of breasts for the first time. I even noticed what for all the world looked like muscle movements all the place. Even the fur behaved like fur.

    Now, since this wasn’t the first time I’d seen a stabilised version of the film, I was forced to face the fact I’d never really been paying the film any REAL attention but, rather, by giving it the most superficial of cursory skims, merely confirming all my preconceptions and biases.

    …still doesn’t prove Patterson’s ‘Patty’ wasn’t a hoax, but it sure as hell proves if it WAS, it was an INFINITELY more skilful and technically clever piece of work than the easily dismissed ‘obvious’ bloke in a rubber suit me and a lot of people’ve always supposed.

  54. #54 William Miller
    January 21, 2010

    >>How universal is that one within Europe even? Is it specifically British?

    The term ‘woodwose’ is English, but the legend seems to be significantly more widespread – in heraldry at least. Wikipedia has pictures of German & Polish coats of arms containing them. (The Wikipedia article mentions all sorts of other things; some seem relevant, but others like the St. Augustine reference seem to apply to satyrs rather than having anything to do with the N European wildman tradition.)

  55. #55 Jerzy
    January 21, 2010

    >> I wonder to what degree the universality of “wild man” legends is >> real, and to what degree it’s a matter of conflating originally
    >> unrelated things

    Very good question! Legends of such creatures usually have many fantastic or magical attributes. So it is really like cheating, to pick “realistic” bits which fit some real animal, and omit “fantastic” bits.

  56. #56 William Miller
    January 21, 2010

    Legends of such creatures usually have many fantastic or magical attributes. So it is really like cheating, to pick “realistic” bits which fit some real animal, and omit “fantastic” bits.

    Well, sometimes… though sometimes there are old enough records that one can see the “fantastic” bits being accreted onto an originally more realistic legends. The dragon myth is a case in point; Greek and Roman ‘dragon’ legends describe exaggeratedly large serpents, not teh four-legged, winged, fire breathing critters we associate with the word in modern English (“draco” in Latin is essentially synonymous with “serpens”, both meaning any large snake; Greek “drakon” also means a large snake) – the Romans would call a python “draco”. There are winged ‘dragons’ and fire-breathing ‘dragons’ in Greek myth, but no more commonly than winged or fire-breathing horses or other ‘mundane’ animals. The four-legged, winged, fire-breathing “classic dragon” is postmedieval or late-medieval at best – 12th century bestiaries still described an (admittedly unnaturally huge) constrictor under the name “draco” – as stylized heraldic things seeped into the legend. (I believe confusion between heraldic dragons, heraldic wyverns, and heraldic griffins played a role, but I’m not 100% sure on that.)

    This is the biggest problem with the idea that dinosaur fossils played a role in the dragon myths – the dinosaurlike dragons are relatively recent.

    (The Chinese/Japanese “dragon” has no connection to the dragon myth of Europe.)

    But back to the topic of wild men: I think some people have overzealously lumped stories of “true” wild men (humans living wild) like the British/Irish wild men stories and stories of giants that are described with lots of hair or other bestial features (quie a few bestial giants in Native American legends – the Wendigo is one that has been associated with Bigfoot) with the few traditions that might describe actual cryptozoological hominids, causing great confusion.

  57. #57 Finback
    January 21, 2010

    Darren, would you like a near-complete set of the series 1 and 2 “Lost Kingdom” Yowies? It has stuff like thylacoleonid skulls, _Harpagornis_, _Wiwaxia_..

    I recently picked up the book myself, and enjoyed it for much the same reasons you do – even as a biologist, this stuff fascinated me as a kid, and still warrants SOME investigation.

    The notion of it being myths built up around _Procoptodon_ don’t work for me based on middens showing the Aborigines were doing a damn good job catching and eating them. But their mythology around the “yowie”-type entities never portray them as something you could simply catch and eat. There’s a few tales of warfare between the two groups, but all indications suggest they would not confuse the kangaroo with a yowie.

    And another reason that the “rogue white settlers” idea falls down is there are a lot of indigenous tales about large hairy beings, such as quinkins.. kind of like how Native Americans have very old tales of Dzonoqua and Selahtik, hairy spirits..

    #1 Dartian – there have been a few “near misses” with gunmen in Australia, including (IIRC) the Kilcoy incident when two teen boys, confronted with a “hairy man” began firing their rifles from the hip.

    #6 Ambulocetacean – it’d be worth reading Cropper and Healy’s first book, Out of the Shadows – they argue the “bunyip” sightings were just seals, either a cryptid freshwater species, or vagrants from the coast. Most sightings in the 1800s gave the bunyip a “dog-like” head and “flippers”.. – but mostly, it was the Europeans giving these descriptions. Aboriginal descriptions were a mixed bag of things, sometimes Lovecraftian bird-mammal-insect hybrids. Perhaps the Europeans simply took the term for “weird water beastie” and applied it?

  58. #58 William Miller
    January 22, 2010

    Australian cryptids aren’t the ones I’m most familiar with, but bunyip = seal seems pretty solid to me. (For the European sightings anyway – no clue if it has anything to do with the actual native myth the name was taken from.) Seal heads are pretty dog-like.

  59. #59 Malcolm Smith
    January 22, 2010

    What is most fantastic: a ghost, a flying saucer, or a yowie? Obviously the last. We know little about life after death, we know even less about life in outer space, but we know that a big, hairy ape prancing around Australia is impossible.
    I once wrote a paper in “Cryptozoology” debunking the early “wildman” reports. I started the yowie chapter of my book, “Bunyips and Bigfoots” as an unbeliever, and finished it as a believer. I can remember the month I became a believer. It was August 1994, and the two bit of evidence which clinched it were the O’Chee sighting, and the second Woodenbong sighting. In the first, an Australian Senator admitted to seeing a yowie as a boy. The second was not only at very close range (5 feet), but it was supported by a footprint, a strand of hair, and physical damage to a pet dog – something which a hoaxer would be unlikely to do. Apart from that, my objections were overwhelmed by the sheer bulk of the sightings, which could lead to only one of two conclusions: (1) the phenomenon is real,or (2) every last one is due to hoaxing or misidentification. There comes a point where the probability of (2) becomes so low, that (1), no matter how fantastic, must be accepted.
    Be that what it may, I did make the comment that all the alleged primate cryptids around the world have three things in common: (1) they are solitary, (2) they are nocturnal, and (3) with a few notable exceptions, they are shy of man almost to the point of phobia. These behaviour traits are unusual in primates, but they probably explain how they manage to remain officially undetected.
    But I still don’t know what one is doing in Australia.

  60. #60 Dartian
    January 22, 2010

    Malcolm:

    my objections were overwhelmed by the sheer bulk of the sightings

    Zero multiplied by one million is still zero.

    Look, whatever is sufficient to convince you personally is one thing. But if you want to convince ‘The World’, or at least its better parts, that the yowies et al. are real you need to forget about sightings, forget about footprints, forget about crummy photographs. We already have enough of those, and more of the same will make no difference anymore, evidence-wise. At this stage, only a physical specimen (living or dead) will do. Nothing less* is sufficient to prove the existence of these creatures. That’s the bottom line, like it or not.

    * Well, maybe mind-numbingly good photographic evidence would also be enough, although I rather doubt it.

  61. #61 David Marjanović
    January 22, 2010

    a strand of hair

    Even if there’s no DNA left in it, hair can be identified down to species.

    Why hasn’t that happened? Finding hair that doesn’t belong to any known species would be an easy way to fame.

  62. #62 Darren Naish
    January 22, 2010

    Henner Fahrenbach (well known for publishing analyses of alleged sasquatch hairs) analysed alleged yowie hairs sent to him by Paul Compton. According to Healy & Cropper (2006, p. 155), he concluded that these hairs were from a primate, and that two of the samples resembled supposed sasquatch hair (‘except for their generally grey cast’). Hairs suspected by some researchers to be from Sasquatch possess a combination of gross morphological, medullary and scale characters that (apparently) rule out other mammals as potential sources, though some of the features do overlap with human ones. Attempts to amplify mtDNA from the samples have been unsuccessful, but apparently this isn’t a surprise as extracting DNA from the hair of known apes (specifically gorillas) is often difficult. Some ‘yowie’ hairs have been identified by labs as belonging to dogs, but control samples (in one case belonging to a lion) have been identified as dog too, so I think we can be sure that the analyses produced by some labs, or some individual researchers, are unreliable.

    I don’t know if the yowie hair data has been published. Cryptozoological data is all too infrequently published ‘properly’ (and it should be, even when results are negative), and this explains (in part) why most scientists are under the impression that evidence does not exist. Some comments that can be filed under knee-jerk scepticism (‘where are the droppings??’, ‘where are the hair analyses???’) represent naivety, but I don’t necessarily blame the ‘accusers’. I could – in total seriousness – make a whole publishing career out of tracking down and publishing (in the peer-reviewed literature) cryptozoological data… am virtually doing this already (veeeeeery slowly), but it won’t and doesn’t do me any favours. On this note, a technical paper analysing orang pendek hairs is currently in preparation. I am, based on the evidence to hand, pretty much convinced of the reality of this animal.

  63. #63 Richard Freeman
    January 22, 2010

    ‘Even if there’s no DNA left in it, hair can be identified down to species.

    Why hasn’t that happened? Finding hair that doesn’t belong to any known species would be an easy way to fame.’

    It has with the orang-pendek.

  64. #64 Dartian
    January 22, 2010

    Darren:

    On this note, a technical paper analysing orang pendek hairs is currently in preparation. I am, based on the evidence to hand, pretty much convinced of the reality of this animal.

    I don’t know if you were including me among the ‘accusers’, but, for the record, I’d like to point out that I didn’t mention the orang pendek in my comments and that that was quite deliberate…

    Also for the record: I think I would personally accept a good DNA sample as a ‘physical specimen’. But that’s just me, and I’m certain that quite a few other people would need more traditional evidence to convince them. So we’ll still need that stinkin’ cryptid’s stinkin’ carcass.

  65. #65 Darren Naish
    January 22, 2010

    Dartian, sorry for the misunderstanding: I was not including you among said ‘accusers’.

  66. #66 Donn Ahearn
    January 22, 2010

    I am curious: how much is known, or can be intelligently speculated, on exactly *how* the Aborigines got to (and radiated across) Australia?

    A pretty much planetary radiation occurred among Miocene apes. Is it not at least conceivable that a similar radiation – as yet uncaptured in the fossil record – sent rather closely related apes to North America, central/southeastern Asia, and Australia, across land bridges that existed to all these places at one time or another?

    I used to think the Yowie highly implausible. But there are too many uncertainties in our own evolutionary closet. And frequency and coherence in anecdotal evidence count for much (although without proof, interesting is all they are).

    If we don’t know how the indigenous people got to Oz, then there’s a pretty big puzzle piece missing. If marsupials could have gotten both to Oz and the Americas, why not apes? The absence of fossil evidence can’t be used to rubber-stamp a ‘no’ here (although I know you know that).

  67. #67 Cameron
    January 22, 2010

    I am curious: how much is known, or can be intelligently speculated, on exactly *how* the Aborigines got to (and radiated across) Australia?

    Presumably they used boats over the ~90km distance.

    A pretty much planetary radiation occurred among Miocene apes.

    “Worldwide” is certainly not synonymous with Afro-Eurasian.

    Is it not at least conceivable that a similar radiation – as yet uncaptured in the fossil record – sent rather closely related apes to North America, central/southeastern Asia, and Australia, across land bridges that existed to all these places at one time or another?

    There was no land bridge to Australia which existed at the same time as apes!

    I used to think the Yowie highly implausible. But there are too many uncertainties in our own evolutionary closet. And frequency and coherence in anecdotal evidence count for much (although without proof, interesting is all they are).

    Anecdotal evidence in cryptozoology is usually highly vague and often contradictory.

    If marsupials could have gotten both to Oz and the Americas, why not apes?

    Marsupials are Laurasian, so there was no barrier at all to getting to North America. Rather than going directly to Australia, they appear to have gone through South America and Antarctica first – where land bridges or at lest mild raft-able distances occurred.

  68. #68 David Marjanović
    January 22, 2010

    I could – in total seriousness – make a whole publishing career out of tracking down and publishing (in the peer-reviewed literature) cryptozoological data… am virtually doing this already (veeeeeery slowly), but it won’t and doesn’t do me any favours.

    If only I had an income, so I could donate some money…

    On this note, a technical paper analysing orang pendek hairs is currently in preparation. I am, based on the evidence to hand, pretty much convinced of the reality of this animal.

    :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)

    Now that’s a paper to look forward to!

    Marsupials are Laurasian, so there was no barrier at all to getting to North America.

    Metatheria is Laurasian (perhaps even strictly Asian) in origin. Marsupialia itself, the crown-group of Metatheria, is South American in origin, and the opossum went north just a few million years ago.

  69. #69 Malcolm Smith
    January 22, 2010

    Darren’s comment (at 62) that cryptozoological data are all to infrequently published ‘properly’ is spot on – and to a large extent this is the fault of the scientific establishment. The data is not published because it is considered pseudoscience, and this attitude is self-perpetuating. That leaves cryptozoology to the amateurs – which, of course, further lowers it in the eyes of the establishment.
    An example might be taken from Healy and Cropper’s book: the allegations of anomalous bite marks on trees. These are unsystematic observations, and I have deep reservations about them. However, a field biologist could quite easily be on the lookout for such things in the course of his normal activities, or even specifically check out sites recommended by a “yowie” expert. However, if he did, I can confidently make the following predictions:
    (1) If he found they could be reasonably be explained eg by the activities of cockatoos, it would not be considered worthy of publication.
    (2) If they couldn’t be so easily explained, and he even mentioned the word, “yowie” in his paper, the editor would refuse to publish it.

  70. #70 Donn Ahearn
    January 22, 2010

    OK, more questions.

    1) At what time was a land bridge speculated to exist between Australia and the Asian mainland?

    2) What evidence do we have that the Aborigines had the seafaring culture required to reach Australia? (Ignorance motivates this question. Do any Aboriginal populations possess such culture or have evidence of having done so?)

    Some of the yowie reports I’ve read just seem highly difficult to fit into any of the bins into which cryptid reports are generally tossed. And I haven’t seen anything that rules out the possibility of a nonhuman primate having somehow made the journey to Oz. Anecdotally, the swimming ability of the sasquatch – an ostensibly similar animal, yes, if it’s real – is a distinctive feature of reports; they’ve been observed miles out at sea, by reports for which, again, the usual bins just seem as funny a fit as simply accepting something unusual as a possibility. (And “rafting” is so quickly accepted that simply swimming – frequently reported for an apparently similar cryptid – shouldn’t be just as quickly ruled out, particularly with islands along the route to serve as way stations.)

    Too much about the yowie jibes too well with what has been reported for similar cryptids for me to feel comfortable with toss-offs like “folklore and legend”. The European “wildman” tradition clearly is such. For the animals we are talking about here, it’s nowhere near so clear. Which is why I’m glad to see such as Darren keeping an open mind.

  71. #71 William Miller
    January 22, 2010

    On this note, a technical paper analysing orang pendek hairs is currently in preparation.

    Wow, cool.

    Especially interesting because the areas orang pendek is reported from don’t seem to be THAT sparsely populated – jungle, sure, but not like the Amazon Basin or the Australian Outback. (Sumatra’s population density is comparable to Ohio’s.) If a cryptid can exist there mostly undetected…

    Are these hairs from Sumatra, or from some more remote/less populous island?

  72. #72 Cameron
    January 22, 2010

    1) At what time was a land bridge speculated to exist between Australia and the Asian mainland?

    There was never a direct land bridge from Asia to Australia.

    Interestingly, there is an area of transition between Asian and Australasian fauna (Wallacea, including Sulawesi) with some cuscus species along with babirusa, civets, tarsiers, and such – however, there’s no indication that any species larger than rodents made it all the way to Australasia.

    2) What evidence do we have that the Aborigines had the seafaring culture required to reach Australia? (Ignorance motivates this question. Do any Aboriginal populations possess such culture or have evidence of having done so?)

    Before they started using dugout canoes in the 17th century, indigenous Australians used bark canoes. So while they’re not exactly sea-faring, the Lombok strait should have been doable for the people.

    And “rafting” is so quickly accepted that simply swimming – frequently reported for an apparently similar cryptid – shouldn’t be just as quickly ruled out, particularly with islands along the route to serve as way stations

    While boats can make the distance, it’s rather telling that that the only animals to make it across are small enough to be capable of rafting. If hominids were present in Australia, then why not Babirusa, buffalo, palm civets, and so forth?

    David #68:

    I used the term “opossum” in the sense of Didelphimorphia – although it now appears that herpetotheriids and presumably Maastrichtidelphys meurismeti are non-marsupial metatherians. Peradectids are still considered didelphimorphs though, and were present in North America for more than just a few million years.

  73. #73 Dartian
    January 23, 2010

    Malcolm:

    If he found they could be reasonably be explained eg by the activities of cockatoos, it would not be considered worthy of publication.

    Don’t be so sure about that. In fact, to me your example sounds like exactly the kind of observation that very well could be published in, say, Emu or Wingspan or some other ornithological publication. One of the potential benefits of cryptozoological research is that during the process we may incidentally learn new things about known animals and their behaviour.

    Cameron:

    it’s rather telling that that the only animals to make it across are small enough to be capable of rafting

    It’s also telling that not even all of the small animals managed to make it across. Viperid snakes*, bufonid anurans, and caecilians, just to take a few non-mammalian examples, never managed to spread from Asia to Australia on their own. Not even all bird groups did; woodpeckers, for example, did not manage to cross the sea between Asia to Australia (most woodpecker species are notably reluctant to fly over long stretches of open water).

    * I hope I’m not insulting anyone’s intelligence by pointing out that the Australian death adders Acanthophis aren’t real vipers, but elapids. (They are also, by the way, one of my favourite examples of convergent evolution.)

  74. #74 David Marjanović
    January 23, 2010

    Peradectids are still considered didelphimorphs though

    Yes, sorry — though personally I wonder how long that hypothesis will last.

  75. #75 Laura Henson
    January 23, 2010

    So the “babboon statue” is most probably a hoax. What about China? Several books have claimed that a Chinese ship once landed in Australia. Could the Yowie be a distorted account of the Yeren, or more likely, some Asian monkey or even the orangutan? Not neccesarrily the actual animal, of course, but of art possessed by the seafarers?

    Even if th Chinese never came the story may simply have been passed on from the aborigines asian ancestors. This has happened before, the Yara-ma-yha-who was identified as the Tarsier by Bernard Heuvelmans. The oriinal tarsier of Asia being distorted into a vampiric spirit by generations of retelling the story verbally.

    Note that I do not think the Yowie is real, I am simply wondering how the myth oriinated among the Australian Aborigines. I also know that “gorilla” and wild man tales were quite common among Europeans during this time and have no doubt that these tales became incorporated into the native legends to create the modern yowie.

  76. #76 Michael O. Erickson
    January 23, 2010

    I’m certain that Sasquatch, Yeti, and Orang Pendek exist, I’ll accept “big birds” or “Thunderbirds”, I’m skeptical but nevertheless open-minded when it comes to most lake monsters (the Champlain and Okanagan creatures probably carry the most weight IMHO), and there may well be a kernel of truth to the Chupacabras.

    The Yowie is where I find many of my problems, but at least the concept might be considered halfway plausible – which is more than I can say for the ridiculously common and totally insane claims of living pterosaurs, plesiosaurs, and non-avian dinosaurs.

  77. #77 Cameron
    January 24, 2010

    I’ll accept “big birds” or “Thunderbirds”

    “Impossible” is such a strong word – but the notion that the largest extant volant avian is somehow flying around North America completely undetected by bird-watchers and ornithologists is ludicrous. If it was real, it would have been have been on the Great Seal of the United States.

  78. #78 Graham King
    January 24, 2010

    I have no commitment to the truth or falsehood of the Yowie idea, but think it unlikely – unless I see better reason to believe it.

    But to answer

    Why don’t yowies ever get killed by people? From that description, it sounds like their behaviour is very conducive towards eventually meeting the business end of a rifle or a shotgun.

    Maybe they do, and then the humanlikeness of the corpse gives the shooter the jitters, and they dispose of it to avoid trouble? This would be easy in remote parts.

    The history of the ‘Minnesota Iceman’ could be read that way, although of course it could be simply that fear of a profitable fake being exposed by expert scrutiny prompted its ‘retiral’..

    Even if not human, to have shot something nearer-human than any great ape might be correctly intuited by the shooter to lead to personal danger and notoriety (as least as likely as celebrity status and fame).
    Even if definitely animal, some individuals might consider the risk or unwelcomeness of publicity as too high a price to pay for making the facts known.

    Media are fickle and can as easily vilify as reward. It’s a big gamble where there’s no established precedent.

    A way to shift these odds away from secrecy towards disclosure might be:
    If there were to be an authoritative declaration made (jointly governmental, legal & scientific) that anyone shooting a Yowie and making its carcase (carcase not corpse) available to the authorities would not be committing a crime but a public service and would be generously rewarded (with a specified sum set aside in a bank account, or, income for life) and would also be assisted to remain anonymous if they wish, with a dedicated call-number.
    But how likely is all that to occur?
    And might such a declaration not have undesirable side-effects, notably, a rise in public suggestibility and flood of prank calls or hoaxes?

  79. #79 Mark Lees
    January 24, 2010

    Malcolm:
    Is that the ‘real’ Malcolm Smith? If so I loved your book. I came upon it by accident in a small book shop in Noosa while visiting Australia in 1996 – it is I think one of the best on cryptozoology I have ever read. A very balanced analysis.

    Laura:
    You mention that “the Yara-ma-yha-who was identified as the Tarsier by Bernard Heuvelmans” – Heuvelmans did indeed suggest that as an explanation – but I for one found that a very unconvincing.

  80. #80 Donn Ahearn
    January 24, 2010

    Above posts having closed at least a few loopholes of ignorance for me, I’m still left with the reports.

    Too many of them just seem too….why would these people do this? I can’t imagine myself doing it, nor pretty much any of the other people I know (or know of). There are always a few; but they seem spectacularly rare to me, and incapable of generating a literature with the frequency and coherence I see with Yowie (and yeti, and sasquatch) reports. This doesn’t sound like the legend and folklore, combined maybe with ancestral memory, that clearly make up the European “wildman” tradition. The reports sound, very clearly, like people of sound mind getting a really good look at something, far too good for them to be innocently mistaken about what they saw. They’d have to be either deliberately lying – and you have no way of persuading me that half, much less all, are doing that (professional rangers???) – or telling the truth.

    One thing that strikes me about hairy hominoid reports is how very far they are from the primal-sexual-fantasy popular conception of the ape (Tarzan/King Kong, for example). The animals are smaller, by quite a bit, in the reports than they are in the naïve popular perception, which latter also has them as lumbering (they don’t) vegetarians (they most emphatically aren’t) with giant genitalia (when genitalia are reported in males, they are uniformly reported as, well, challenged).

    Mainstream scientists like Darren have to couch everything in the mainstream’s cyni-skepticism. It’s a survival mechanism. But it says here what Darren says up there: whether or not hairy hominoids are real, the story will be one of the most fascinating in the spotty, star-crossed history of our species.

  81. #81 Donn Ahearn
    January 24, 2010

    The following passages of Darren’s deserve comment:

    “The most sensible conclusion is that the Yowie represents a combination of hoaxing, hallucination and witness misinterpretation, combined with the global folklore motif of the wild hairy-man.”

    No, not really. That is the most CONVENIENT (different thing) conclusion; and like the other convenient conclusions on the hairy-hominoid topic, it doesn’t even attempt to address the evidence, not to say touch the extreme statistical unlikelihood of a random concatenation of various kinds of false positive yielding what looks like biodata in its consistency. This is happening with the sasquatch; while I’m not as familiar with the yowie and yeti, I’d think that to rise to this level of prominence, something similar must be going on.

    “’Wild man’/mystery hominid sightings and legends don’t just come from Asia and North America; believe it or don’t, there are also accounts, legends and even recent sightings of such creatures from Hawaii, New Zealand, the UK and Spain.”

    Yes. Copycatting and misidentification happen. But in these places, there isn’t the volume, nor the consistency, that we’re talking about here (and UK and Spain have the whole wildman tradition, as leavened by the public prominence of sasquatch and yeti).

    “While there’s nowhere near enough Yowie evidence to make any hard-nosed sceptic properly pause for thought, some of the eyewitness accounts do, I feel, suggest that people have had encounters with peculiar creatures of some kind. Even if this is a naïve conclusion, we still have a fascinating cultural phenomenon here, and a larger question emerges: why do people claim to see wild, hairy, man-like creatures in the Australian bush?”

    Problematical indeed; but the accounts do indeed make that suggestion. Not sure that calling that a “naïve” conclusion does common sense justice. Generally speaking, we stake our day-to-day existence on things being just what they appear to be (as anyone could ask Oscar Wilde).

  82. #82 billybob
    January 25, 2010

    I’ll stick my neck out here. I am a fence sitter when it comes to the whole yowie thing but let me tell you about two little stories. My background is a lot of time in the bush hunting, trapping and generally exploring. I have served in the army (infantry) for 6 years and I was also a police officer for 9 years and am now a successfully business owner with alot to loose if I am lying about this.
    I won’t give out too much location details to protect myself a little. Both incidents I was armed and one I had a second witness.
    Mid 80s in Western Australia myself and an army buddy were in a very remote location on a large sheep station shooting roos at about 2 in the morning, we were in a section that we had been told by the owner not to go to because there was nothing but bush. Bit strange but for a number of years I shot at this property I did as he requested. That night we became lost and wound up where he said not to go. We shot a roo in a small clearing that was surrounded on 3 side by bush. We were about 50 m from any treeline and scrub. My mate was cutting up this roo for his dog and all was quite.from the bush to our direct front we heard a low growling and something large and very heavy moving in the bush. We shone the spot light on it but whatever it was it stopped. We couldn’t see anything.When the light was taken off it started moving again. This went on a few times. it was growling and kind of grunting. It sounded pissed off. I said as much to my mate.Then we noticed that it was circling us trying to get downwind of us. I said that only a preditor does that.I was armed with a .22 hornet and my mate had a semi auto shotgun with ssg’s. By this stage we were standing on the roof of the truck shitting ourselves. The other thing we noticed was that it sounded bipedal when it was moving, like a very very large man moving through the scrub.No it wasn’t a hog, i’ve hunted them and it wasn’t one. We then left in a hurry and found our way back to where we slept (about 6 to 7 km’s away) and had a very uneasy sleep. next morning we spoke to the station owner and he normally pulled the piss out of us and joked around about everything. This time he was serious and just said that we boys had been lucky and didn’t really say much more even when we pressed him on it. Cockies know what goes on on their farms so this struck us as odd.
    later on in life I read that a number of Yowie sightings occurred in the general area we were and at the same time period. I didn’t connect the dots till I read about the other sightings.
    Second encounter was in remote far north Queensland. I was there with my then Canadien girlfriend travelling around Australia. I had in my car a .303 lee enfield for crocs and other things etc. (those who know what im talking about know what im talking about)
    We stopped at a gorge to take in the views and had past a mob of small roos near where I parked, they were not the least bit concerned about us and the car. This area was very remote.I had not seen anyone on this track all day. after we looked around she decides she has to go to the toilet. off she goes back towards the gorge to take care of stuff. Im standing there by myself when I suddenly get the overwhelmimg urge that i am being watch. I look over at the roos and its not them.I have hunted roos for years and know what they look like when they are scared abd about to bolt. They had that look to them. They were looking 45% away from me towards the bush on the other side of the track (they were on my side of the track)
    What I sort of sensed I knew I wasn’t imagining it because they were reacting as well.I had this primeval panic go through me of impending doom and I opened the tailgate and was just starting to pull the rifle from the gun back when my girl showed up. I said nothing but got in the car quick. by the time we got back to the main track my fear had subsided and I cursed myself for being a big girl. when we reached the town we were heading for we went to the caravan park to rent a tent sight. I had completly forgotten about the incident by then but on entering the office I read in hugh letters on the wall “welcome to XXXXXXXXXX yowie capital of Asutralia” I went click. That could explain the incident I just had. I asked the woman at the counter if they had any (yowies) out near this gorge in question and she said ” oh god yes, the place is infested with them out there, a lady nearly ran oneover last week”.
    Now I didn’t see anything in both these strange incidents so im not claiming anything but both times I have never been more scared in my life, which is pretty big as I have been shot over, arrested and dealt with dangerous armed offenders, been in bar fights,crashed cars at high speed etc.
    people shouldn’t dismiss stuff out of hand untill they have talked to real people who have seen something, I know Im not lying so maybe they arent either. Well not all of them anyway.

  83. #83 William Miller
    January 25, 2010

    Yeah, I find the “thunderbird” claims even less likely than some of the “living dinosaur” claims (though I hasten to say I don’t believe the latter either!) simply because of the area they are claimed from. Papua New Guinea, the Congo, etc. are remote & difficult-to-study places, dangerous to go to, enough that almost anything that existed there could reasonably go uncollected by scientists. But the US has enough birdwatchers that a population of “thunderbirds” would be immediately detected. The only “new” bird species from North America in a century (not a split but an actual new discovery) is the Gunnison sage-grouse, and that was missed because it looks almost entirely identical to the Greater sage-grouse.

  84. #84 Daniella Perea
    January 25, 2010

    The South Hills crossbill (_Loxia sinesciuris_) was named as a new species in 2009… not that this has anything to do with ‘thunderbirds’!

    Benkman, C.W., Smith, J.W., Keenan, P.C., Parchman, T.L. & Santisteban, L. 2009. “A New Species of the Red Crossbill (Fringillidae: Loxia) From Idaho.” The Condor 111 (1): 169-176.

  85. #85 Dartian
    January 25, 2010

    Sorry if it seems like I’m insisting on being a ratbag, but some pretty strong comments have been made in this thread and they should be commented on.

    Laura:

    the Yara-ma-yha-who was identified as the Tarsier by Bernard Heuvelmans. The oriinal tarsier of Asia being distorted into a vampiric spirit by generations of retelling the story verbally.

    Is Heuvelmans the only source for this fabulous claim, and does it have any support in the form of comparative linguistics? What specific Australian Aboriginal language uses the word Yara-ma-yha-who and from which ‘Asian’ language is it supposedly derived?

    Graham:

    Maybe they do, and then the humanlikeness of the corpse gives the shooter the jitters, and they dispose of it to avoid trouble?

    If the creature in the Patterson-Gimlin film (which provides us with pretty much the only even halfway good information we have at the moment) is real, I can’t see how that could be a reasonable universal explantion. ‘Patty’ looks much more like a bipedal gorilla than like a human.

    Besides, I was referring there to Darren’s mention that yowies ‘pursue people with what was interpreted as predatory intent’ (emphasis mine). If you thought that something – or someone – is coming at you trying to eat you, would you hesitate to try and defend yourself or your loved ones by any means necessary? And what judge or jury would find you guilty of murder under such circumstances?

    Donn:

    the legend and folklore, combined maybe with ancestral memory, that clearly make up the European “wildman” tradition

    Actually, from a biogeographical point of view, a sasquatch-like hominid in Europe would be far less problematic than one in Australia (never mind New Zealand). And what makes you so sure that the European reports must be false? Since Mystery Hominids seem to be living absolutely everywhere else on this planet’s land surface, regardless of habitat or proximity to humans, why not in Europe too? (Btw, there are also reports of yeti-like creatures from the European parts of Russia and from the Caucasus.)

    professional rangers???

    Well, why not? A couple of years ago in the US there was an elaborate and much-publicised bigfoot hoax case, where one of the perpetrators was an active duty police officer.

    The animals are smaller, by quite a bit, in the reports than they are in the naïve popular perception

    Huh? At least in the case of the North American sasquatch, these things are almost always described as larger – sometimes much larger – than even the largest male gorillas ever recorded.

    vegetarians (they most emphatically aren’t)

    So in addition to everything else, the yowie is also Australia’s largest terrestrial carnivore?

    in these places, there isn’t the volume, nor the consistency, that we’re talking about here

    What volume, and what degree of consistency, would be sufficient to convince you?

    Billybob:

    it sounded bipedal when it was moving

    What would it have sounded like if it was quadrupedal?

    We then left in a hurry and found our way back to where we slept (about 6 to 7 km’s away) and had a very uneasy sleep. next morning we spoke to the station owner

    Did you, or anyone else, return later to the same place – in daylight – to look for footprints or other signs?

    And have you reported these incidents to any local cryptozoologists yet? It seems like you could provide them with valuable information of two precise locations where it could be highly worthwhile to conduct field research (and perhaps put up some trail cameras in suitable locations). If yowies really are territorial, as some people seem to be certain that they are, surely they might be still there, in pretty much the same exact locations?

    welcome to XXXXXXXXXX yowie capital of Asutralia

    If yowies are so dangerous, why use them to attract tourists (and possibly put people in serious danger)?

  86. #86 johannes
    January 25, 2010

    This explains the presence of a non-human primate in Australia ;-D:

    http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/122680933/abstract

    Back to serious: How could a Jurassic Primate hypothesis – if you can call it a hypothesis – pass peer review?

  87. #87 David Marjanović
    January 25, 2010

    What specific Australian Aboriginal language uses the word Yara-ma-yha-who

    That whole yh business doesn’t even make sense. Perhaps Heuvelmans copied a typo for th? And wh is strange, too.

  88. #88 Dartian
    January 25, 2010

    Johannes:

    How could a Jurassic Primate hypothesis – if you can call it a hypothesis – pass peer review?

    Beats me. That paper seems utterly bizarre. I noticed that it lacks an ‘Acknowledgements’ section; perhaps nobody else wanted to have his or her name associated with it?

  89. #89 Donn Ahearn
    January 25, 2010

    Responding to Dartian’s comments:

    Actually, from a biogeographical point of view, a sasquatch-like hominid in Europe would be far less problematic than one in Australia (never mind New Zealand). And what makes you so sure that the European reports must be false? Since Mystery Hominids seem to be living absolutely everywhere else on this planet’s land surface, regardless of habitat or proximity to humans, why not in Europe too? (Btw, there are also reports of yeti-like creatures from the European parts of Russia and from the Caucasus.)

    @@@@There are very few reports from Western and Central Europe, and every one I am aware of is a pretty obvious hoax. Not so with the animals we are talking about here; the hoaxes don’t even resemble the reports. The yeti-like creatures you mention for Russia, however, do have an intriguing consistency and frequency of reports, that don’t sound anything at all like hoaxes.

    [professional rangers???] Well, why not? A couple of years ago in the US there was an elaborate and much-publicised bigfoot hoax case, where one of the perpetrators was an active duty police officer.

    @@@Aware of that one. Apples and oranges. (Oh, it’s easier to get a job, in the US at least, as a cop than as a ranger. ;-) )

    The Oz ranger gave a very detailed account, which squares well with similar accounts by many other qualified people (oh: rangers are more wildlife-qualified than cops, too). While “cop” may lend credence to a report like the ranger’s, because we’re not expecting cops, any more than rangers, to run around making themselves trouble by lying, bad apples do happen, and this one was clear. Serious sasquatch researchers knew the hoax you speak of was a load of crap from the get-go; it had every “obvious fake” marker (including the main perpetrator, Tom Biscardi, a known crap-seller) from the start.

    Huh? At least in the case of the North American sasquatch, these things are almost always described as larger – sometimes much larger – than even the largest male gorillas ever recorded.

    @@@@Well, no. Most reports I have read put the weight squarely in gorilla/orangutan range. Big ones do go (estimated, granted) 600 pounds, and, sometimes, up. Ask anyone who doesn’t know the evidence, though, and they will say sasquatches are 11 feet tall and weigh half a ton. The reports I have read with that frequently-quoted size I could count on the fingers of a hand…and I have read hundreds. And, being estimates, I wouldn’t necessarily go to the bank on those few. Frequency and coherence argue for an animal gorilla size to somewhat bigger.

    So in addition to everything else, the yowie is also Australia’s largest terrestrial carnivore?

    @@@@And if it exists, why wouldn’t it be? Why argue something counter to the evidence, when it’s easier, more scientific (by a way lot), and just plain more fun to keep an open mind about things that plain people plainly say they are plainly seeing?

    What volume, and what degree of consistency, would be sufficient to convince you?

    @@@@NOTHING OTHER THAN PROOF CONVINCES ME. Nor should it anyone. (Although some technically qualified people say the sasquatch is essentially proven to them. They’ve taken a much more detailed look at the evidence than you or I have.) Only if I saw one – or saw its existence documented by the scientific mainstream, and reviewed that documentation – could I consider myself convinced. Short of that, a story from the person I trust most in the world is just that, a story. Any ONE person could be mistaken.

    That said.

    When I see hundreds of reports, and click off, with metronomic regularity, field mark after field mark, substantiated by many, many reports I have read, from people who are describing not monsters but wildlife encounters, the way someone might describe a robin, or a fox…well, I’m thinking that we shouldn’t just toss this and ridicule the evidence, because won’t we look really really stupid if we’re wrong?

    I’ll say two more things, pertaining to both the sasquatch and yeti:

    - I am aware of no other natural phenomenon backed by so much evidence that has ever been found to be a false positive;

    - I am aware of no one who has near my acquaintance with the evidence for either of those animals who doesn’t think what, at the very least, I (and Darren) think: that finding out whether they are real or not is a worthwhile scientific pursuit that should not be hooted down. As I like to say: a true scientist NEVER scoffs, because the unknown is what science has always been about.

    And if the sasquatch and yeti are real, why not the yowie? I once laughed at it; but now I just can’t be so sure.

  90. #90 Valagos
    January 25, 2010

    I am one of the believers in the concept that most of the more believable cryptids are just cultural carryover stories about ancient extinct creatures. However that only poses the question of just for how long can we humans pass down oral folklore. That would be a very interesting paper, although probably not for this blog.
    In my native Central America we have our own half-mythological cryptid (thank God, it’s not an ape-man). It’s called the ‘cadejo’ and is often associated as an omen of the devil or of angels, depending on the color. This creature is said to be found in regions of thick bush and is almost universally described as somewhat larger than a large dog, heavily built with a powerful snout and a peculiar body gait in which the front legs are frequently described as larger than the hind limbs, with a thick, furry and shiny overcoat (usually black, although greyish and ghostly white specimens are occassionally sighted), reddish and highly reflective (some say luminous)eyes, and a deep throaty groan. The cadejo is said to sometimes follow people from a distance on lonely rural paths and on some instances even chase stray individuals for short spans, but nearly never actually attacking the bone chilled unlucky wanderers.
    I’ve heard endless recounts of the tale and I can’t help but wonder how much this creature ressembles the very real black bears (in either it’s north or south american iterations). There are no modern bears in Central America, but several species obviously crossed this land bridge en route to South America. I don’t think that an isolated remnant population of bears has somehow managed to go undetected (Central America is way too narrow and too overpopulated for such a population to go undetected).
    Perhaps people are only perpetuating and occassionally vividly self-deluding themselves into reviving the memories of an age in which our native american ancestors had to deal with this creature in our local ecosystem. But that would mean the story has been around for quite a few thousand years perhaps (I understand bears haven’t been here since the late pleistocene)! That’s a remarkable amount of time for a story to perpetuate orally…

  91. #91 DA
    January 25, 2010

    Valagos says: “I am one of the believers in the concept that most of the more believable cryptids are just cultural carryover stories about ancient extinct creatures. However that only poses the question of just for how long can we humans pass down oral folklore…”

    One thing I find really interesting about the yeti, sasquatch and yowie is that there seems to be a rich oral experience among both the aboriginal inhabitants and Europeans. “Naive Indian legends” don’t tend to jump cultures like that.

  92. #92 David Marjanović
    January 25, 2010

    @@@@

    You can use HTML here. This:

    <blockquote>text<blockquote>

    will show up as this:

    text

    That would make your comments easier to read.

  93. #93 David Marjanović
    January 25, 2010

    <blockquote>text<blockquote>

    ARGH! Sorry! The second one has to be </blockquote>! Otherwise you end up with nested blockquotes.

  94. #94 Michael O. Erickson
    January 25, 2010

    I usually tend to be more sympathetic than most to heterodox or “new and radical” claims/hypotheses/theories; But, having read the abstract, there is really only one scientifically-minded response that I can give to the recently published Jurassic Primate Hypothesis. Here goes:

    ROTFLMAO
    __________

    [Oh, and suddenly, Feduccia's arguments for a non-dinosaurian origin of birds are sounding scientific. Amazing what the Jurassimonkey hypothesis has accomplished! ;^)]

  95. #95 Raymond
    January 25, 2010

    This article is quite interesting.

    http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/53219/title/Ancient_hominids_may_have_been_seafarers

    Apparently stone axes as old as 130,000 years are known from Crete. The comments further down indicate a Homo erectus femur recovered from Sardinia.

    Looks like the Hobbit may not have been a once-off.

  96. #96 Dartian
    January 26, 2010

    Donn:

    every one I am aware of is a pretty obvious hoax

    and

    don’t sound anything at all like hoaxes

    How, eaxctly, do you tell a hoaxed eyewitness report from an authentic one? By intuition? And what if your idea of an ‘obvious’ hoax is different from mine (as, in fact, I’m almost certain might be the case)? In short, if there is some practical and, above all, objective way of evaluating the authenticity of eyewitness reports, I’d very much like to know what it is.

    For example, how about you laying out in some detail an analysis of, say, all “bigfoot” reports coming from Spain*, and then demonstrating to us on what grounds you can confidently conclude that they’re false? (Note that you can’t use the ‘There are so few of them’ cop-out; that’s a subjective a priori judgement and besides, we’re interested in assessing the quality and not the quantity of the observations.) That kind of demonstration would be quite useful to “yowie sceptic” and to “yowie believer” alike, as a method of sorting the wheat from the chaff.

    * I got the impression from what you wrote in comment #89, that you’re familiar with those reports and that there aren’t that many of them, so the task shouldn’t be too difficult.

    Most reports I have read put the weight squarely in gorilla/orangutan range. Big ones do go (estimated, granted) 600 pounds, and, sometimes, up.

    First, an animal the size of a gorilla or an orangutan is still pretty damn big by primate standards. Second, accurately estimating the height/width/length of an animal or a person under the kind of circumstances we’re talking about here is difficult enough, but to say anything about the creature’s weight…? Can you say ‘unacceptably large margin of error’?

    if it exists, why wouldn’t it be [Australia's largest carnivore]?

    Because usually, the largest species in terrestrial ecosystems are herbivorous. The yowie being a carnivore would be yet another thing about it that’s just totally unexpected in the light of what we know about the trophic interactions in this planet’s biota, and does thus require yet more special pleading to explain. (Incidentally, the largest primate that we know of, the extinct Gigantopithecus, seems to have been a bamboo specialist judging by the wear patterns on its teeth.)

    Why argue something counter to the evidence

    As long as eyewitness reports of the yowie’s dietary habits aren’t supported by objectively verified hard data, their value as scientific evidence really is very limited.

    As for open-mindedness, or my insinuated lack thereof… It’s hardly improper to note that, at least thus far, your (or anyone else’s) open-mindedness does not really seem to have taken us one jot closer to demonstrating the existence of the yowie.

    people who are describing not monsters but wildlife encounters, the way someone might describe a robin, or a fox

    So what’s your assessment of Billybob’s encounters? Robins, foxes, wild boars and the like don’t usually evoke such intense, primal fear – panic, even – in well-armed, experienced hunters.

  97. #97 seabold
    January 26, 2010

    Primates in Oz? Of course there are. And they don’t leave footprints because they can fly. ;)

    Seriously though, someone mentioned an attack on someone’s dog earlier…I remember reading something about kangaroos having an almost unnatural hatred of dogs, is that true?

  98. #98 David Marjanović
    January 26, 2010

    “Unnatural”? What about dingos?

  99. #99 DA
    January 26, 2010

    Dartian: there is a whole lot to respond to here, so much that I’m not even sure how I want to go about it. So I guess I’ll just dive in.

    As to this:

    “How, eaxctly, do you tell a hoaxed eyewitness report from an authentic one? By intuition? And what if your idea of an ‘obvious’ hoax is different from mine (as, in fact, I’m almost certain might be the case)? In short, if there is some practical and, above all, objective way of evaluating the authenticity of eyewitness reports, I’d very much like to know what it is.”

    All I can tell you is that, to me, an obvious hoax is something that squares in no way with what APPEAR to be – that is APPEAR, and how can one know short of confirmation of the animal? – honest reports by apparently honest people reporting what they honestly think they saw. About 99% of the video evidence I have seen is a slam-dunk toss, because the animal looks, precisely, like a guy wearing a suit. Sighters describe something that doesn’t look human or have human proportions (and that does many things a human can’t, let alone one in a suit). Absent clear evidence that they were lying, mistaken or on drugs, does automatically presuming them liars or mistaken make sense? WHY would they do this? Again, virtually no human I’m aware of concocts stuff like this for fun (unless they want to have some fun on Youtube). They have no product to sell, no notoriety they want (so many go to great pains to ensure that no one ever finds out who they are), no handle, no evidence at all but their eyes; and they jeopardize friendships, jobs and their social lives in general to insist they saw this – when there’s either no way to be sure, or they just didn’t? No one I’ve ever met would do it. Period. And to just say, sure they would, is to just say, sure they might not have. Again, absent confirmation, how can we know? Which puts the kibosh to “objective,” because until the reports are shown to describe a confirmed animal, one can’t be. One can only wonder, and keep an open mind. Particularly when the proposition certainly seems feasible from a biological standpoint. It seems crazier – out and out conspiracy-theorist, in fact – to presume history’s most massive false positive than to simply hold open that folks may just be describing something they are seeing.

    And as to this:

    “For example, how about you laying out in some detail an analysis of, say, all “bigfoot” reports coming from Spain*, and then demonstrating to us on what grounds you can confidently conclude that they’re false? (Note that you can’t use the ‘There are so few of them’ cop-out; that’s a subjective a priori judgement….”

    Just like the subjective a priori judgment that it CAN’T be real because, well, well, it just CAN’T BE. :-) There is NO repeat NO evidence supporting that judgment, is there? No.

    And this:

    “and besides, we’re interested in assessing the quality and not the quantity of the observations.) That kind of demonstration would be quite useful to “yowie sceptic” and to “yowie believer” alike, as a method of sorting the wheat from the chaff.”

    Fair. And here’s what I think is sufficient: if a lot of reports look very consistent in what they are describing, a perfectly scientific approach is to discard outliers and focus the search on the very consistent thing that is being very consistently described by people who don’t seem to have a motive other than reporting something they saw, or an impairment that seriously affected their judgment. How can one – how has one ever – come to a conclusion from an armchair? I am only asking people who have not looked at the evidence to the depth I have to keep an open mind on the subject, so that someone who wants to use his or her time on this subject isn’t dissuaded by laughter before they even start. (I hate groupthink, and believe it’s science’s biggest impediment. I’m not asking anyone to “believe,” because this is about evidence and not belief, and the evidence for hairy hominoids, while not proof, is strong enough to persuade quite a few scientists.)

    As to

    “* I got the impression from what you wrote in comment #89, that you’re familiar with those reports and that there aren’t that many of them, so the task shouldn’t be too difficult.”

    I am aware of the ones I have seen (few); and am utterly mystified that in all of the research I have done I haven’t come across the “Spanish bigfoot,” other than those few (all of which are videos, of guys in suits, or isolated reports). Remember, one or two or three people can be wrong. When thousands are describing the same kind of animal? Don’t we want to at least wonder what is going on with those people? Again, frequency and coherence tell scientists where to look. And Spain is no such place; I for sure wouldn’t go there first. If I listed them (that takes time!) you would just say: how are they different from what we are talking about here? And all I would have to say – and it suffices for anyone who has really looked at the evidence – is: there are SO MANY in the latter case, and they are SO CONSISTENT, that a scientific mind could not do a detailed review without thinking: Hmmmm. Right, Darren? ;-)

    But I have an open mind. If anyone can show me the Spanish Bigfoot Database, I’m on it. I laughed at the Yowie once, too; the data told me, you should never laugh if you want to look smart later.

    As to (and I apologize here; HTML and I need to become better friends, sorry):

    “First, an animal the size of a gorilla or an orangutan is still pretty damn big by primate standards.”

    Which means that it can’t exist, or shouldn’t, or….? OK, it’s pretty damn big. I’d want to know what it was, that’s for sure. ;-)

    “Second, accurately estimating the height/width/length of an animal or a person under the kind of circumstances we’re talking about here is difficult enough, but to say anything about the creature’s weight…? Can you say ‘unacceptably large margin of error’?”

    I can say: why are so many estimates – almost all – so much smaller than the naive popular perception? And so consistent? That isn’t odd? They are GUESSES. I get that. But those guesses have an odd tendency to cluster – that doesn’t seem from my read to result from copycatting, but from the person’s honest attempt to guess. (How do I know? Short of confirmation how does anyone?) What I want to know is: what prompts a closed mind on the subject? That question intrigues the HECK out of me.

    “Because usually, the largest species in terrestrial ecosystems are herbivorous.”

    Polar bear. Straight carnivore. ;-) Unless you want to count whales which is a stretch; and they’re really, when one gets down to it, carnivores aren’t they? Does one whale subsist wholly on plants?

    “The yowie being a carnivore would be yet another thing about it that’s just totally unexpected in the light of what we know about the trophic interactions in this planet’s biota…”

    Which makes the yowie problematical. (And almost certainly, if I had to bet, an omnivore, subsisting mainly on plants like bears – other than the polar bear – do.) Models describe what is known. They make no allowances for what isn’t, other than to say, that isn’t confirmed yet. Evidence makes me wonder, no matter what models say. Again, an open mind is all I’m asking here. And there are scientists backing me up on this (right, Darren? ;-) ) Ask them. I’d want to know how THEY got to where they are. And I’ve talked to a few. Including John Mionczynski and John Bindernagel, wildlife bioligists – and noted sasquatch proponents. And how they got there? The evidence led them there, just like it did me. In fact, their science has them saying “yes;” while I’m still open to this not being real. (Although quite unable to conceive what the heck is happening if it isn’t real.) So why are they saying yes? Boy I would want to know that. I really would.

    I have a hard time convincing people that I am a SKEPTIC on this question, just like Darren is. This may be because most scientists have always approached science as building on what is known. Dealing with evidence for something for which there is no knowledge base on which to build seems quite beyond many scientists (not talking present company here, just saying). It mystifies the heck out of me that the skeptical scientists insist on NOT talking to the scientific proponents. The latter are my last word. My read of the evidence dovetails with theirs – but they have gone the extra step to say, I’m convinced. Why? My presumption is that their time in the field pursuing this has gotten them to where they are. I am quite OK, based on my read and on theirs, to call the question open, and to await the proof. I just don’t understand scoffing; and wish that scientists would cut that out when scientists who have looked at the evidence dispute them. That’s all.

    As to:

    “As long as eyewitness reports of the yowie’s dietary habits aren’t supported by objectively verified hard data, their value as scientific evidence really is very limited.”

    Well yes. As in: it ain’t proof. What you are looking for in that passage is something that only science can provide, as we have delegated to science the responsibility and authority for proof. All the proponents can do is submit evidence for review, which they have.

    “As for open-mindedness, or my insinuated lack thereof… It’s hardly improper to note that, at least thus far, your (or anyone else’s) open-mindedness does not really seem to have taken us one jot closer to demonstrating the existence of the yowie.”

    True. Science has to pick up the cudgel to do that. Until they do, we are relying on amateurs. Go to any website and you can get a good idea of how much time amateurs with ‘real’ jobs get to spend on this topic. Which leaves us stuck, for the nonce, where we are.

    “So what’s your assessment of Billybob’s encounters? Robins, foxes, wild boars and the like don’t usually evoke such intense, primal fear – panic, even – in well-armed, experienced hunters.”

    Those responses crop up, over and over and over again, in sasquatch encounters by well-armed hunters (and in an encounter by a US Special Forces team, and a yowie runin by an Aussie SAS team). Why? Durned if I know. But I sure would like to know. (And unarmed observers have simply observed, unafraid – OK, some were paralyzed by fear, but some weren’t – and at relatively close range. As I suspect I would act if I ever encountered one. People are just different, eh?)

    That’s a lot to write. You may have to read it over a few times; I know I would. ;-) But my bottom line is Darren’s: This sure has me intrigued. There is as much saying it’s real as there is saying it’s poppycock.

    The Spanish bigfoot? Not so much. :-D

  100. #100 kris
    January 26, 2010

    Thanks all for this fascinating discussion!
    (While doing field work in Australia on an entirely non-yowie related topic, I must admit that I was more often than not puzzled by folklore, legends and tall tales from black and white alike — the storytelling culture of the bush seems to be one that the average “scientific” Central European mind doesn’t wrap around too easily. Still, at no point did I hear anything that would have struck me as a likely case of “collective memory”. )

  101. #101 DA
    January 26, 2010

    I should add something here.

    I got where I am on this by reading, in detail, HUNDREDS of reports on the sasquatch and yeti, and several very good books on the topic (and no, there aren’t many, and most people read the wrong ones). My sample for the yowie is far smaller than for the above, but seems to have a lot of common markers. You will not get where I am by reading me. You have to DO WHAT I DID. Or else just say, I’ll keep an open mind on this, and wait for what happens.

    That’s research for you.

    (I also found tracks once, with my girlfriend in a remote and I do mean that area of northern CA. No, no hoax. But neither here nor there.)

    And I will sum up, because the volume of my comments means I need to. :-D

    1. Frequency and coherence are the absolute sine qua non of scientifically-testable evidence, and hairy hominoids meet both tests;

    2. Fully qualified scientists, in almost ridiculously relevant fields, AGREE WITH ME and even go farther than I do (although for the oddest of reasons – or at least none that I can figure – no one wants to talk to them);

    3. As Oscar once put it: It is a shallow man indeed who does not judge by appearances. ;-)

  102. #102 Billybob
    January 27, 2010

    Just to clarify some of what I posted before.
    How did I know the diffence between bipeadal and quadaped?
    Its has to to with the cadence of the step. I’ve hunted animals and people and there is a distinct difference. Even cats that tend to put the rear foot in the front foots print sound a bit different to a walking or stalking human. Its a bit hard to explain completely but experienced people will know what I mean.
    In the mid 80s when the first incident happened at the time we were unaware of what may or may not have been stalking us. The farmer in question was very evasive about it and didn’t realy seem to want to talk about it (which knowing him was a bit odd) and I wasn’t a policeman at the time I was just a teenage grunt out shooting with his army cobber which is why I didn’t go back to look for evidence of anything unusual. Obviously today I would have done it differently.
    I had heard of bigfoot/yeti/yowie at the time but the thought didn’t occur to me till the second incident happened and I looked a bit harder at what happened that night.
    The second incident happened at the porcupine gorge lookout access rd which comes off the kennedy development rd in the porcupine gorge national park. The town I went to where I saw the sign in question is Hughenden. I hope that clears that up. This happened in November 1992.
    As to why armed men don’t shoot these things (if they are real of course) is that the panic that comes over you is very strange, very primordial feeling. As I stated before i,ve had bullets wiz past my head, arrested dangerous armed criminals etc but that fear is diffent and not as intense as what I felt during both encounters. The first time we spoke about staying put and shooting it out if need be but we just thought we didn’t have the firepower to take this thing in the bush. The second time I was pulling a much heavier hitting rifle out of the bag but my girl came back so I thought better to bug out.
    As stated before I am a fence sitter although I lean to the, they do exist side, a bit for obvious reasons.I believe that if these things do exist they are most likely omnivorous like a bear,human and chimps.
    Hope that helps……

  103. #103 Dartian
    January 27, 2010

    Donn:

    No one I’ve ever met would do it.

    Lest you forget; the argument from personal incredulity is weak currency, particularly on a science blog.

    I am only asking people who have not looked at the evidence to the depth I have to keep an open mind on the subject, so that someone who wants to use his or her time on this subject isn’t dissuaded by laughter before they even start. (I hate groupthink, and believe it’s science’s biggest impediment.

    You are very quick to jump to the conclusion that scientists don’t bother with the yowie because they ‘haven’t looked at the evidence’. How do you know that they haven’t looked at it? Based on my own – admittedly limited – experience*, a surprising number of scientists are aware of the cryptid hominid reports. (As for myself, not that it really matters, but Myra Shackley’s Wildmen was a formative volume for me in my youth.) Maybe it’s just that some of us ‘sceptics’ are people who have simply given up on a subject that eternally keeps on defying resolution? As long as no physical evidence shows up, how could we study this even if we wanted to? Maybe, after having waited for years and decades for some substantive evidence to come in, we have each on our own (i.e., not through any ‘groupthink’) come to the conclusion that in this case, either A) they might exist, but we can’t find them or study them, so why bother?; or, B) the most likely explanation for the continuing absence of evidence is that the evidence really is absent?

    * I base this on, e.g., the fact that I’ve seen quite a few cryptozoological books on other scientists’ bookshelves. (I know, because taking notice of the contents of other people’s personal libraries is for me a force of habit.)

    you would just say: how are [the Spanish reports] different from what we are talking about here [i.e., the yowie in Australia]?

    Well, duh! Getting an answer to that was the whole point of my question!

    in all of the research I have done I haven’t come across the “Spanish bigfoot,”

    What research have you done? Have you been to Spain, and interviewed people there? Do you speak or read Spanish or Catalan? Or have you just made a couple of google searches in English and deemed that sufficient?

    Polar bear. Straight carnivore. ;-) Unless you want to count whales

    You missed the word ‘terrestrial’ in my original question. Aquatic ecosystems are different from terrestrial. (And the polar bear, while mostly living on land, is de facto part of the marine food chain in the Arctic.) You’ll have to try again.

    Go to any website and you can get a good idea of how much time amateurs with ‘real’ jobs get to spend on this topic.

    I know that René Dahinden took sasquatch seriously, and that he spent 40 years looking for it in the field in British Columbia, the heartland of North American sasquatch sightings. And that for all his efforts and all his enthusiasm, he never even found as much as a sasquatch footprint, much less saw the animal itself.

    As I said before: at the end of the day, being a sceptic or open-minded regarding the yowie makes no difference as long as no-one is be able to bring in the physical evidence.

    Billybob (thanks for the clarifications):

    the panic that comes over you is very strange, very primordial feeling

    This is, in my opinion, the single most weird aspect about all these Mystery Hominid sightings (or, as was the case in these particular instances, non-sightings). Is there any known animal that causes these kinds of reactions in people, under any circumstances?

  104. #104 William Miller
    January 27, 2010

    There is no ‘historical’ (=before cryptozoology became widely known) tradition of Bigfoot-like animals in Europe, AFAIK. (The European wildman/wodewose tradition does *not* refer to anything Bigfootlike, despite the opinions of certain overzealous writers of cryptozoology books. It’s generally quite clear that the wodewose/wildman is a wild-living human, of exceptional strength and hairiness sometimes, but human; and the descriptions which are not so clear seem to quite clearly be mixed up with Greco-Roman satyr/faun myths.

  105. #105 Dartian
    January 27, 2010

    William:

    There is no ‘historical’ (=before cryptozoology became widely known) tradition of Bigfoot-like animals in Europe, AFAIK.

    So when, exactly, have those alleged Spanish “bigfoot” sightings been made? In the 1990ies? In the 1920ies? In the 1850ies? It’s that kind of specific information that I’ve tried to ask Donn Ahearn to share a couple of times already in this thread, thus far to no real avail.

  106. #106 Darren Naish
    January 27, 2010

    Very interesting discussion you guys have going here. My personal take on some mystery hominids (orang pendek and sasquatch in particular) is that a properly sceptical look at the evidence leads to the conclusion that these creatures most likely exist. So, I agree with such biologists as George Schaller, Jane Goodall, Jeff Meldrum, Daris Swindler and John Bindernagel… which isn’t to say that I agree with them because of who they are (the ‘argument from authority’), but rather that my assessment of the data has led me to the same conclusion.

    Some scientists who have expressed an opinion on this subject have not been properly sceptical at all (I am not referring to anyone who has posted comments here at Tet Zoo)… and let’s note for the record that sceptic does not mean ‘debunker’ or ‘nay-sayer’, or anything like that, it means ‘one who doubts’. Scientists are meant to be sceptical about everything, because we’re always open to the idea that new data can come in and cause us to overturn our hypotheses, no matter how cherised. Rather than being sceptics, some have played the role of debunker, using cheap tricks and personal incredulity to state from the start that such creatures are impossible. I say that what data we have (on such things as footprints, body impressions, behaviour reported by eyewitnesses, morphology and gait as inferred from sightings and photographic data, and hairs) suggests that (chooses words carefully…) we should indeed remain open-minded to the possibility that these are real animals awaiting official recognition. I have also found the ‘debunking’ explanations pretty unconvincing. By no means is anyone else expected to agree with this, and there is no question that more, and better, data is needed. Well, duh.

    Of course, none of this helps us with regard to the Yowie, seeing as the quality of evidence is currently very poor, in my opinion.

    And, changing subject… maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned the supposed Spanish cases. There are a handful of them; I’m aware of them thanks to Roche’s (2001) article on ‘bigfoot-like’ creatures from western Europe. There are two alleged Spanish sightings from the late 1960s, and one or two incidents from 1993: one involved a group of speleologists, and another a group of palaeontologists. I did think that both cases represent the same story (apparently they don’t) but, whatever, the accounts are poor. Sergio de la Rubia-Muñoz apparently documented additional accounts in the Winter 1995 issue of The Info Journal. There are also claimed recent (recent = since the 1950s) sightings of Bigfoot-like creatures from Scotland, Italy, Sweden, and Norway, and there are claimed historical accounts (from the 1700s or 1800s) from France and Croacia. The modern accounts – we really are talking about a handful, like one or two from each country – are all suspicious, low on detail, or (in cases) come from highly suspect sources (like Ivan Sanderson or Jan-Ove Sundberg). So, like I said, I probably shouldn’t have drawn attention to this stuff in the first place. It has no bearing on the authenticity or otherwise of data from elsewhere in the world.

    Ref – -

    Roche, J. 2001. Bigfoot-like beings sighted in western Europe. Crypto, Hominology Special Number 1, unpaginated.

  107. #107 DA
    January 27, 2010

    Darren: thanks! you saved me a WHOLE lot of writing. ;-)

    But as that hasn’t stopped me before….:-D

    Dartian: frequency and coherence ARE ALL in scientific searches for unknowns. I already know (and Darren ably backs me up) that in Spain, neither one is there. I don’t care who made the sightings. When they are that few, you can lay them to possible false positives, and confidently look elsewhere for your testable evidence. It simply isn’t worth gearing up to go to Spain to find this critter; there are richer veins, and any prospector knows they provide the best payoff per tap. One of the things that has lowered cryptozoology in the eyes of the so-called hard sciences is that unseemly latching onto things that don’t have the depth to impress any scientist as evidence. If you are so impressed with the Spanish Bigfoot, tell us why. We promise to pay attention – if frequency and coherence are there. Otherwise, it’s just a Spaniard in the works. ;-) (BTW: The European Bigfoot, same thing. Not looking anwhere else – west of the Caucasus – there.)

    As to Rene Dahinden: he had to support himself with a real job. He spent nowhere near the time a scientist needs to spend in habitat to confirm a new species. Done. Amateurs spend most of their time on this topic trying to get science’s attention, not searching themselves. This is very as it should be. The an$wer to “why” i$ pretty obviou$, becau$e time is, well, you know what it i$. And $cience ha$ more of that to burn than amateurs. (No $ there, because $ is something amateurs do NOT have.)

    You say “You are very quick to jump to the conclusion that scientists don’t bother with the yowie because they ‘haven’t looked at the evidence’. How do you know that they haven’t looked at it?”

    Simple. I have never, and that would be NEVER, heard a scientific opinion come down negatively on any hairy hominoid that did not display – almost immediately – a comprehensive ignorance of the evidence. (On average, I’ll have you down for four errors in your first 30 seconds.) They don’t look. They spout, though; because they have to be seen as experts, and an open mind on this topic is the slow sound of your money tap grinding shut. (Which is why most of the ones who *have* looked at the evidence either keep their mouths shut, or spout ‘nonsense’ and hope the proof comes soon, ’cause they’d love to be wrong on this, and a little white lie on behalf of baby’s new shoes never hurt anyone.)

  108. #108 DA
    January 27, 2010

    Darren: I should also add that your take on the yowie is mine too.

    Aside from the “primary plausibility” issue, the depth of accounts is lacking (although it justified a crackin’ book, which from my abbreviated read I might want to at least pick up at any library that will deign to carry it. ;-) ). But there are accounts that, as with you apparently, just have me shaking my head. And when that’s what you’re doing…well, maybe you don’t drop a team in on indefinite yowie stakeout tomorrow. But an open mind, that you keep.

    And good mini-treatise on skepticism. I’m a skeptic; and consider the term a misnomer for most who style themselves such on this topic. Skepticism is, and always, QUESTIONING comfortable assumptions – including the comfortable assumption that this just ain’t real.

  109. #109 DA
    January 27, 2010

    Dartian: you ask “This ["primal fear" reaction] is, in my opinion, the single most weird aspect about all these Mystery Hominid sightings (or, as was the case in these particular instances, non-sightings). Is there any known animal that causes these kinds of reactions in people, under any circumstances?”

    Well, gorillas have been known to emit an odor that Dian Fossey, and I believe others, have described as “gagging” in encounters. I’m not sure of any other animal that generates this fear reaction (which yowie, if they’re real, share with sasquatch; I haven’t heard of it for yeti, but may not have seen enough accounts). But it could be due to a pheromone or other airborne molecular emission generated in response to stress, that’s been selected for as adaptive. A very strong (sometimes overpowering) odor has been reported in conjunction with many sasquatch encounters. But the fear response sometimes appears to happen without an associated odor.

    Many people have reported a very strong “feeling of being watched” – often with an extremely strong fear component – in conjunction with either a visual sasquatch encounter or a non-visual experience – tree-shaking, vocalizations, heavy footsteps, branch breaking, “shadowing” behavior and the like – of the sort that have also been strongly linked with visual encounters. These people have often reported having that feeling of being watched many times, in the location of the encounter, without being able to link it to anything until the actual encounter occurred.

    It would seem to make sense that an ape living in a place with many potential predators – grizzlies and mountain lions and wolves and saber-tooth cats – might have found something like this very useful in passing on its genes. The yowie wouldn’t seem to have so many “natural” predators. But if the adaptation occurred in a common mainland ancestor – something that would make great sense if both animals are real – that would explain its presence (and of course with such as Thylacoleo and humans, it would still have considerable benefit).

  110. #110 seabold
    January 27, 2010

    Sorry, I should have worded that better. By “unnatural hatred” I meant to impart that I had read that kangaroos were predisposed to be extremely aggressive toward dogs, even ones that had no experience with dingoes (dingos?). I’ve heard the same about leopards. I’m not sure if that was true or not.

  111. #111 DA
    January 27, 2010

    Dartian: this also deserves comment.

    (Not my fault we’re both writing so much. OK, so it’s half mine.)

    “Lest you forget; the argument from personal incredulity is weak currency, particularly on a science blog.”

    Were I making that argument, you would have a point. But I’m not; I’m making a point about evidence. And about cryptozoology.

    The question “why would people do such a thing?” is a very very relevant question when researching ethnoknown animals. (Which is what we are doing here.) One has to decide – and there is subjectivity involved – what constitutes evidence worth following. Which means, one needs to ask: frequency and coherence of WHAT, exactly? Reports from drunkards? Drug addicts? Dodgy, and problematical. Reports from people who seem, prima facie, to be seeking attention? Biscardi. (Gesundheit!) Reports from locals who seem to gather in knots to snigger as the researcher walks away? Maybe not so much.

    Reports – many of them – displaying consistency – an eerie amount of it, on really subtle points of behavior and anatomy – from all kinds of people, of apparently sound reputation, who can’t be discerned to be doing anything but being honest, and certainly not sounding as if they could reasonably be making an innocent mistake (e.g., eight feet tall and on two feet and crossing a two-lane road in three or four strides, probably not a bear or a horse or a cow)…well, why the HECK would they be doing this?

    Good question; and before you postulate argument from incredulity, you better, if you are being true to science, have a good answer.

    Tossing off “oh, that’s not proof” is, well, duh! (I have seen, well, duh! several times on this thread. Odd, particularly on a science blog. ;-) ) Tossing off “oh, that’s weak currency” is…well…it is “a subjective a priori judgement and besides, we’re interested in assessing the quality and not the quantity of the observations.”

    Couldn’t agree more. ;-) And so, reports such as I am describing above are….well, if I’m getting that quality, in quantity, the scientist in me should be telling me to keep an open mind. And I’m giving them more credence than some dodgy accounts from, say, Spain. ;-)

    The question “why would people do such a thing?” is subjective. But when you don’t ask it – and think hard about the answers – you aren’t doing science a service. This is the thing about cryptozoology. It’s not putting chemicals A and B together to get C; nor is it studying a known animal to see what unknowns one can glean. In fact, the gorilla and okapi and kouprey and saola were confirmed by folks who, somewhere along the way, asked: who – and why, in the HECK – would make this stuff up?

  112. #112 Dartian
    January 28, 2010

    William:

    The European wildman/wodewose tradition does *not* refer to anything Bigfootlike

    What about Grendel in Beowulf?

    Darren:

    Jeff Meldrum

    Is Jeff ‘Bigfoot’ Meldrum the same Jeff Meldrum who is, in his own words, an ‘active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who views the Book of Mormon as an accurate, correct account of actual historic events that occurred on the American continent’? (Meaning, apparently, that he believes Native Americans to partly be of Mid-Eastern Abrahamic ancestry, even if that’s at odds with what modern DNA evidence says.)

    Donn:

    If you are so impressed with the Spanish Bigfoot, tell us why.

    I am not impressed by it at all. But I wasn’t the one who was categorically and confidently saying that it does not exist, you were. Now, I wouldn’t have minded that and wouldn’t have bothered to mention it if it weren’t for the fact that while you were dismissing the Spanish reports in a cavalier fashion – you even referred to ‘copycatting’ – you were at the same time making a big deal about keeping an open mind, and chiding others for not being open-minded enough. That’s inconsistency in my book; it rubbed me the wrong way and I was calling you on it.

    $ is something amateurs do NOT have.

    Tom Slick had, but that got us no sasquatch.

    He spent nowhere near the time a scientist needs to spend in habitat to confirm a new species.

    As an ornithologist colleague once said to me, ‘You only need to put up a mist net somewhere in the Amazon rain forest and the next morning you’ll find a wholly new species of Glaucidium owl in it’. Yes, that was slightly tongue in-cheek, but only slightly. As for cryptid hominids: If Dahinden’s effort was not enough, how much time do you need to find sasquatch, then?

    before you postulate argument from incredulity, you better, if you are being true to science, have a good answer.

    Sorry, but that’s not the way it works in science. The burden of proof rests entirely on those who are making extraordinary claims (such as having seen a 2.4 m tall unknown species of hominid in North America). Unless you have extraordinary evidence to show me (i.e., not only to tell me), I don’t need to provide any answer at all if I don’t happen to feel like it.

    All that would change in a heartbeat if good physical evidence was provided. Show me a molar tooth and you’ll have my utmost attention (as well as an earnest guarantee to do everything in my powers to see to it that you’ll get all due credit for the discovery). Until that kind of evidence exists… sorry, but there’s not much that a zoologist can do.

    And that’s what this all boils down to in the end. Even if I would just accept all those yowie/sasquatch/yeti sightings at face value and conclude that these things really exist – then what?

    How could I study them, even if I wanted to? They are clearly not to be found if you go delibrately out to look for them. They don’t turn up in the fossil record. They are seemingly never killed by accident or on purpose by people, nor do they, as far as we know, seem to fall victim to accidents, natural disasters, diseases or predation like known animal species do. On the other hand, in spite of having an astonishingly wide global distrubution and ecological tolerance, Mystery Hominids seem to be so rare as to not have any noticeable effect on the ecosystems they’re found in. (They are apparently not what ecologists would call keystone species.) As for their conservation status, they obviously need no legal protection – hunters probably couldn’t find them even if they tried to. And, in spite of occasional reports to the contrary, by and large they do not seem to constitute any serious threat to human lives (even though they may occasionally scare the crap out of people).

    Thus, for all practical purposes, cryptid hominids might as well not exist. Even with the best will in the world, they are seemingly perpetually beyond the reach of scientific inquiry.

  113. #113 Dartian
    January 28, 2010

    they are seemingly perpetually beyond the reach of scientific inquiry.

    …and ‘they’, I should add, might perhaps not include the orang pendek.

  114. #114 Darren Naish
    January 28, 2010

    Dartian: I understand that Jeff Meldrum is indeed a mormon. However, with all due respect, you’re playing a dirty little trick. You know as well as I do that we (as in, humans at large) ‘permit’ people to hold the most incredibly un-scientific religious beliefs, with it being widely thought that this does not effect the other judgements they might make. Yeah, go figure: I don’t get it either.

    But, whatever… In other words, I don’t see how this is relevant to the fact that Meldrum is a technically qualified primatologist. There is an essay online where Meldrum (make sure you search for the right Meldrum!) uses scientific data (predominantly DNA evidence) when arguing about the origins of Native Americans. I’d rather not link to it here.

  115. #115 Dartian
    January 28, 2010

    Darren: Sorry, I didn’t mean to play any tricks, it was a genuine question. Although, to be honest, it does disturb me when someone is cherry-picking scientific data (and DNA data, unlike eyewitness sightings, are hard, quantifiable, testable scientific data) in order to make them support his or her own preconceived notions. We are entitled to our own opinions, yes, but we are not entitled to our own facts.

  116. #116 Darren Naish
    January 28, 2010

    Well, my apologies too, as I shouldn’t have been accusatory. On Meldrum – I think you might have misunderstood. If I recall correctly (this is something I really don’t want to start discussing!), he was using DNA evidence to show that science does not provide support for the religious tenet in question.

  117. #117 Dartian
    January 28, 2010

    he was using DNA evidence to show that science does not provide support for the religious tenet in question

    Hmm, it seems that I’ve misread him on that point. My apologies.

  118. #118 David Marjanović
    January 28, 2010

    The an$wer to “why” i$ pretty obviou$, becau$e time is, well, you know what it i$. And $cience ha$ more of that to burn than amateurs. (No $ there, because $ is something amateurs do NOT have.)

    Science has a lot le$$ than you seem to imagine. (Unless there’s hope for more $ coming out of it – petroleum geology, cancer research –, but, obviously, that’s not the case here!)

    In fact, the gorilla and okapi and kouprey and saola were confirmed by folks who, somewhere along the way, asked: who – and why, in the HECK – would make this stuff up?

    Making stuff up and being honestly mistaken are two different things, even though they have the same outcome.

  119. #119 Billybob
    January 28, 2010

    Dartian,

    Thus, for all practical purposes, cryptid hominids might as well not exist. Even with the best will in the world, they are seemingly perpetually beyond the reach of scientific inquiry.

    Very good point mate.Your preceding paragraph was on the money also although i’m not going to get involved with any debate about Jeff Meldrum.
    I wish I had more to offer you (and myself) in proof.

  120. #120 William Miller
    January 28, 2010

    Grendel from Beowulf is not very “Bigfootlike” in description, being scaly and covered in spikes, clawed, and man-eating. Bigfoots (Bigfeet?) are usually described as hairy, with human or apelike hands and feet (not clawed talons), and nonaggressive toward humans.

    Furthermore, I don’t think it’s clear that Grendel was ever thought to be a real being – unlike woodwoses/wildmen, dragons, unicorns, etc. which at one time were believed to be real (and entirely natural; it was thought that if you managed to go to India or Africa – very rare for a medieval European – you could actually see dragons, unicorns, mantichores, etc.)

    If cryptid hominids are real, they are clearly rare and elusive. Actual discovery (=finding a dead one or shooting a live one) would probably require massive effort. However, the fact that we don’t find corpses isn’t *that* suspicious; corpses generally don’t last long in the wild. And if cryptid hominids exist and are really hominid, any bones, teeth, etc. that were found might be mistaken for (possibly pathological) human ones.

    I am generally pretty skeptical about Bigfoot [the North American one specifically; don't know enough about Yeti, orang-pendek etc to judge]; the one thing that strikes me as suggestive of a real creature is that the sightings tend to be distributed along habitat/biome lines. Presumably if they were a phenomenon of human mistakes their distribution would follow human distribution rather than being concentrated in certain habitats.

  121. #121 Cameron
    January 28, 2010

    Furthermore, I don’t think it’s clear that Grendel was ever thought to be a real being

    Thinking that Grendel is real is like assuming that there are giant polar bears from reading The Terror or that sewer-clowns live in Maine from IT – that is to say, ignoring fantastic attributes and taking things at face value.

    The concept of fiction is not a recent invention here people!

  122. #122 DA
    January 28, 2010

    Dartian: OK, let’s keep going here!

    As to the Spanish Bigfoot, you wrote “I wasn’t the one who was categorically and confidently saying that it does not exist, you were.”

    No I wasn’t. It might be real; Spain could be the only place they exist! I just wouldn’t bet anything on that, even if I could afford to lose it. The evidence says: don’t look for Bigfoot in Europe. I keep an open mind on the subject; I just wouldn’t tell scientists to go there to spend their limited money and time first (or second, or eighth, or 24th) to look. That is why frequency and coherence are all in searches for unknowns: you want to have a better chance of finding something when you look. Sending a major expedition to Spain is having such an open mind that your brains fall out. (I’d send one to East Texas, for the sasquatch, if I had to choose one place. Right. NOT to the Pacific Northwest. That’s what the evidence says to do.)

    You say “Tom Slick had (money), but that got us no sasquatch.”

    Ah, but it should have gotten us the yeti (or whatever that is), though. Slick’s Himalayan team was on the verge of the discovery when Sir Edmund, who should have stuck to climbing, got sent on a debunk/smear campaign that was so unscientific one winces to read about it (and one should). Slick had barely begun on the sasquatch when he died; his selection of a bunch of bickering amateurs, working at cross-purposes as they seemingly always do, killed that one from get-go. All the money in the world (and he spent a very small amount of what he conceivably had to spend, which when you are pursuing unknowns makes good business sense) will not make up for no unity of purpose and clashing personalities. (He almost got the yeti, in fact, IN SPITE OF those things. Just wasn’t as bad on that team as it was on his bigfoot squad.)

    As to this:

    “As an ornithologist colleague once said to me, ‘You only need to put up a mist net somewhere in the Amazon rain forest and the next morning you’ll find a wholly new species of Glaucidium owl in it’. Yes, that was slightly tongue in-cheek, but only slightly. As for cryptid hominids: If Dahinden’s effort was not enough, how much time do you need to find sasquatch, then?”

    Note: we are talking established search protocols, based on those for known species in the same genus, with similar ecological niches, in the above case. Apples and Ganymede; one knows where to put up mist nets for owls, or where to search for lizards and tree frogs similar to what is already known (the “new species” is from an already-known genus). As to the sasquatch: think Jane Goodall. Birute Galdikas. Dian Fossey. That kind of time (and that kind of money, the time being more important and if you can find someone like them, the money will go much farther). And they were “searching” for known animals. Much was already mapped as to where to look for them. So, for a species for which no knowledge base at all exists other than reports almost exclusively by non-technical sighters, and that apparently lives alone like the orangutan but apparently ranges much more widely than any known ape, you are going to take a lot more time just to see one. The random sightings by amateurs are rarely anything but a few seconds’ worth, which won’t fill more than a notebook page and will tell you little about where the critter came from, or where it’s going. But there is enough to start with, if the time is there (and it will be a lot).

    And in response to my “before you postulate argument from incredulity, you better, if you are being true to science, have a good answer.”

    You say “Sorry, but that’s not the way it works in science. The burden of proof rests entirely on those who are making extraordinary claims (such as having seen a 2.4 m tall unknown species of hominid in North America). Unless you have extraordinary evidence to show me (i.e., not only to tell me), I don’t need to provide any answer at all if I don’t happen to feel like it.”

    I’m sorry, but you are wrong here; and that is where evidence (and ignorance of same) come in. You are right in that that’s not the way it works in day-to-day, deduce-from-what-we-know science. But in cryptozoology, which if it is going to be a science is going to need new rules, oh it most certainly IS how you work. And as to burden of proof, just to use one example, the argument that all the evidence for the sasquatch amounts to history’s biggest false positive presents itself, to anyone familiar with the evidence, as a PREPOSTEROUS thesis, which must be defended under the extraordinary-claims canard. (This is why I say that if you know what I know about the sasquatch, you MUST think, at minimum, what I think. The evidence leaves you no out that you can defend without making “a subjective a priori judgement.” Thanks for that!) ANY entry in a scientific debate, which is what this is, must be defended by evidence. To say anything else is to allow a hooting troop of scientific chimpanzees to simply direct a fire hose of ridicule onto anything with which they aren’t comfortable, which I’ll be darned! is what is happening with hairy hominoids, and is the ONLY reason we don’t know, up or down, yet. The proponents have long since made their case for science to look, which is all they can do; the scientific scoffers, with their nothing-to-see-here-people hooting, are driving away both the time and the money. I am OK with a scientist saying, I await the proof. Anything else, however, other than an open mind to the evidence as embodied in that statement, is “a subjective a priori judgement” (thanks for that!)

    And you can’t say “there is NO WAY to prove a false positive in the case of the sasquatch.” Yes, there is: you debunk reports and evidence, case after case after case, showing conclusively that they are something else, until you have cast such doubt on the remainder that one can feel comfortable tossing it, for practical purposes, too. Too difficult to do that? That’s a cop-out. If you plead that, you have essentially stated: let the investigation proceed, with all seriousness, because there is nothing to impede it that makes sense.

    You say “All that would change in a heartbeat if good physical evidence was provided. Show me a molar tooth and you’ll have my utmost attention (as well as an earnest guarantee to do everything in my powers to see to it that you’ll get all due credit for the discovery). Until that kind of evidence exists… sorry, but there’s not much that a zoologist can do.”

    What you are talking about is, essentially, PROOF. There is plenty for zoologists to go on, if they are interested in following EVIDENCE. Maybe not for the yowie; but for the sasquatch, I could tell any scientist – heck, he could check out himself – what the most promising locales are from the anecdotal evidence, which has the frequency and coherence to support me. Shoot, that’s how they found the gorilla, right? Before they had a gorilla, they had tales from the natives of a giant that squeezed women to death. But they, um, FOLLOWED that, and look what they got. There’s much more for the sasquatch and yeti (and we may get there soon – or maybe not – for the yowie) than that.

    But there’s more:

    “How could I study them, even if I wanted to? They are clearly not to be found if you go delibrately out to look for them.”

    Um, that is an, let me see here….ah, there…”a priori subjective judgment” (thanks for that!) unsupported by the evidence. Virtually every stay of three days I read about by a group attempting to do this scientifically comes up with several incidents for which no known species could be culpable…but a bipedal ape could. Then everyone has to go home to their real jobs. More evidence, quite a bit more; but nothing that would persuade people who have already convinced themselves. Photos? Wild animals are, essentially, impossible to photograph, except captives; acclimated to humans; or (wait for it)…subjects of an intensive search, by trained specialists who know what to look for. For weeks, or months. (Or in the case of videotaping the Bornean rhinoceros, ten years.)

    “They don’t turn up in the fossil record.”

    Neither do any animals for which we haven’t found fossils, yet. Operative word, YET. The red panda and the chimp and gorilla tell us: one cannot extrapolate to current existence from the fossil record. (Hint. The Bering Strait might be (have been) a good place to search for fossils here. Think anyone is doing that any time soon?) If someone, probably several someones, hasn’t dug up and discarded anomalous bones in the course of construction, prospecting, spelunking, fooling around, pipe/line laying, etc., and then tossed them ‘cause, well, what do you do with cow bones? I’ll eat my hat.

    “They are seemingly never killed by accident or on purpose by people,”

    Several accounts dispute you, including the detailed account of a Manitoba hunter who killed one in 1941 – with one shot – and examined the body. You can say, that’s just one. Sure. But his description of what he shot is, well, it’s a bigfoot. (He saw the Patterson/Gimlin film, more than a quarter-century later, and said to himself, heeeey, I shot one of those.) They’ve been hit by cars, wounded by people. Are those accounts real? Well, finding the animal might help us figure that out. (And I get tired of hearing “someone would have xxxxx by now.” That is an “a priori subjective judgment,” with which some basic knowledge of human nature does not come attached.) Oh. I’m not sure how many animal carcasses get counted after predation, natural disasters, etc. If you couldn’t find a specific grizzly after one such event, well, a specific sasquatch might evade you too. Especially if you weren’t looking for one. (Oh. A CA motorist once saw a sasquatch – at close range, he didn’t mistake a known animal, and was very clear on the bipedal gait and “simian face.” The animal was running from a forest fire burning on one side of the road. So much for unaffected by natural disasters. Oh, only one report. Riiiight. But the nature of the report; the YES, APPARENT!!!!! reliability of the witness; and the description of the animal have many hundreds of contemporaries.)

    “Mystery Hominids seem to be so rare as to not have any noticeable effect on the ecosystems they’re found in. (They are apparently not what ecologists would call keystone species.)”

    Biologists don’t know what to look for – unless they’ve read the anecdotal evidence, which is ripe with such stuff. There is impact, alright, beaucoup such, consistently reported. In temperate ecosystems, however, such doesn’t show up the way whole groves of plants destroyed for their pith do in the tropics. Deer evidence, for example, is hard to see except for what ISN’T there, e.g., undergrowth. And the sasquatch, from the evidence, has big diet overlap with both known herbivores and known carnivores, and carcasses have been found, of animals violently dealt with, the modus operandi coinciding with no known animal – but quite conceivable for an animal such as the sasquatch is consistently described.

    “As for their conservation status, they obviously need no legal protection – hunters probably couldn’t find them even if they tried to.”

    The single most frequent source of encounter reports, other than motorists? I’d have to count to be sure; but I’d make a bet – using the money I saved on the Spanish Bigfoot – on hunters. (Sure “one of them would have shot…..etc.” That’s an “a priori subjective judgment.” Almost no hunter account but comes up with an outstandingly good human reason the hunter didn’t shoot. And other than the one above, at least two hunters have, and either killed or quite seriously wounded their target. Sure those reports are fake. That’s an “a priori subjective judgment.”)

    “And, in spite of occasional reports to the contrary, by and large they do not seem to constitute any serious threat to human lives (even though they may occasionally scare the crap out of people).”

    To presume that they would threaten people – and the enormous weight of the evidence says, clearly, that they by and large don’t – is an “a priori subjective judgment.” To presume that they would behave exactly like other predators – which actually, for the most part, at least in North America, avoid us too – is an “a priori subjective judgment.”

    A phrase has wended its way, copiously, into the above. (Not “well, duh!” :-D ) “A priori subjective judgments” are, as you note, NOT how science should work. Isn’t it much easier – to say nothing of displaying the curiosity without which science is pretty much not doing anything – to just keep an open mind, and review the data, or at least say, well, I haven’t seen the data but I keep an open mind, rather than grasping at every straw one can dismiss using an “a priori subjective judgment”?

    (And I should note that, once again and no surprise, no one addresses the scientists whom the evidence has convinced to start drafting sasquatch management plans. But no, not there yet for the yowie. Operative word: YET.)

  123. #123 DA
    January 28, 2010

    David M:

    My reference to $$$$$ does not imply that I think Science big S is rolling in it. (“Science is not about the search for truth; it is about the search for funding.”)

    It’s that scientists who get together and say, we should look, are more likely to get what $$$$$ is lining the sides of the barrel than some Georgia farmer who done seen him a Bigfeet (or some amateur conservancy whose science is darn near impeccable, but they’re looking for Bigfoot, ferpetesake).

  124. #124 William Miller
    January 28, 2010

    Cameron @121: Certainly Beowulf as we have it is a work of fiction; but it may be based on older legends. And some have suggested a cryptozoological origin to those legends.

    However, I don’t believe it; no reason to – Grendel fits too well as a purely fictional creation for there to be any reason to suggest this.

  125. #125 William Miller
    January 28, 2010

    No reason why bigfoots would be a threat to humans. Perhaps they are largely herbivorous, and the animal matter they eat is not from large live prey (eating carrion, small animals, insect larvae out of rotting logs as some bears do…) A bigfoot (presuming it is a real animal) would lack claws, and a humanlike face and mouth would preclude effective catching of prey by biting; it wouldn’t be a particularly effective predator. Certainly it sounds like it would be strong enough to overcome a human, but if it doesn’t have predatory instincts, it wouldn’t.

    Incredibly speculative idea about the ‘primal fear’ reaction: reproductive isolation mechanism left-over from a time when non-human hominins were common? Presumably (if hybrids were sterile) being revolted by the presence of non-human hominins might have been a selective advantage… (Could this explain the ‘uncanny valley’ phenomenon too? Just a wild speculation…)

    I am not saying bigfoots (bigfeet?) are real. HOWEVER… IF you wanted to have the best chance of finding them IF they are real… you’d probably want to spend months in the TRACKLESS forests. Get more than a mile or so from roads in places like that and you’re in an area where hardly anyone ever goes. It wouldn’t be an easy trip, it would be a lot of rough camping in far backcountry. (If they exist at all, they are fairly elusive; so go places where humans usually don’t.)

    East Texas might be a good choice (I’m not certain of this, but I’ve heard bigfoot sightings are focused east of the 36″/year line on a precipitation map of Texas) – but US sightings are extremely centered in the Pacific Northwest, and began there, so I think that might be the best spot.

  126. #126 William Miller
    January 28, 2010

    we (as in, humans at large) ‘permit’ people to hold the most incredibly un-scientific religious beliefs, with it being widely thought that this does not effect the other judgements they might make. Yeah, go figure: I don’t get it either.

    Probably because it usually doesn’t. I know plenty of Creationists (living in an area where that is common) who are entirely rational on everything else; in fact, they greatly outnumber the Creationists I know who aren’t. It’s not rational … but very little of human nature is.

    Something related to the tendency to draw a bright line between the religious and non-religious realms of thought? (AFAIK, this is basically a Western thing and doesn’t appear in e.g. Confucian thought?)

  127. #127 DA
    January 28, 2010

    William Miller:

    Right on Grendel, far as I’m concerned. That’s a pure and simple Monster Tale in the European Wildman Tradition. No reason to connect it to any animal, speculative or otherwise. It’s a red herring to try that, anyway: OK, so we have this one hairy tale. Now. Where does one go with it? Without frequency and coherence, nowhere.

    Then you have the sasquatch, yeti and yowie sightings, which are clearly *wildlife,* not *monster,* encounters. We know where they happen, and where they cluster; and the subject is consistently described and frequently seen by more than one person.

    Now, as to “bigfoot (presuming it is a real animal) would lack claws, and a humanlike face and mouth would preclude effective catching of prey by biting; it wouldn’t be a particularly effective predator.”

    Anecdotal evidence includes: an extremely detailed report (by a hunter) of a female sasquatch killing a 125-pound wild hog with its fist, in under four seconds, while he watched from his tree stand, after a stalk that made a mountain lion look, well, like an equal at best; many accounts of deer predation, including accounts of an animal chasing a healthy adult deer…and gaining; and many reports of livestock – including cattle and hogs 200 pounds and up – being carried off and killed. These accounts are provided by apparently sober and reliable sources.

    If one believes the anecdotes, North America doesn’t have a more efficient predator of big game. (In the West, elk are believed to be a key food source.) And the problem with not believing them is: well, is there good reason NOT to? That doesn’t involve an “a priori subjective judgment?” Chimps kill antelope, monkeys, and wild pigs. (And other chimps.) And they are, from the evidence, not only smaller but slower than sasquatch.

    I don’t know what the fear response comes from; but it is so consistently reported that it appears to have some sort of biological source, whatever that would be (to me, a pheromone is a possibility).

    My choice of East Texas comes from one factor: easier to cover. More roads, less forest, lots of potential food, and enough of a population to account for regularly reported sightings. But if you told me, nope, we’re going to search in the PNW, I’d say that’s a good choice too. (My track find was in extreme – and extremely remote – northern CA, almost hard by the Oregon line.)

    And I agree with you that stakeout well off the beaten path is at least one of the techniques that will have to be tried (some amateur groups do that now…but three days ain’t cuttin’ it, other than to come up with some hairy – figurative and otherwise – stuff that doesn’t amount to proof).

    And nothing is more unreliable than to assess a scientist by his religious beliefs. Complete uncoupling is practiced by most of them, I suspect. So you are more than right on that one.

  128. #128 David Marjanović
    January 28, 2010

    the YES, APPARENT!!!!! reliability of the witness

    The easiest person for you to fool is yourself.

    For the bigfoot or whatever to not exist, it is by no means necessary that everyone who claims to have seen one is lying. Not even close.

    “Science is not about the search for truth; it is about the search for funding.”

    :-D That goes into my quote folder. :-)

    the ‘uncanny valley’ phenomenon

    What’s that?

  129. #129 DA
    January 28, 2010

    David M:

    Yes, you’re right about people’s ability to fool themselves. But to use a presumption that that is happening as a prima facie excuse not to review the evidence should make any scientist uncomfortable, I’d hope. I think the more reports you have, the less likely that’s happening.

    I also think (apropos your comment that no, they don’t all have to be lying) that the more causes one postulates for false positives, the more unlikely it becomes that the frequency and coherence clearly seen in the sasquatch evidence is present. In other words: it’s enough of a stretch to say that lies behave as biodata. When one says that internal consistency is happening to a random concatenation of lies hoaxes hallucinations and honest mistakes, my eyebrows go up, ’cause in the world of probability I think most of us inhabit, that just ain’t likely. It’s much easier, when one is trying to understand the phenomenon, just to presume that these people are just honestly reporting something they saw (putting the reasons they’re wrong into the discussion seems to be postulating pluralities, and not exactly what Occam would do), and then start wondering why the thing they are reporting seems so unlikely to you. It’s how I came to realize that the sasquatch going into the 21st century unconfirmed, yet seen by thousands with their own eyes, is a very plausible thing. None of the shapeshifting orbing supernatural woo-woo bury-their-dead “explanations” are needed. Nothing more is required than an unreasoning incredulity on the part of Western science, and society in general, on this particular topic. (Which may be largely driven by the religious beliefs of the culture; after all, WE are made In God’s Image, and nobody else.) That’s all. And in the scientific response, it’s a pretty clear pattern to see.

    Any time I add to somebody’s quote box it’s a good day. :-)

  130. #130 William Miller
    January 28, 2010

    ‘Uncanny valley’ is when something that looks almost but not quite human disturbs people. Some early CGI animations of people (in movies, games etc) fell afoul of this, but I think they’re past it now.

  131. #131 William Miller
    January 28, 2010

    (Which may be largely driven by the religious beliefs of the culture; after all, WE are made In God’s Image, and nobody else.)

    I think a bigger factor is the assumption that the world is totally explored or close to it. The world may have almost 7 billion people, but we’re so unevenly distributed that some areas are still practically unknown…

  132. #132 William Miller
    January 28, 2010

    (I wish we could edit comments here… sorry for posting so many in a row…)

    Right on Grendel, far as I’m concerned. That’s a pure and simple Monster Tale in the European Wildman Tradition.

    I’d argue that it has more to do with the Norse trolls and giants than wildmen, if it’s related to any other myth at all and not just a one-off literary creation (I think it was, though possibly inspired by troll stories)… wildmen/woodwoses aren’t usually man-eaters AFAIK, or described in quite so inhuman ways (Grendel had huge talons and scaly, spiky skin too hard for swords to cut).

    If one believes the anecdotes, North America doesn’t have a more efficient predator of big game. (In the West, elk are believed to be a key food source.)

    OK, maybe so. But I’d balk at the idea that they’re mostly carnivorous; game management is taken pretty seriously in those places and if they took *that* many game animals I think it would be more noticed.

    I don’t know what the fear response comes from; but it is so consistently reported that it appears to have some sort of biological source, whatever that would be (to me, a pheromone is a possibility).

    Possible, but human sense of smell is so poor compared to other mammals that I’m pretty skeptical of pheromones doing anything major in us.

    My choice of East Texas comes from one factor: easier to cover. More roads, less forest,

    It’s these two that bother me — I’ve heard there used to be bigfoots reported from areas in Texas that are now covered up in urban sprawl out of the Houston area. I’m wondering if Texas bigfoot habitat is getting worse…

  133. #133 DA
    January 28, 2010

    William Miller: I think we’re both in agreement that wherever Grendel and his dam came from, it ain’t a real animal. Grendel is pure archetype; sasquatch reports don’t read like ape archetype at all.

    I wouldn’t think that sasquatch are mostly carnivorous. But if they had a higher percentage of meat in the diet than bears, I might not be shocked. It does appear that when they decide to hunt they’re pretty good at it.

    I’d consider the absence of encounters involving predation on humans minimally problematical, as I’ve said. But people go missing regularly in North American backcountry. One might wonder somewhat about the ones who aren’t found. :-D

    And count on it: TX bigfoot habitat is getting worse. “It’s developed now but wasn’t at the time” is a very common factor in TX sightings. This does seem like an animal which – like the whitetail deer and black bear – can thrive on the fringes of humanity. But core refugia, I’d think, are essential to sustaining a population.

  134. #134 Howard
    January 28, 2010

    To paraphrase Sidney Wang, “Wake me when Yowie come near bed.” Or Sasquatch, for that matter.

  135. #135 kris
    February 1, 2010

    I’m really not sure Grendel has anything much to do with this; he is much more of a supernatural or demonic creature than a mystery hominid. Or if he isn’t, than he is -at least in the text that has come down to us with the obvious christianity of the author/scribe- a plain human — albeit a cursed one. Don’t forget he is referred to as a “descendant of Cain” and “loathed by God” — we can take that quite literally.
    (The dragon in the second part of the epic is not described in such terms.)

  136. #136 DA
    February 1, 2010

    Kris: I’d say both that Grendel doesn’t have anything to do with this, and that it’s pretty much a red herring using myth and legend to explain hairy hominoid reports.

    Simple test: how many “native myths and legends” translate into the modern experiences of Europeans? Pretty easy answer: none. Look at medicine; it’s only very recently that the medical profession has given aboriginal cultures’ remedies any credence at all. Our concepts of deity differ markedly from theirs; we never adopted belief of the supernatural powers they ascribed to animals that we recognized; one could go on and on and on. (Smoke a peace pipe lately? Trade wampum? Didn’t think so.)

    Fact is, here’s what translates directly from their cultures to ours: our day to day experience of the environments that our cultures have shared in common. Their “legends” of the sasquatch, for example, and the yeti differ from the reports of moderns in the exact same way that their “legends” of the animals we acknowledge differ from our own experiences of those animals.

    Like the other scoffs science tosses at this topic, there isn’t a shred of support for the belief that these things persist because we have a need for them. Just ask almost everyone who reports a sighting how badly they needed that. Red herring, plain and simple; and a unwarranted distraction of attention from evidence which commands all the attention we can give it. Period.

  137. #137 Howard
    February 1, 2010

    I think there are culture-dependent ways that people interpret unusual experiences. For instance, the “Old Hag” phenomenon associated with sleep paralysis is interpreted in a culture-dependent way, perhaps as an incubus/succubus, an alien abduction, or the Old Hag herself. Yet there remains a cross-cultural similarity in that *some* “person” who is not quite human is very often involved. This experience is very powerful, even for those who know about sleep paralysis. Someone who claims to have seen the Old Hag may not be telling the objective truth, but that does not mean he is lying.

    With the Old Hag on one end and pareidolia on the other, it would not be surprising if “bigfoot” experiences are in some way analogous — partly biological, partly cultural, neither a lie nor an objective truth. That would explain the diversity of reports for sasquatch (sometimes naked except for his fur, sometimes wearing old clothes), the swamp ape, and the Michigan dogman more neatly than the alternatives: (1) not one but several man-like bipedal animals coexist with man in North America, yet they never leave a body for scientists to examine (though bodies frequently show up in remote times, especially, and sometimes places), (2) some of these reports (perhaps sasquatch) are, for reasons that are not obvious, more accurate than others (perhaps the dogman).

    Like I said, wake me when Yowie come near bed. Or Sasquatch, for that matter.

  138. #138 Tim Morris
    February 2, 2010

    “The European wildman/wodewose tradition does *not* refer to anything Bigfootlike, despite the opinions of certain overzealous writers of cryptozoology books. It’s generally quite clear that the wodewose/wildman is a wild-living human, of exceptional strength and hairiness sometimes, but human; and the descriptions which are not so clear seem to quite clearly be mixed up with Greco-Roman satyr/faun myths.”

    William Miller – It should be noted that some advocates of bigfoot and yeti actually BELIEVE these creatures to be some strain/tribe of wild-living human. I am one of those people. I think the likelihood of a near-human surviving into the present day is negligible. It is far more parsimonious to claim that a bigfoot is an incredibly hairy HUMAN, than some miraculous relic.

  139. #139 DA
    February 2, 2010

    Howard says “it would not be surprising if “bigfoot” experiences are in some way analogous — partly biological, partly cultural, neither a lie nor an objective truth. That would explain the diversity of reports for sasquatch (sometimes naked except for his fur, sometimes wearing old clothes), the swamp ape, and the Michigan dogman more neatly than the alternatives:…”

    There is a large body of evidence, as consistent as it is for any known species, that doesn’t include clothing, or anything else that would make anyone say “human.” That’s why all the books and articles and websites. (And blogs like Darren’s.)

    One may expect outliers, and no, I couldn’t tell you what is inspiring them. (Except that there are liars and attention-seekers everywhere you go.) But the reports of clothing, clubs, language, etc. are sporadic and incoherent. The reports of what sounds like a bipedal ape behave, in the aggregate, like one would expect the reportage of a species to behave.

    William Miller: I’m not sure I agree with “hairy human” reflecting parsimony. I don’t think parsimony is the issue when the evidence says, this isn’t human. The evidence could be wrong in that respect; as at least one proponent says, we may have some very odd apples hanging on our family tree, and a specimen might expand our definition of “hominid.” (Proponents use “hominid” rather than “-oid” way too much for my comfort; but heck, they could be right.) That said: there really isn’t any reason to believe that “the likelihood of a near-human surviving into the present day is negligible,” in my opinion.

  140. #140 CP
    February 2, 2010

    But, to bring it back to the original subject, the likelihood of a surviving hominid/hominoid isn’t the same in all regions. In Eurasia and Africa there’s a long and diverse fossil record. In the Americas, there’s no fossil record but it’s at least conceivable that a population could have crossed the Bering Strait land bridge during a previous glacial period. However, the probability of such a species reaching Australia appears to be negligible. So, it would seem reasonable to use Australia as a “control”–to view the quality and quantity of Australian sightings as the baseline for reports that are derived from a combination of misinterpretation, hoaxes and “neurological” factors. Then, it should be possible to get at least a rough idea of the probability that reports from elsewhere are based on real populations by comparing them to the Australian material.

  141. #141 DA
    February 2, 2010

    CP: intriguing thought. Let’s talk about it.

    I harp on frequency and coherence, because in my opinion, ANY phenomenon displaying those qualities is, prima facie, worthy of open-minded consideration by science. (In my opinion, really, scientists should NEVER scoff, absent evidence. You tell me mummies walk at night; you tell me I’m a ghost; I’ll just say to you: show me the evidence.)

    My understanding of the yowie is that we may or may not be there on the frequency and coherence. The “outliers” that make it tough for me – three-toed tracks; prominent fangs; what seems to be a pretty wide variance in description – seem to be not so much outliers as such things are for the sasquatch and yeti. But I may not have given the evidence a good enough read, so I have to reserve judgment on that. IF THE QUALITY OF THE OZ SIGHTINGS CAN BE ASSESSED – i.e., if we know that these are false positives, and we know why, and there aren’t enough unknowns left to get excited over – now we might, indeed, have something against which to compare. (Frequency and coherence do NOT mean proof. They just mean, let’s look at this, ‘cause it sure seems odd.) My only problem with using the Australia data set as a control is: what if the animal is real? What if there’s a biological phenomenon behind this? That it sure looks unlikely based on the evidence from geology and paleoprimatology I can concede (I used to laugh at the yowie, as I’ve said more than once here). BUT I CANNOT BE SURE. That would limit my eagerness to use it as a control against info from other places.

    Summing up (and get back to me if I got your thinking wrong): I’m worried about using the prima facie likelihood of a phenomenon as a checkpoint, if frequency and coherence are telling us that in spite of what we think, it just might be happening. It’s that old trout in the milk thing.

  142. #142 kris
    February 2, 2010

    The Michigan dogman? I had not heard of this before, but 15 minutes of websearch convince me that in comparison, Grendel was almost perfectly on-topic.

  143. #143 Howard
    February 2, 2010

    Kris: Yeah, I agree. I bring it up because it’s another reported hairy biped, and it shows the diversity of such reports. If bigfoot is credible based on reporting sightings + parsley, why not dogman? Does the garnish make that big a difference? But if one is hard to explain, 2 or more would be practically impossible.

  144. #144 DA
    February 3, 2010

    “William Miller: I’m not sure I agree with “hairy human” reflecting parsimony. I don’t think parsimony is the issue when the evidence says, this isn’t human.”

    The comment above that starts like this should have been addressed to Tim Morris. Sorry, William.

  145. #145 BT
    February 11, 2010

    @ Billybob: A very interesting post.

    If you don’t mind me asking, where do you come from? I ask because your story is peppered with non-local terminology that at first gave me the impression that this account was possibly written by an American trying to sound Australian. For example your use of ‘trapping’, ‘buddy’, ‘hog’ (as opposed to pig), ‘cursed’, ‘bar fights’ (as opposed to pub fights/brawls), and in your second post: ‘grunt’ coupled with the very outdated ‘cobber’ which has almost dissapeared from the vernacular. Also Billybob, although no doubt not your real name, is an interesting choice as well as it’s pretty much unheard of as an Australian name prior to the 90’s (I’m gathering that you must be at least in your early 40’s having spent 15+ years in the military and police force). However, your knowledge of locations leads me to believe you either are an Australian or have first hand knowledge of the country. Maybe you are just a colourful communicator?

    Your style and parts of your description (e.g. the yowie sounding ‘pissed off’ and your ability to detect bipedal motion by ear) reminds me of the various accounts written by Dean Harrison from Australian Yowie Research. Lots of nitty gritty detail, emotion and a decent amount of interpretation/on-the-spot assessment (e.g. recognition of predator-like behaviour).

    I would really like to know exactly what you are talking about here:

    ‘ I had in my car a .303 lee enfield for crocs and other things etc. (those who know what im talking about know what im talking about)’

    I am Australian and have spent large parts of my life in the bush of various states. I could guess at these ‘other things’ but would prefer if you could please shed some light on it for us.

    Cheers.

  146. #146 ILoveSnakes
    September 30, 2010

    “I’m certain that Sasquatch, Yeti, and Orang Pendek exist, I’ll accept “big birds” or “Thunderbirds”, I’m skeptical but nevertheless open-minded when it comes to most lake monsters (the Champlain and Okanagan creatures probably carry the most weight IMHO), and there may well be a kernel of truth to the Chupacabras.

    The Yowie is where I find many of my problems, but at least the concept might be considered halfway plausible – which is more than I can say for the ridiculously common and totally insane claims of living pterosaurs, plesiosaurs, and non-avian dinosaurs.”

    These are not my current thoughts on the matter of cryptozoology. Examination of the evidence has changed my mind considerably, in the direction opposite of skeptism (although I still have yet to be convinced that dinosaur- and pterosaur-like mystery animals really are latter-day dinosaurs and pterosaurs). Perhaps this is wasting space, but I felt it necessary to make anyone who may read my comments in the future aware of that fact.

    -M.O.E.

  147. #147 James
    October 3, 2010

    If you were confronted in the Australian bush with something standing over 7 feet tall, describe what on Earth it could be, it cannot be misidentified, as we do no have any creature your could misidentify it with. It is easier to discount something you do not believe in, that actually go and research the subject your condemning in the field.

    Do not forget it took 60-85 years for a scientific discovery of the Chinese Panda. Science has looked for the Australian Yowie for exactly; zero years!!!!Australia has the severe weathering, much of the entire history has been obliterated by weathering.
    I would not be surprised that one day their is a discovery of an Ape-line in Australia and even Australopithecus discoveries. Possibly the Flores discovery might show they came from Australia or that Australopithecus might be discovered down this way. Indonesia did have more old world apes than Africa, so I cannot see why in the distant future these discoveries will be made. Considering some earlier books talk of other types of these Flores types in other pacific islands where Michael Morwood is going to search.

  148. #148 Longfinmako
    October 5, 2010

    I have to agree with comment 2 by Tim Morris. Procoptodons had primate-like features. According to Wiki, They have survived up until 18 000 years ago.

  149. #149 Krimeg
    October 28, 2010

    I know museum restorations aren’t necesseraly exactly accurate, but :

    http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/stories/s167333.htm

    Australian Megafauna’s extinction is clearly attributed to ancient Humans, and since those latters are not as efficient killers as climate change, why should some survivors be ruled out ?

  150. #150 David Marjanović
    October 28, 2010

    Possibly the Flores discovery might show they came from Australia

    Apes don’t come from Australia. The only way for any primate to reach Australia is by boat. That’s how the hobbits must have reached Flores in the first place, because it was never connected to the Old World mainland; going from there to Australia requires crossing more and wider straits.

    Australia has the severe weathering, much of the entire history has been obliterated by weathering.

    Australia has a pretty good Pleistocene fossil record.

  151. #151 William Miller
    October 28, 2010

    So Homo floresiensis was probably either capable of building boats, or closely enough involved with modern humans to get transported by boat? Interesting.

    IIRC there is an issue of how humans got to Australia in the first place — it would seem to suggest surprisingly good boat-building & navigation for the Paleolithic, since it probably involved intentional crossings (a raft swept out to sea or somesuch being unlikely to have enough people to establish a viable population).

  152. #152 David Marjanović
    October 29, 2010

    IIRC there is an issue of how humans got to Australia in the first place — it would seem to suggest surprisingly good boat-building & navigation for the Paleolithic, since it probably involved intentional crossings (a raft swept out to sea or somesuch being unlikely to have enough people to establish a viable population).

    Given ice-age sea levels, island-hopping through the Moluccas to New Guinea sounds feasible to me. It would have involved the crossing of several but narrow straits.

  153. #153 Raymond
    October 29, 2010

    http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/53219/title/Ancient_hominids_may_have_been_seafarers

    Crete, Cyprus, Sardinia and several other Med islands are now turning up stone tools and even a couple of fossils corresponding to *H. erectus* that date back +130,000 yBP. *H. sapiens* clearly was not unique in reaching islands that don’t connect with the mainland during any glacial cycle for the most part. Whether they were accidental raftees, planned boaters/rafters or a combination of such, we don’t yet know.

    So far the evidence is leaning more to planned seamanship as opposed to accidental raftings. We are after all, talking about apes that while admittedly are much better swimmers than the norm, don’t compare at all with hippos, elephants, otters, pigs or even deer.

  154. #154 Raymond
    November 7, 2010

    “Given ice-age sea levels, island-hopping through the Moluccas to New Guinea sounds feasible to me. It would have involved the crossing of several but narrow straits.”

    Hominids and Stegodonts are both the most likely critters from Asia to have made it into Australia.

  155. #155 David Marjanović
    November 7, 2010

    Crete, Cyprus, Sardinia and several other Med islands are now turning up stone tools and even a couple of fossils corresponding to *H. erectus* that date back +130,000 yBP.

    :-o

    Awesome!!!

  156. #156 Janssen / The Night stalker !
    December 14, 2010

    The more educated one is ,,The less spiritual !

    They look for things with hard evidence in science and reasoning , but often have (closed shop minds) of matters of the spirit world ! …….

    on all the Yowie sites ,,Ayr .yowie hunters .Rex gilroy and real life encounters i have heard of here, In Wollongong ,Around Mt- Kembla, And Mt- Keira !

    I am of the view .The Yowie / man beast / Manimal /were wolf / Is not flesh and blood !!!

    Based upon all the hundreds of recounts. i have read ..

    There is always a similar pattern ..
    An un-Godly presense ..The over powering stench ,,The fear! . Glowing red eyes, A feeling of dread !
    the manifestation of hairy man beast or similar accounts..
    All fits the supernatural realm and pattern of hauntings as told in many Ghost stories! ..with the same fear ,presense,,smell and of dread and sometimes these demonic things attack …..as well.

    The yowie spirit, is what it is ..
    A shape shifting being ,that has been conjured up by Witch doctors /Satanist covens / shamans and are dispatched and guard certain area’s ,that are considered sacred or secretive for their own ceremonies,,,….. !!!!!!!!!!!!

    These spirit beings have power to manifest ,all the atributes of hauntings to the un-weary ,,the un-spiritual and the blinded ..

    A quick read of the bible ,,and it will tell you their is spiritual beings from the Light ,,And spiritual beings from the darkness,,

    Satan and his wicked Army . have many soldiers and ranks ..some powerful ..some less weak ..none the less .they operate ..to cause fear ,,to confuse ,to play games with its prey..to protect and guard special area’s of spiritual worship and ceremonies ..of which most of the wickness eminates from its source ! …
    to decieve and keep in the dark about the truth of the gospel ..
    one mention Of the powerful Name of jesus ..And these things will bolt out of sight Like lightning!! ..

    Jesus Conquered Hell And death, And rose on the 3rd day At Easter !!

    I guarantee any person .who is caught in a yowie encounter ,,over come by Fear…
    Should shout the Name Of Jesus, with all your mite and rebuke this bluffing evil!! ..

    And watch it disappear in fright !

    Jesus ..King of Kings, Lord of lords ,,Name above all names ..I will fear No Evil !

    Jesus commanded his follwers ..to destroy the works Of the Devil !!

    We have the name of Jesus .our mighty Sword, in the spirit world !
    Dont be fooled by spirit beings anymore ..!

    The yowie is nothing but A territorial Demon ..letting off steam .. so if you happen to trespass ,the area unaware ! The Yowie Is satans puppet of mischievous..!!! get it now ?

    So be free to roam where you wish ..

    But next time. invite Jesus and ask his protection from these wicked entities ..
    Ufo’s .Hauntings and other unexplained creatures ,,its all Satans tricks ..dont be fooled and blinded !
    Satan is on the prowl, like a lion .waiting for some one to devour and decieve..

    Let the Bible enlighten you and open your eyes of your understanding ..so that you may come to Know Jesus and the kingdom of heaven .The light ..And out Of satans Kingdom,,the darkeness …

    The Yowie ,,will be debated and debated ..no proof of flesh n blood . will be found!,,
    it will only be explained by a spiritual understanding of different cults ..witch craft ..shamans and cultral beliefs ..
    The bible spells it out ,,the 2 spiritual kingdoms .that operate .they both oppose each other ..
    (mankind is the target) ..

    The war for your eternal soul ,,rages on and on .. so Dont be sucked in by these entities ,that manifest as the hairy man!!

    And by the same token ..dont dismiss all the accounts of this thing as lies ..
    people really do have frightening encounters with these things..its been going on for thousands of years ..

    Dualism ..dark warring with light ..with all the trickery and deciet …

    To all yowie hunters ..you wont find a flesh and blood being ,,cause its toying with you ! Its invisible !
    your wasting your time .. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    It will keep haunting and spooking individuals ,,at its own choosing .
    These ancient spirit beings enjoy our interest in them ..But if you discover Jesus ..you will banish them forever !!

    Food for spiritual thought dear fellow enquiring minds !

    Fox Mulder said the truth is out there ..!

    Jesus said ,I am the way ,,the truth And the light ,,no man comes to the Father ..but by me !

    shine some light on the darkness,,watch it run !!!!!!!

  157. #157 Hai~Ren
    December 15, 2010

    Janssen / The Night stalker !:

    TLDR; and what have you been smoking, anyway?

  158. #158 David Marjanović
    December 15, 2010

    The more educated one is ,,The less spiritual !

    Ever wondered why?

    I am of the view .The Yowie / man beast / Manimal /were wolf / Is not flesh and blood !!!

    How about Ockham’s Razor? Look it up.

    !!!!!!!!!!!!

    “And have you seen the number of exclamation marks? Five? A sure sign of someone who wears his underpants on his head.”

    Satan and his wicked Army . have

    You jump from conclusion to conclusion. How about sprinkling some evidence over your rant?

    one mention Of the powerful Name of jesus ..And these things will bolt out of sight Like lightning!! ..

    Have you tested that hypothesis?

    Jesus Conquered Hell And death, And rose on the 3rd day At Easter !!

    Evidence?

    (And stop hitting the Shift key at random intervals.)

    I guarantee any person .who is caught in a yowie encounter ,,over come by Fear…
    Should shout the Name Of Jesus, with all your mite and rebuke this bluffing evil!! ..

    And watch it disappear in fright !

    Perhaps it’ll run away in fright if you shout anything out loud?

    Test this hypothesis, and then come back to report.

    The bible [sic] spells it out ,,the 2 spiritual kingdoms .that operate .they both oppose each other ..
    (mankind is the target) ..

    The Bible contradicts itself a lot on this, you know. In much of the Old Testament, Satan is generally portrayed as the prosecuting attorney at God’s court…

    Isaiah 45:7 sees the idea that there is a devil as simply incompatible with there only being one god, and says so: “I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I, Yahwe, do all these things.”

    shine some light on the darkness,,watch it run !!!!!!!

    Shine some light on the darkness in your demon-haunted brain, your brain that is full of demons it has created itself and that don’t exist outside your head.

  159. #159 Janssen
    December 15, 2010

    Ha ha ha >>Funny David!

    ..I am not an academic or nor do i claim to be ..as you enjoy mocking my style of typing on here..

    I don’t care of crap formatted way of typing and saying things ..I don’t have a uni degree!! (I am on a disability pension)!

    Just my personal expression about the yowie ..

    you obviously think your a hot shot academic on steroids !..looking to judge and punch holes in any one you can ..to grow your ego to intellectual heaven !

    you probably dont believe in spiritual matters ?.
    ..but
    I do note your scriptual attempts of the bible!.. cool.

    I do and still believe ..the Yowie is a spirit being ..
    so what ,if i think that..I dont smoke pot or take drugs !

    Just no proof has been found in a flesh and blood way ..

    But the hauntings of the yowie from time to time .
    goes on and on ! .I don’t feel like quoting biblical scriptures ,,

    there all in the there to find and discover, like Uni readings !!!!!!

    No professional cyrptozoologist has proved it, nor normal science .so whats left ?

    think out side the Square !

    Or forever, hold ya peace, and stop putting normal people down ,who try to have a go !

    At least ,i am giving some sort of explanation to the obvious

    riddle !

    I guess you will send , the same old sarcastic shit again ..

    If so ..go wipe your academic papers on your ass and piss off with your sarcasm and bullshit !

    And go out in the wild bush on your own ,in the dead of night ,be4 you write me off as someone as who has no credibility,,(The proof is in the pudding)

    Go and find satanic influences and beings ,,seek and find ..and you will have the encounters ! I dont need to quote anything..!

    All the encounters ..ever recorded ,,point to a spiritual intervention ..

    that is the conclusion, i have reached ..Your conclusion maybe different .. I respect that ..

    Don’t mock me for mine !

    get it !

    olive branch = at least ,like me .you have an interest in the subject ..

    if you have the balls ,go to Mt-Kembla and Mt – Keira on a regular basis .
    In the Wollongong area ,,its like something out of the X-files .

    cause ,,i have done the hard yards already, at 2 am in the morning alone in the bush ..I have sensed the fear ,,the dread .the smell..just not the creature ,, just the spiritual thing ..

    Satan and his bullshit brigade ..dont frighten me ..

    maybe, my heavy metal drumming background and church background, is no match for Satan and his cohorts !
    i even look like a Hair bare from head to toe ..Long hair and hairy body !!

    Any way ..cheers to all ..Fear No Evil !

  160. #160 Hai~Ren
    December 15, 2010

    Still TLDR; the crazy is strong in this one.

  161. #161 David Marjanović
    December 16, 2010

    ..I am not an academic or nor do i claim to be ..

    And? What has that got to do with anything?

    you obviously think your a hot shot academic on steroids !..

    Find me in scholar.google.com and judge for yourself if you think this matters.

    looking to judge and punch holes in any one you can ..

    That’s a slight misunderstanding. Science isn’t about people; it’s about ideas. What scientists do all day long is judging and punching holes in their own ideas and those of others.

    I do note your scriptual attempts of the bible!.. cool.

    And then you proceed to completely ignore them.

    I bring up the subject that your concept of the devil doesn’t fit at least two of the contradictory ones in the Bible. Why don’t you address that? Does your silence mean you agree with me, retract your argument, and no longer believe the yowie has anything to do with the alleged Satan or his alleged wicked army?

    I do and still believe ..the Yowie is a spirit being ..
    so what ,if i think that..

    I do what scientists always do: I ask for evidence. I’m not saying your idea is wrong, I’m saying you haven’t shown us yet why it’s right.

    And that’s your job, not mine. You come up with an idea, you explain why it’s a better explanation than the alternatives.

    No professional cyrptozoologist has proved it, nor normal science .so whats left ?

    Two possibilities:

    1) The yowie is a species of beings of flesh & blood that simply hasn’t been encountered by zoologists yet. After all, there haven’t been any systematic searches of the entire outback — who would finance that.

    2) The yowie doesn’t exist outside of people’s heads.

    All other possibilities I can come up with require extra assumptions that are not needed to explain anything else. That’s bad for them.

    Or forever, hold ya peace, and stop putting normal people down ,who try to have a go !

    I cannot shut up.

    (…Don’t forget to mouse over that picture and read the alt-text.)

    Do you know how I got my doctorate a month ago? I presented my work of the last 5 years in half an hour, and then five people tried to poke holes in it for another half-hour. And then they judged it.

    Go and find satanic influences

    You seem to think there is such a thing as satanic influences in the first place.

    What makes you think so?

    All the encounters ..ever recorded ,,point to a spiritual intervention ..

    Please explain why you think so.

    that is the conclusion, i have reached ..Your conclusion maybe different .. I respect that ..

    Don’t mock me for mine !

    get it !

    olive branch

    Sorry, that’s now how it works. When there are x different ideas to explain something, then at least x – 1 of them are wrong. If we are bestest buddies, our ideas still contradict each other, and at least one of our ideas is still wrong.

    Being a scientist, I want to find out which ideas are wrong.

    if you have the balls ,go to Mt-Kembla and Mt – Keira on a regular basis .

    That’s not a question of balls, it’s a question of time and money. I’m on the other side of the planet.

    cause ,,i have done the hard yards already, at 2 am in the morning alone in the bush ..I have sensed the fear ,,the dread .the smell..just not the creature ,, just the spiritual thing ..

    How can you distinguish sensing a “spiritual thing” from sensing your own fear?

    Satan and his bullshit brigade ..dont frighten me ..

    Then why do you talk about them so much?

  162. #162 David Marjanović
    December 16, 2010

    Maybe I should be even clearer: I’d have nothing against being your best buddy. That just still wouldn’t make both of us right.

  163. #163 Janssen
    December 16, 2010

    TO’ Dr-David.

    I can see where your coming from , there’s no use me arguing with a scientist . I have no degree or anything. I understand all you say .

    I have a keen interest In crypto – science .hidden animals and things .I go on the site- AYR ( Australian yowie research) yowie hunters and Rex gilroys sight ..
    On there ,,,there are many re-accounts of the sightings and encounters .Ive read many of them .And many are describing what appears to be paranormal and spiritual .As well as others that differ.

    Anthropologist have studied shamans and occultic like relegions from history and civilisations..And noted and described encounters ,passed down from centuries .many of the encounters on Ayr site, describe entities and creatures .
    describing fear ..not imagination of the mind or conjuring of the mind .but a fear outside of the mind ..eminating from the darkness ,emaninating from some invisible source .

    I my self, have encountered spiritual beings ..At that point of time ,i was a regular church goer .20 years ago ,,and involved in much prayer sessions .

    I was met with spiritual warfare by some demonic entity ..that held me down and i was paralised with fear,,
    i looked up from my bed and saw a half of body with glowing firey eyes and bluish half body and claws right above me …i was paralisyed for what seemed like about a minute and half ..i couldnt move at all . All i remember is what the pastor said ..try use the name of Jesus ,but my mouth and words ..wouldnt work ..so i used my mind ..saying the name of jesus ..about 6-7 times,,
    ,then i felt this horrible entity let go ..the strong hold on me went ..
    I then went over to my acoustic guitar and played praise n worship music .to rid the fear and evil presence there ..A peace fell in my room after that..

    It was a true encounter..from that day on.my eyes were opened to the spiritual world and strange hidden creatures ..like Yowies and ghosts and Ufo’s .etc.

    I know it sounds crazy and unbelievable ,and i understand anyone who cant accept that ,but I guess when i was young and i was learning about christianity ,i was keen to pray and dig deeper into gospel truths . But that was long ago .

    When Jesus makes his home in your heart .
    you can discern evil . The bible ,word of God = bread of life .Eat it ,digest it .and grow in knowledge of him and awareness of all things pertaining to it ..

    Any way,, DR – David ,,concratulations on your recent Doctorate !

    Dr – David ,, I dont have a degree and i am not trained ,like you are and question and probe things in a analasis way . I am a simple guy .with an open and enlightened mind
    .
    What you ask me to to do ,is prove the facts of my idea’s..All i have got to go on ,is people’s eyewitness accounts and encounters based on the websites and books i have read .

    And the books on the paranormal ,and books i’ve read from like, Dr Jaques vallee -Astro physist,,who explains UFO encounters from a scientic view point ..and suggests also Ufo’s are linked to something spiritual ..

    There are many scientists who think out side the normal square, to a more spiritual one .They source there works from relegion ,,culture ,,history .like anthropologist ..cross reference all these along with there own learning of their field of expertise.

    I need to learn how to put a case forward like your trained to do and back it up with facts that support the thesis.

    I have been on field trips alone in the dark .with an investgative drive, a night stalker,, i was just chasing shadows! .
    cause the area’s i go ..where Yowies are reportly seen are in Aboriginal sacred sites and buriel sites ..

    I went to to an Aboriginal leader, CEO Of the (Aboriginal Land council) .And was told of the legends and the guardians of the site ,,the witch doctors . And the yowies them selves .doolgal .
    The link ,between ..Guardians of the sites .and the yowie ,to me ,is what makes me believe in a summoned creature and not flesh and blood ..

    Every yowie hunter in Australia has failed to find anything conclusive ..
    bush fires abound in summer here ,,it has failed to smoke out nothing .no hidden caves or lairs !

    But there are many tribes ..many leaders ..shamans .witch doctors ..all have ceremonmies and rites for the dead .And guardians of the sites ! (Spiritual)

    could the Yowie be the guardians of the sacred sites? .
    can be people unaware .intrude sacred sites and be haunted ? can that smell .be a repellent? can the fear and the roar of something Un-Godly ..be the Guardians of the sacred sites ?

    well, where I live . The sightings occur on the sacred places ..check out all the other encounters on the yowie sites, on the net .
    All are in sacred aboriginal area’s .surely there is some connection there ? ……………………………….

    DR – David ..maybe you can check out some of the yowie sites on the net .like AYR ,and read the accounts for your self ?.
    All the sightings are in every state of Australia ..which shows ,,the Aboriginal tribes have sacred sites everywhere .

    Anthropology of ancient Aborigines and customs and legends are a good place to start ..

    Dr – David ..consider me a friend .I felt intimidated in my earlier typings .cause of my own poor educational background..
    with your understanding and help ..i mite be able to put together a simple .basic ,Yowie report ..
    so that i don’t sound all over the place .disjointed.

    but i think ..many credible/dicerned people, have covered all the known facts in the internet sites and in the books on it !.

    I am most humbled by your replies and sorry if i had a bad attitude in part..

    I respect you even more now !

    p.s ..If I had the Investigative drive of Fox Mulder .The detective skills of Sherlock Holmes and the intellect of DR-Jaques vallee ..people mite take me serious ..

    cheers Dr- David . And all the readers here .

    Can the blind , Lead the blind ? lest they both fall in a ditch ! ……………..

    And in the land of the blind ,the one eyed man is king!

    sorry .I don’t know the Author ,of the quotes!

  164. #164 Owlmirror
    December 17, 2010

    I was met with spiritual warfare by some demonic entity ..that held me down and i was paralised with fear,,
    i looked up from my bed and saw a half of body with glowing firey eyes and bluish half body and claws right above me …i was paralisyed for what seemed like about a minute and half ..i couldnt move at all . All i remember is what the pastor said ..try use the name of Jesus ,but my mouth and words ..wouldnt work ..so i used my mind ..saying the name of jesus ..about 6-7 times,,
    ,then i felt this horrible entity let go ..the strong hold on me went ..

    That’s sleep paralysis combined with hypnagogia. Your own brain was playing tricks on you; it shuts down your ability to move while leaving other parts partially awake — the parts that are active while dreaming. Shutting down your ability to move is a good idea if you’re actually asleep, but it also sometimes happens when you’re borderline conscious.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep_paralysis
    (and see the link to hypnagogic hallucinations)

    I’ve had it as well; both the paralysis, and the edge-of-sleep weird visions. I didn’t pray; I waited to either fall asleep or wake up more. Eventually, either one or the other happened, and either way, I stopped worrying about it.

    No demons. No devils. No “spiritual warfare”. Just your brain doing something weird.

  165. #165 Owlmirror
    December 17, 2010

    No demons. No devils. No “spiritual warfare”.

    (And, of course, no yowie. Or anything else like it.)

  166. #166 David Marjanović
    December 17, 2010

    I know it sounds crazy and unbelievable

    Not at all. It sounds like a detailed description of sleep paralysis — follow the link Owlmirror has provided. I had sleep paralysis once (3 years ago, I think), and it was pretty similar, except the religion angle was lacking (till I really woke up, I interpreted my dream/hallucination as a secular monster rather than as a demon).

    There are more things in your head than your philosophy can dream, Horatio!

    What you ask me to to do ,is prove the facts of my idea’s..

    No. Proof is for maths and formal logic. I only ask for evidence.

    As you write:

    I need to learn how to put a case forward like your trained to do and back it up with facts that support the thesis.

    :-)

    Eyewitness testimony is among the least reliable forms of evidence. People misinterpret what they see all the time, and then they misinterpret their memories, modifying them in the process. This has happened to me plenty of times; often I look for a published statement in the wrong book.

    Can the blind , Lead the blind ? lest they both fall in a ditch ! ……………..

    And in the land of the blind ,the one eyed man is king!

    sorry .I don’t know the Author ,of the quotes!

    You know full well where the quotes come from: the Bible.

  167. #167 Janssen
    December 17, 2010

    To Dr-David and Owl mirror..

    Thanks for the helpful comments .

    I don’t believe it was sleep Paralysis, what so ever ,As i was not sleeping .I was trying to pray ,while i was laying down on my bed . I was praying in English ,then tryed to pray in tongues.
    ..That’s when I became paralised, and couldn’t move and looked up and seen the horrible thing rearing in my face, When i said the name of Jesus a few times ..The thing was gone ! ,And the crippling feeling and fear .

    I don’t have photoes to prove what happened , I believe the Lord was opening my eyes, to the spirit world .

    When i was a child ,i remember things in my room at night used to touch me..I was so frightened ,,even my sister Michelle had the same things happen to her .And this happened while i was wide awake ..just scared under the sheets !

    Nothing can convince me, Demons and spirit beings ,don’t exist! .If the bible and Jesus said it exists , then if you call me having blind faith ,,then fine .

    Millions of christians know their is a spiritual adversity out there..

    There are christian scientist’s, who know as well .Perhaps ,if you know any credible ones .you can have some food for thought,discussion with them .

    I am not saying sleep paralysis does not occur a lot .
    But in my case ,I was fully awake at all times ..

    In the event of eye witness accounts ..some have distorted facts ..
    But among the bad apple cases .there is credible examples of cases of real life hauntings and yowies and the like and have been documented in magazines and books and been researched by the guys in paranormal research field and others in other fields ,,etc .

    I think ,the way to study these things .is with a collaboration of experts in different fields ,including ..from biblical background .Anthropologist ..zoologist ,,crypto- zoology .Biologist, Aboriginal trackers . tribal people . credible witnesses. Infra red camera technician.
    . etc ,etc .
    If these type of people could come together and utilise all the skills together, collectively ..
    then ,some of these mysteries like the Yowie .mite have a better way of being understood and correctly discerned !

    maybe some day this mite happen ?.(If funding comes )

    I think ,can a blind man lead a blind man lest they both fall in A ditch ,,is a proverb from the bible .

    As for, In the land of the blind .the one eyed man is King.
    Its a quote from some person..I heard in a science fiction movie ( Minority report ) Tom cruise.

    cheers ,Dr- David and owl mirror .. Peace and good will to you both and all readers..

  168. #168 David Marjanović
    December 18, 2010

    I don’t believe it was sleep Paralysis, what so ever ,As i was not sleeping .I was trying to pray ,while i was laying down on my bed .

    That’s a very easy way to fall asleep.

    I was praying in English ,then tryed to pray in tongues.

    *sigh* How is it possible that so many people so completely misunderstand Acts 2:4–11?

    “Tongue” is the King James word for language. Real, existing, human language.

    Here goes:

    2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
    2:5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
    2:6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
    2:7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
    2:8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
    2:9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
    2:10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
    2:11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

    Got it?

    When you’re filled with the Holy Spirit, you are not supposed to mutter nonsense syllables; you are supposed to talk to human beings of flesh and blood in their own languages even though you have never learned those languages the hard way.

    Trying to make yourself utter a stream of nonsense syllables is a way to get in trance. Trance… sleep… sleep paralysis.

    When i said the name of Jesus a few times ..The thing was gone ! ,And the crippling feeling and fear .

    Why did you have to try several times?

    Because thinking of Jesus may help against the devil, but it does not help against sleep paralysis. With sleep paralysis you have to wait till it’s over.

    I believe the Lord was opening my eyes, to the spirit world

    That’s what you want to believe.

    When i was a child ,i remember things in my room at night used to touch me..I was so frightened ,,even my sister Michelle had the same things happen to her .And this happened while i was wide awake ..just scared under the sheets !

    You were not wide awake. You were tired and half asleep, and you tried to interpret patterns into the darkness. That’s normal, everyone does that, even if it doesn’t go that far.

    Nothing can convince me, Demons and spirit beings ,don’t exist! .If the bible and Jesus said it exists , then if you call me having blind faith ,,then fine .

    Then what is the point of coming to a science blog and trying to discuss???

    And “the Bible and Jesus” are not two separate sources. I mean… please.

    Different question for you: why do demons never appear to people who are really awake — up and about in broad daylight –?

    Millions of christians know their is a spiritual adversity out there..

    They don’t know. They believe.

    There are christian scientist’s, who know as well .

    They don’t know. They believe.

    Funnily enough, the Book of Mormon puts it best:

    Alma 32:17-18
    32:17 Yea, there are many who do say: If thou wilt show unto us a sign from heaven, then we shall know of a surety; then we shall believe.
    32:18 Now I ask, is this faith? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for if a man knoweth a thing he hath no cause to believe, for he knoweth it.

    How true, how true.

    I am not saying sleep paralysis does not occur a lot .
    But in my case ,I was fully awake at all times ..

    That’s how it felt. That’s how sleep paralysis always feels. It’s just not what’s really going on.

    there is credible examples of cases of real life hauntings and yowies and the like and have been documented in magazines and books and been researched by the guys in paranormal research field and others in other fields ,,etc .

    Why do you think they’re credible?

    maybe some day this mite happen ?.(If funding comes )

    Yes, if…

  169. #169 David Marjanović
    December 18, 2010

    Book recommendation:

    Carl Sagan: The Demon-Haunted World. Science as a Candle in the Dark. 1997, I think.

    You’ll love it.

  170. #170 Janssen
    December 18, 2010

    Hi, DR – David .

    I guess your right ,Its pointless going on about spiritual stuff , I know what happened to me , And as for the speaking in tongues , it is a hard thing to explain .
    It is a gift one use’s, when one recieves it .when full of the Holy spirit .you go alone and practice the holy spirit language ,He has given you.

    It is referred to in Mark 16: 14 -18 And Cor 1-14 .Jude- 20

    I have seen that book somewhere ,,Carl sagon .i will go to library and see if i can find it ..

    My book recommendations for you,any thing by, DR -Jacques vallee…see below .The title of his books .

    Anatomy of a phenomenon ;

    which is said to be highly recommended by Carl Sagon ,himself .

    Forbidden science,

    Passport to Magonia .

    try have a read of these 3 books ..this guy comes highly recommended, by many scientist in different fields .He has many thought provoking books out and is a high in demand guy.

    p.s , I hear the Solomon islands ,has some unusual phenomenon ..Giants and Ufo’s .Strange occurences.

    They need the field experts there, to see whats going on..

    I seen the reports in Nexus magazine .. I forget the name of the book .Maybe called ( Giants of the Solomon Islands) not sure.

    Dr- David ,May i know what kind of a doctorate or field you have or study ?.And are you interested in Crypto science and delve into outside of mainstream science (open to it)?

    cheers and thanks. from Janssen.

  171. #171 Tim Morris
    December 19, 2010

    It should be noted that out of the many people on this planet, very few are enlightened in the spiritual sense, so to consider yourself enlightened may be a mistake.

  172. #172 David Marjanović
    December 19, 2010

    I know what happened to me ,

    You don’t. You haven’t understood your own brain in that much detail.

    That doesn’t mean I’m right. I just offer a much simpler explanation.

    And as for the speaking in tongues , it is a hard thing to explain .
    It is a gift one use’s, when one recieves it .when full of the Holy spirit .you go alone and practice the holy spirit language ,He has given you.

    The nonsense that American fundamentalists call “speaking in tongues” has been studied a lot. It’s what people do when they’re ecstatic enough and believe that’s what’s expected of them. Everyone can roll on the floor and move their mouthparts; the Holy Spirit is not needed.

    What makes you think there is such a thing as “the holy spirit language”?

    Mark 16: 14 -18

    Mark 16:17 only mentions “speak in new languages”.

    Those “Aboriginal leaders” you mentioned? The Bible says if you’ve received the Holy Spirit you can go to them and preach to them in their own languages.

    Cor 1-14

    Which chapter, and do you mean the First or the Second Letter to the Corinthians?

    Jude- 20

    That’s “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost”. That just means “praying sincerely and correctly”…

    Carl Sagon

    Sagan. (You might not find him if you misspell him.)

    Forbidden science

    That’s a very bad title. You see, there is no such thing as forbidden science.

    Sure, there are experiments that shouldn’t be done, but that can’t be what Vallée means.

    I hear the Solomon islands ,has some unusual phenomenon ..Giants and Ufo’s .Strange occurences.

    That kind of thing is reported from everywhere.

    what kind of a doctorate or field you have or study ?

    Paleobiology. Fossils.

    mainstream science

    What do you mean? Science is science.

    As long as you can answer the question “if I were wrong, how would I know?” all the way down, you’re doing science. As soon as you stop being able to do that, you’ve stopped doing science.

    Like Darren, I am interested in cryptozoology as long as it is done as a science.

    very few are enlightened in the spiritual sense

    Why do you think any are? Why do you think there is such a thing as being “enlightened in the spiritual sense”?

  173. #173 Janssen
    December 19, 2010

    dear Dr- David

    Perhaps , if you were with me in real life ,I can give you a demonstration of speaking in tongues !
    I am Aussie /english speaking though , But a gift ,is a gift ..God gave me the gift of speaking in other tongue’s ..
    And i can still do that !,,it has not been taken away .
    I just don’t use it now.a days .

    I am referring to cor 1 : 1-25.

    But i can certainly pray in the spirit ,,holy spirit language still.. In Acts ,it talks about it a lot .
    But no gift of God is recieved by doubting and sceptacism

    Its by faith .child like faith . If you don’t believe and cave into your 5 senses ,,what you see ,,smell ,see ,touch ,hear .you wont recieve anything from the lord ..for most things are by faith ..
    Hebrews 11:1 Faith is a substance of things hoped for ,,The evidence of things not yet seen !

    This a science site ..so I will leave the topic alone .

    Forbidden Science ,is Dr-Jacques vallee famous book . its not what you think . Please check out dr – Vallee books ,Dr- David . I am sure you will be enthralled by his intellect and reasoning on many wide ranging topics !

    Wow .Paleobiology .cool ..many fossil’s in Australia to be discovered in the great out back ..

    I am told In Queensland and some parts of South Australia .some great specimens are being un-earthed ..If you ever need an assistant, as in the labouring stuff / general hand stuff ,, I would gladly offer my assistance ,If you wished to do some work in Aussie one day . that is ?
    Funding and money permitted,

    My other great Interest, is gem stones ,in particular ,Diamonds ..i still think there’s undiscovered pipes and geological potential here in Aussie for that ,,In NSW state ..no scientist has proven where the diamonds are formed here ,,As there are no kimbolite sources or lamporite ..some what a mystery.

    I have my own theories as to why diamonds show up .But that’s not a related topic in this room .

    Any way ,Dr – David ..I think its cool you have an interest in Crypto science .It is a popular subject for non scientist’s to.

    keep up the good work in what you do .

    cheers from Janssen.

    P.s ,i’m not the best speller .still working on it .Carl Sagan. gotcha now. as i said ,,even Carl loves Jacques stuff….

  174. #174 Tim Morris
    December 20, 2010

    David -

    I was not actually stating my opinion. As well as being agnostic, I also have some new-age spiritual beliefs, I believe I told you this before).

    I was just stating what the new age movement believes, and that is, enlightenment is tough and takes a lot of work. And that most people are not fully enlightened, only people like great spiritual leaders are considered fully enlightened.

    But my point is, saying “I’m enlightened” is most likely a problem, because spiritual enlightenment is darn tough.

  175. #175 David Marjanović
    December 20, 2010

    Perhaps , if you were with me in real life ,I can give you a demonstration of speaking in tongues !

    I know what you mean. Lots of American “evangelicals” do it; that’s why it’s been studied so much.

    God gave me the gift of speaking in other tongue’s ..

    Go ahead, preach to me in German. The Bible says that’s what you mean.

    I am referring to cor 1 : 1-25.

    Neither 1 Cor 1:1-25 nor 2 Cor 1:1-24 (there is no 2 Cor 1:25) refers to “speaking in new tongues” at all. Please explain what you mean.

    But no gift of God is recieved by doubting and sceptacism

    Its by faith .child like faith . If you don’t believe and cave into your 5 senses ,,what you see ,,smell ,see ,touch ,hear .you wont recieve anything from the lord ..for most things are by faith ..
    Hebrews 11:1 Faith is a substance of things hoped for ,,The evidence of things not yet seen !

    This a science site ..so I will leave the topic alone .

    Because this is a science site, I will not leave this topic alone!

    You’re apparently trying to tell me that, in order to find out if something exists, I must already believe that it exists. But I cannot believe first and “test” later, “test” with the result already in mind. That would be… dishonest. I would simply assume my conclusion and bend my observations to make them agree with my predetermined conclusion. I would be lying to myself — even if my predetermined conclusion is correct!

    Suppose we find the truth. How do we find out whether what we’ve found is indeed the truth? By comparing it to the truth, which we haven’t got?

    All we can do is ask the opposite question: if what we’ve found is not the truth, how do we find that out?

    By comparing it to reality. If an idea predicts X, and we find that Y happens instead, the idea is wrong. This comparison is called science.

    Science is not a quest for truth. It is a quest for falsehood. It tries to find out what is untrue. It doubts everything. It hammers all ideas till they break down — and if they never break down because they’re true, then science simply keeps hammering at them forever. That’s why a thesis defense features people trying to poke holes into the candidate’s work, trying to show why the work is wrong, trying to show that the candidate has wasted the last several years.

    That is why doubt and scepticism are good things; they are the only way to keep from falling into error.

    Faith is not evidence; faith is belief without evidence or even in spite of evidence.

    Forbidden Science ,is Dr-Jacques vallee famous book . its not what you think . Please check out dr – Vallee books ,Dr- David . I am sure you will be enthralled by his intellect and reasoning on many wide ranging topics !

    Would surprise me. I’ll take a look if I come across it…

    I am told In Queensland and some parts of South Australia .some great specimens are being un-earthed ..

    Oh yes. Also in Victoria (lots!), and some in Western Australia.

    Funding and money permitted

    That’s where the problem lies.

    no scientist has proven where the diamonds are formed here ,,As there are no kimb[er]lite sources or lamporite ..some what a mystery.

    Interesting. What kind of rock are they found in? Perhaps they were washed in from elsewhere?

  176. #176 Janssen
    December 20, 2010

    DR- David .

    Look , i havn’t been to church for over 20 years or even anything remotely as a bible study.. I have a very simple interpretation on the bible,

    I am no Biblical Scholar or authourity on scriptures and i did not go to Bible college .so I don’t have a degree to be able mount a defence in terms of technical and spiritual sides in relation to scriptual references ,that you ask.

    I am simply became a christian to seek out the lord for myself , not to feel fuzzy or have any special manifestations . But gifts are given . accepted or rejected.

    I Just humbled myself and said the (sinners prayer) and invited the lord inside my heart .(christ in you) = christian ..as opposed to churchianity ..going to church for the sake of it , I wanted to ask Jesus inside .and by an act of faith, I was met with a peace inside of me which surpassed all understanding .
    But .after awhile ,
    I stopped going to church !
    so I really didn’t go on and develop and grow and mature in knowledege of the gospel ..
    But instead ,I got to caught up in life style distractions ..like being in a band ..drinking beer ,,women ..get the picture ..

    DR-David . I cant mount an argument ,when i am not qualified to . you are trained to do what you do .you have your Doctorate .I don’t even have a degree.. my field is rock drumming music and lyrics ,poems ..

    I am very interested in crypto stuff ..I have an open mind . on this stuff ..but many seem to be chasing shadows ! so to speak.
    because nothing so far, has come to light ,,But the reports and encounters ..go on and on .. ………..

    The geological data in NSW, is that, it is not as weathered down like Victoria or south Australia and western Australia ..N.S.W is set in very mountainous area’s, especially all along the east coast .but despite this ..Diamonds were found at Bingara ,copeton .Gulgong .Mudgee..These diamonds were found to be the most tight knotted Diamonds in the world and extremely hard to cut! .

    Yet ,not one source of kimberlite or lamporite has been traced In N.S.W ,,
    My theory ..with out proof ..is pipes and diatremes ,,that have tapped volcanic sources ,other than kimberlite ..and carried them to the surface in explosive vents .blowing them out into the open and into streams and also into place’s ,where they cooled and hardened ,and hence were discovered by guys looking for mainly Gold .

    kind of like a subduction events ..with out fully understanding what that means . plates shifting in different regions at differing times, causing immense upheavals, deep with in the plates .and at various pressure points ,like valves releasing pressure and escape vents at different geological settings at differing points along a given area .(Weak spot ),,etc . at a certain event, in times of the past .

    In Queensland ,they have found Fossilised Opal . and maybe in South Australia to .I wonder ,if that is of value ?
    I have come across some aboriginal artifacts ,dug up.
    not far from my place ,was a sacred site . I was looking for new ground to prospect ..when one digs ,one can never know what to expect .

    And when Dykes present themselves ,one must be aware for all kinds of inclusions of gems or fossils ,,this is being aware of all .when out prospecting as an amatuer.

    Even Meteorites are reported and collected in West Aussie And apparently ,,there is a hushed up spot in Queensland for those .!
    Scientific societies around the world pay good money for these specimens ..And Diamonds can be found in them as well !

    As for Dr Jacques Vallee , I am having trouble locating ( Anatomy of a phenomenon )as well as, forbidden science.

    cheers from Janssen.

  177. #177 David Marjanović
    December 21, 2010

    Diamonds in NSW… could it be that the kimberlite/whatever is in Antarctica? Australia (including Tasmania, of course) and Antarctica only broke apart some 50 to 60 million years ago; that’s the age of the ocean between them.

    I am simply became a christian to seek out the lord for myself

    So you already believed there was such a thing as “the Lord”.

    That means you already were a Christian when you “became” one.

    In Queensland ,they have found Fossilised Opal . and maybe in South Australia to .I wonder ,if that is of value ?

    What do you mean? “Fossilised” applies to the remains of living beings, which opal never was. However, sometimes fossils are dissolved by acidic water, and opal forms in their place; this way you can get opals in the exact shape of a dinosaur bone.

    I recommend you show your finds to the palaeontology department of the nearest museum (or geology, if there’s no separate palaeontology department).

  178. #178 Janssen
    December 22, 2010

    Hi DR-David .

    I guess,your right in the sense ,i always was a christian..
    just I have gone back wards ,not forwards ,, been to long out of the scene ,,feel like stranger now to the church,, I just believe ..nothing more ,,nothing less,,

    wow ,,you mite have something about that drifting plate off Antartica and the age relationship between that and Tasmania

    I actually believe ,there is unexplored territory down in Tasmania and could be a gemstone hunters and fossil hunters paradise ,,

    I do know on Flinders islands, which is north of Tasmania
    . .It is a highly volcanic area and on the Kilcrankie bay ,,they find kilcrankie diamonds ,which are actually a type of topaz .Among the rich gravel there ,are found other types of gems and crusteasion fossils from the sea.
    who knows ,just what are in the mountains and vallies there or hidden caves ,waiting to be explored or thoroughly searched.

    I have found fossilised remains ,many years ago ..but back then , i was more into seeking out stones ..but know, i am so aware of those things ,And will collect the remains or record the sites where i found them ,,and take samples to the university dept of palaeontology or geology .

    I also, wouldn’t know how to regonise a meteorite rock ,if i came across one ,maybe something that looks burnt and odd like .
    I do my best in my field trips in the bush prospecting ,,to pay attention more ,in case ,i stumble across fossil remains ,while i am prospecting ..

    I want to find classic dyke’s ,that is exposed and weathered ,and i know where such things are ,,but you need a canoe and row between 1-3 days and its exposed all along the Shoalhaven river .along the river are cliff faces ,and have exposed dykes on either side .With a prospectors keen search .who knows ,what you mite stumble on .

    Another place of interest is the (Blue mountains) ,,virtually , a very difficult and dangerous place to navigate ,as their are places in the blue mountains ,that have never been searched out or reached before .so from a prospector or Scientist point of view ..no doubt some interesting discoveries remain to be found there ,

    And many of the so called Yowie sitings and encounters ,,come from with in this whole area .As well..

    And i remember ,being on a site ,,which shows large foot prints in rocks in the Blue mountains ..huge foot prints of some kind of Dinasaur , I will try find that site again ,when i can ,and pass onto you the site ,so you can view it for your self .
    I actually think the site may have been a crypto site ,I really need to think and remember back .in regards ,to that.

    cheers ,Dr David .

  179. #179 David Marjanović
    December 22, 2010

    I also, wouldn’t know how to regonise a meteorite rock ,if i came across one ,maybe something that looks burnt and odd like .

    Like what? No, usually they don’t look burnt, because they don’t contain much if any stuff that can burn. Many consist mostly or entirely of metal (iron with some nickel).

    Wikipedia can tell you more.

    And i remember ,being on a site ,,which shows large foot prints in rocks in the Blue mountains ..huge foot prints of some kind of Dinasaur , I will try find that site again ,when i can ,and pass onto you the site ,so you can view it for your self .

    Sounds great!

    Cheers!

  180. #180 Janssen
    December 22, 2010

    Hi Dr – David

    thanks for informing of the meteorite description .
    I will look up Wikipedia for that.

    Going to need to time to find that site ,
    the place it was found ,is called the Megalong valley by a guy named P. holman

    I was looking up stuff on Blue mountains and regonised the Megalong valley on map. Apparently specimens have been found in and around there and other places mentioned by a guy name called Rex Gilroy .A crypto guy.

    Dr David , came across a site called Mt- Blanco fossil museum ,claiming to have giant 47 inch human femur unearthed from Turkey ,Euphrates valley .
    I am no scientist ..so i cant make a judgement on it .
    Giants perhaps or hoax ? or a lost part of history .. I have no idea,

    Getting a lot of visitors at home ,cause of xmas period ,etc ,which keeps me side tracked ..

    so will try find some of these sites or picture’s, i seen . On the Megalong valley and etc ..

    cheers Dr- David .

  181. #181 Finback
    January 13, 2011

    “I am of the view .The Yowie / man beast / Manimal /were wolf / Is not flesh and blood !!! ”

    I just want to say Manimal gets a hard time; for an 80s action tv show, it tried for a more interesting base concept.

  182. #182 David Marjanović
    January 13, 2011

    Sorry, this thread had dropped from the “10 most recent comments” feature…

    claiming to have giant 47 inch human femur

    Neither real nor hoax — I’ve never heard about it, but I bet it’s simply a misinterpretation: either not human (try elephant) or not a femur in the first place (you won’t believe what things have been mistaken for fossils by non-experts). Pictures would be appreciated.

  183. #183 Tim Morris
    February 1, 2011

    Incidentally, I do believe in giants, just ones of acceptable size, reached by generations of evolution, not biblical myths of 36 foot tall colossi. Most probably, any true historical “races” of giants would be no more than 8 or 9 feet at the maximum, which fits very well with the fact that most yeti/bigfoot are in this range. So, giants may not so much look like Leonidas or Hercules, but more like hairy men.

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