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Friday, 30 March 2012

Selections from 'The Drake Manuscript'

I found this posting to have some items of a Cryptozoological interest. I did not include all the text or photos from the origial site but enough to give the general degree of accuracy and the flavour of the original document, and the most important entry last:

Histoire Naturelle des Indes

The Histoire Naturelle des Indes, created sometime in the 1590’s, is one of the earliest illustrated records of European contact with the America. Also know it by its informal title The Drake Manuscript it was donated to the the Pierpont Morgan Library in 1983, who after many years of study graciously produced a full color facsimile. I happen to have said facsimile, which was published in 1996, right here in front of me. Shall we take a gander?
First a few words on the manuscript’s origins and possibly misleading title.
The Drake Manuscript is named for Sir Francis Drake, the famed English privateer, navigator, slave trader, politician, and pirate of the Elizabethan era, whose travels it is thought to illustrate. Though Drake was himself something of an artist , the images in Histoire Naturelle des Indes were not created by his hand. Nothing of his artwork survives as it turns out.

The best guess as to the manuscripts origins are something along these lines-
The naive drawings show signs of being created by several separate hands. Context reveals that these were likely the hands of Huguenots. Drake is known to have employed not only Huguenots on his voyages but artists as well. A “considerable number” of the images correspond to ports of call familiar to Drake, in some cases associated directly with his voyages, and Drake is mentioned by name, twice, in the manuscript itself. Hence, with a nice pile of circumstantial evidence to stand on, and no other clues, we have The Drake Manuscript.

Taken as a whole the images are an interesting mixture. The drawings of plants and animals are presented in a sort of cold practical manner, removed from their natural surroundings, with captions that read almost like a sales catalog, listing the virtues and drawbacks of each.  The drawings of the indigenous peoples themselves on the other hand are altogether warmer and seem to serve no greater purpose than curiosity.

(Manta Ray)
“This fish is very large and no less vicious. When the negroes dive in the sea for pearls it jumps on them to make them drown and afterward eats them."

[It seems to be some other very large ray or skate, Since there is at least a hint of some sort of enormous Cryptid skate or guitar-fish in the Caribbean, said to have a shark's tail, this could be a representation of it-DD]
“A very poisonous beast. It feeds in places where there is wine and vinegar. It only moves around at night. A person who has been bitten by this animal lives only for twenty-four hours afterwards. It finds the Indians in their beds in order to kill them."

[This entry is a control. It is true enough to life, the centipedes are large and they are deadly]
CHILIRATI(Crocodile), PECHE ESPADE (Sawfish), and CAPPE (Eel)

[If that eel is as big as a sawfish or a crocodile, that is no ordinary eel, it is a Megaconger-DD]
“The nature of this animal is so to climb with its belly uppermost and, climbing this way, it moves faster than a man could on foot. The skin of this animal is very excellent for people suffering from falling sickness [epilepsy]. The head of the afflicted is covered with it then one realizes how effective the skin is."

[Although the intention may have been to show a 3-toed sloth, the nearest creature with a tail like it was a Ground Sloth and this just might be documentation of a late-surviving Ground Sloth done by the error of mixing the two things up. This could be a "Su Monster" in tree-climbing mode-DD]
PORC EPIC SAVVAGE (Wild Porcupine), SAGOVAI (Monkey), and CRABLE SAVVAGE (Scorpion)

{Heads up to Jon Downes, this might be the West Indian Porcupine mistaken for the Chupacabras in the early 1990s reports! This also represents some unknown species of ground-dwelling monkeyparallel to a rhesus monkey-DD]

“This fish is very viscious in the sea so that when a sailor throws himself into the water for some reason this fish turns on his back and tears out a leg or an arm and eats it."

[Another control entry, a man-eating shark. Incidentally, the name "Shark" is from the Mayan (Xoc) and circulated among the Pirates of the Caribbean-DD]
(How the Indians Usually Have Visions of the Evil Spirit)
“The Indians are much tormented at night by visions of the Evil Spirit whom they call in their language “Athoua.” They do not dare leave their houses at night–only when light has come–and this is because they have no belief nor education and do not worship anything...”

Leaving off the sort of turban of leaves and sticks the creature is wearing, we have what is very likely the earliest depiction of a Didi on record and also very likely one of the best and most straightforeward depictions of the Wildman type, from any time, from anywhere in South America. As mentioned in the earlier blog posting under Maricoxi, for the most part most of the South American "Abominable Snowmen" seem to be of the one type which Ivan Sanderson called Neanderthaloid in his review of the Maricoxi proper, in the scientific journal Genus.

Concerning the images themselves it amazes me to look at them in the artistic context of their time, because though I undoubtedly find them beautiful, when I remind myself that they were created in the 1590’s, and that at that same moment El Greco, Rubens, and Caravaggio were all active… well it’s surprising. Thought of in those terms it’s a wonder these weren’t made by the “Indians” themselves.

For a bit more on the manuscript see-
The Morgan Library page
Histoire naturelle des Indes on Google books.
This pdf from the National Humanities Center.

-Best Wishes, Dale D.


Thomas Finley [On the Right] is one of my favourite paintings I made especially for the Sasquatch Summit in honour of John Green last spring. Nice comparison Dale. :-)
The differences between the Eastern and Western types of creatures called Bigfoot are depicted in the artwok done under witness' supervision above and in the distinctive types of footprints in the track casts illustrated to the Left. In the latter case, E means East and W means West. The physical differences between the two populations makes a good case for multiple species involved and more diversity between the reports than is generally realised by researchers.
While I greatly welcome the journal Jeff Meldrum is posting in as well as his editorial, which includes much valuable evidence not made widely known before, I do wish to point out some caveats which must be considered along with any such discussion as well.

In considering the matter of relic hominoids and the concept of bushiness in our family tree, there are a couple of different things which are both in operation and both of them are working against each other. One is thetenfy and that is what causes the bushiness. But against the creation of new species there are the two major constraints of the time necessary to a new species and the available quantity of genetic changes which are possible within that time. You have a problem of time and you have a problemn of (genetic) space. Along with this is the central problem I always bring up: scientists have yet to make a definition of exactly how much genetic difference is need between two creature's genomes to determine a species which will be agreeable to all of the experts involved.

Recently I posted this chart on this blog along with the discussion on the genetic study it went with. The results shown on this chart show the interesting feature that whileeal of separation between the Classic Western European Neandertals and Denisovans, the gap is largely filled up by the older and more diversified Neanderthaloids which include the Asiatic populations. The Asiatic ones are about as far genetically from the Europeans as they are from the Denisovans. The likelihood that the Denisovans actually constitute a separate species is drastically reduced.

Proponents of bushiness are going on a general theory which is drawing on an estimated range of total number of species and estimating what share of that diversity should be in our family tree. Neither of those figures is actually demonstrated or even demonstrable: they are theoretical ideals. There are some practical considerations about how far one can take these things literally. I am also fond of pointing out that there is only so much genetic space between chimpanzees and humans and the tests state that the Neandertal DNA can take up to HALF of that available space, so where are you going to fit all of those other intermediate species in between. From the practical point of view, you need to be reducing the number of species and easing up on the pressure to fit more species into the ever-shrinking gap, rather than trying to multiply the number of species.

There is thus the balancing of diversifying categories for relic hominoid species and the  numbery represent  and then again consolidating the putitive species into fewer categories in order to satisfy the more conservative academics  and the lumpers.
Two recent articles by my friend Tyler Stone illustrate the problems we are dealing with both in creating the family trees and in estimating the number of reported types of unknowns we are dealing with. They are indicated below.

Archaic Homo sapiens

[Tyler Sone's blog Titanoceratops, for March 7, 2012]
There has been a big debate in recent years of whether or not Neanderthals are a subspecies of modern human (Homo sapiens neanderthalensis) or a separate species (Homo neanderthalensis). Most geneticists say that Neanderthal DNA is sufficiently different from ours to suggest that they are a different species. Yet while I was watching a Neanderthal documentary the other day called Clash of the Cavemen, one geneticist being interviewed said that the total number of genetic differences between modern people is about 1 in 1000. He then went on to say that the genetic differences between a modern person and a Neanderthal are 1.5-2 in 1000. This is barely beyond the normal variation found in humans. To me, this does not sound like enough genetic differences to qualify as another species.
The main problem is actually Homo heidelbergensis. Today it is generally acknowledged that H. heidelbergensis is the common ancestor of Neanderthals, modern humans, and the recently-discovered Denisova hominin. The problem with H. heidelbergensis is classifying it - over the years it has been classed as a subspecies of H. erectus, an archaic form of H. sapiens, and its own distinct species.*

Tree showing the evolution of hominins.
Image from

*Note: in this case I am going to consider H. antecessor, H. cepranensis, and H. rhodesiensis identical to H. heidelbergensis until sufficient fossils appear to show that they are different.
The fact is, the only feature that comes up that seems to really differentiate H. heidelbergensis is brain size; H. erectus fossils have an average cranial capacity of 900 cubic centimeters; this jumps to 1300 cubic centimeters in H. heidelbergensis, and both it and Neanderthals have cranial capacities that are either within or greater than the cranial capacity of H. sapiens.
Having looked at this, I think brain size is the key to identifying species of Homo. While it is very difficult to identify different species of human by their physical features, there are multiple areas in the hominin fossil record which show jumps in brain size, which in tern coincides with new technological innovations. Now, because Homo heidelbergensis, Homo sapiens, and Homo neanderthalensis all have brains that are the same size, it is my opinion that they are actually members of the same species: Homo sapiens (the Denisova hominin would be included as well; however, no cranial bones are known from this being at this time). In this case, they are all different subspecies: H. sapiens heidelbergensis, H. sapiens neanderthalensis, the Denisova hominin, and H. sapiens sapiens. If you wish to divide it even more, then you could also add H. sapiens rhodesiensis, H. sapiens antecessor, and H. sapiens cepranensis, although I think this may really be splitting the fossil forms a little too much. In the end, while the term "Archaic Homo sapiens" is generally considered outdated, this new information seems to suggest that it may be correct!

Comparison by Dale Drinnon of four basic cryptid primate types, including my Freshwater Monkey!
Image from

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Mystery Primate Omnibus (Sort of)

Having looked at the primate classification schemes proposed by Ivan Sanderson, Mark Hall, Loren Coleman and Patrick Huyghe, and Dale Drinnon, I have tried to create a classification scheme that encompasses all of their ideas and puts the animals into proper groupings. In this case, I think Sanderson's original classification is the most accurate, but that each one made after adds important sub-groupings, which I've included here. They are sorted from "most manlike" to "least manlike" in the style of Sanderson. ...[I shall move ahead to the conclusions part to show the whole catalogue but interested readers can always go back to Tyler's blog for the full article]
 UPDATE: after doing some more research, I have come to the conclusion that the "Marked Hominin" and "Neanderthaloid" Wildman sub-types are subspecies the same animal, Homo sapiens. Thus, I have dropped the Marked Hominin sub-type and combined it with the Neanderthaloid.

Additionally, while others would have Erectus Hominins be added to the above group as well, thus being the same species as H. sapiens, I consider H. erectus to be a distinct species and have thus decided to let the category stand.

I also see where there could be confusion: this is not an original list. It is my attempt to combine the lists of others in a way that makes sense and is accurate for the animals being described. Likewise, these categories aren't meant to symbolize one species, but rather is a simple way to sort different species into basic categories based on physical and behavioral characteristics. To prevent confusion, here is a list to show the total number of species present.

Wildmen (two, possibly three species)
  • Neanderthaloid [including a normal-sized and a large-sized morph like H.heidelbergensis]
  • Erectus Hominin
  • ?H. floresiensis?
Australopithecines (two definite species)
  • Gracile
  • Robust
Neo-Giants (two species)
  • Asian
  • American
Unknown Pongids (four species)
  • "Yeti"
  • "Skunk Ape"
  • Parapongo
  • American Siamang
Merbeings (three species)
  • Marine
  • Freshwater (Eurasian)
  • Freshwater (American)

Out of this list, however, Neanderthaloids, Erectus Hominins/H. floresiensis, and the Asian Neo-Giants appear to represent species known from the fossil record. On the other hand, Gracile and Robust Australopithecines, "Skunk Apes," and American Neo-Giants are all probably new species of known genera. This means that they all qualify as being known in one way or another. Thus, only the "Yeti," Parapongo, American Siamang, and Merbeings are completely  unknown, and likely all represent new species and genera, if not new families.
Primate family tree created by Dale Drinnon. While I agree with his points here, I would also add a branch for Australopithecus, Paranthropus, and Homo erectus.
Image from

Comment posted by Tzieth at Bigfoot Evidence on Mar 9, 2012 05:48 PM

Here is an example of how you can't assume all Hominid reports are Sasquatch (As in Patty). Almasty of Russia, Mongolia, China and the Caucasus are reported to make fire and medicinal teas and occasionally ware clothes and carry weapons. We also have these reports in the Pacific Northwest and Canada. "Neanderthaliods" The things in the South behave completely different and seem to be hairier and shorter on average. Unlike in the PNW, these things are said to be highly aggressive and territorial. (Pacific Northwest Sasquatch are thought to be nomadic and migratory as sightings drop in the winter here in Washington.)

Some of the Southern reports say they have fangs and four or three toed feet which could mean a mix of two different creatures reported in the same areas. which brings me to Skunkapes. Skunkapes have fangs and would leave three or four toed footprints [plus the offset "Thumb"] because they are most likely true apes with hand like feet. Depending on how the toes are spread as they walk, the prints from the same animal could vary. Florida has a problem with invasive species both plant and animal because virtually anything can not only survive, but flourish there. How skunkape got mixed in with "Bigfoot" I will never know. The actual reports are of chimp and orangutan-like creatures.

A-lot of the reports that come out of my native Texas are even more differing. East Texas reports are mostly they typical Southern Sasquatch. (Overly hairy around five-six feet tall and bulky.) But central and north Texas reports are of tall lanky creatures that are well toned, but not massive.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Another Possible FW Monkey in Arkansas?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What is this "Thing" in the Photo

The picture below was taken in Arkansas on a nice warm day. It just looks like a normal picture but if you will notice there is something in the background. Lupe Mendoza,The person who took this picture, did not see the figure while taking the picture. Once someone pointed it out Lupe showed the picture to us here at TCC.
Original photo by Lupe Mendoza

Now, we will zoom in on the object of interest...the figure becomes much more visible.
At this point you can see what appears to be an upright walking figure,but it looks kind of odd.
Now we will zoom right in on the figure and try to find out what it might be.
close up of figure

So after zooming it ..we can still not determine what this thing I have tried to enhance the photo and below is the results.

is that eyes?

So after zooming and trying to enhance this photo, we can see what could be eyes but we can still not say what it really is or isn't. It don't really seem to fit the appears of a bigfoot.

I have has shown this picture to a few people in private to see what they might think it could be and I have got replies ranging from Alien to werewolf.
So now Lupe has decided to release the photo for all to see and maybe someone can tell us what this figure is.

TCC thanks Lupe for showing us the photo and now releasing it to the public.
If you have an idea of what this could be, then please let us know.

[Copyright The Crypto Crew]
[Photo by Lupe Mendoza]
[Enhancements by TCC]
--Under those circumstances, that would NOT be an owl. Owls do not hover around swimming pools in broad daylight waiting for a chance to dip in (it looks like). Best Wishes, Dale D.

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Wednesday, 28 March 2012



The RELICT HOMINOID INQUIRY 1:51-56 (2012) From the Editor
Jeff Meldrum*
Department of Biological Sciences, Idaho State University, Pocatello, ID 83209-8007 *Correspondence to: Jeff Meldrum, Dept. Biol. Sci., Idaho State University, 921 S 8th Ave., Stop 8007, Pocatello, ID 83209-8007. email:
[Reprinted by written permission of the author: I shall append some comments in a followup article]
Recent developments in paleoanthropology have promoted a shift in attitude toward the question of relict hominoids. Over a half century ago, interpretations of the hominin fossil record were markedly different. Deriving from the influential evolutionary concept of competitive exclusion (Gauss, 1934), as applied to human evolution (Mayr, 1950), it was deemed that only one species could occupy the hominin niche at any given point in time. From this emerged the Single Species Hypothesis (Wolpoff, 1971). This hominin niche was associated with adaptations for habitual bipedalism, reduced canines, tool use, and culture. The latter was thought perhaps most significant, because with culture and the plasticity of learning, a species could conceivably broaden its niche space, further reducing the potential for sharing the landscape with other hominins (but see Winterhalder, 1981).

In 1976, Washburn and Ciochon challenged the reach of the hypothesis and opined that it was not until the emergence of Homo erectus that one species became so successful that all others were eliminated. They allowed that the preceding more “ape-like hominins,” i.e. the australopithecines, offered a radiation of contemporary coexisting species (see Lewin & Foley, 2004).

Shortly thereafter, the hypothesis further retreated when it was recognized that African Homo erectus (now H. ergaster), a large- brained human ancestor, had coexisted with Australopithecus (Paranthropus) bosei, a parallel lineage of small-brained facially robust hominins that presumably eventually went extinct (Leakey & Walker, 1976). These species display the expected ecological reaction to a sympatric competitor, i.e. niche partitioning, involving diet, micro-habitat divergence, and possibly also temporal differentiation of resource use (Winterhalder, 1981). Stephen J. Gould (1976) made a prediction in his popular column in Natural History, stating: “We know about three coexisting branches of the human bush [Homo habilis, Homo erectus, and Australopithecus bosei]. I will be surprised if twice as many more are not discovered before the end of the century.”

Indeed, mounting discoveries accumulating at a steady pace, reveal dozens of hominin species spanning a seven million year period (see Tattersall, 1996, but see White, 2009). The hominin phylogentic tree becomes increasingly bushy with each additional species. This proliferation of species is not merely an artifact of taxonomic “splitters” vs. “lumpers.” Martin (1990) has estimated that a mere 3% of past taxonomic diversity in primate paleocommunities has been recognized and documented in the fossil record. Assuming the same holds true for hominins, and taking a conservative tally of a dozen extinct hominin species, according to Martin’s estimate there could conceivably be 400 species of hominin as yet unknown. Given the particulars of the inferred natural history of large-bodied primates, and especially the tendencies for generalized behavioral ecology of hominins, such a high figure for hominin diversity seems rather unlikely (Arcadi, 2006). It emphasizes however, that the currently known fossil record likely underestimates past diversity. The perennial discovery of new hominin species attests to that expectation.

In addition to this growing appreciation of the bushiness of the hominin tree, there are revelations of the ever more recent persistence of a number of the branches or lineages within the tree. One of the most surprising discoveries was the enigmatic “Hobbit” or Homo floresiensis. This diminutive hominin unearthed on the Indonesian island of Flores has been dated to as recent as a mere 18 ka (Brown et al., 2004). The recognition of this startling species even prompted the editor of Nature to point out that since Homo floresiensis survived until so very recent, it was now more likely that stories of other so- called mythical, human-like creatures, such as the yeti are founded on grains of truth (Gee, 2004). He went on to acknowledge the possibility that the taxonomic and adaptive diversity of hominins was always high, has remained high until very recently, and might not be entirely extinguished. This was a notable concession reflecting a changing attitude, although one generally not so openly displayed.

The justification of the attribution of the “Hobbit” to the genus Homo has been questioned due to its small brain-size and primitive aspects of its skeleton (Meldrum, 2004). Recent studies of wrist and foot bones reveal primitive anatomies reminiscent of H. habilis or Australopithecus, again leading some to propose a pre-erectus African origin for the species (Tocheri et al., 2007; Jungers et al., 2009; Morwood and Jungers, 2009). This raises even more questions over hypotheses about the origins of H. floresiensis and its arrival on the Indonesian island of Flores. Australopithecines are presently only known from Africa. Did a late australopithecine/ early Homo disperse across Asia without leaving any record of its passage? This is certainly under serious discussion.

Another hominin potentially exhibiting a more recent persistence then previously recognized is Asian Homo erectus. Dating of Homo erectus sites at the extreme of its range in Southeast Asia has produced ages of 30-50 ka, suggesting possible contemporaneity with modern H. sapiens arriving in the region (Swisher et al., 1996). These younger dates were seemingly contradicted by a later study; however the older dates could be attributed to reworked sediments at the site (Indriati et al., 2011). Should the younger dates be substantiated, this would prove a hominin example of relative biogeographic isolation and survival that parallels the persistence of the last Neanderthals.

The discovery of the Denisova hominins added another branch to the bush (Krause et al., 2010). The fragmentary fossils date to only 30 ka and were recovered from a cave site in southern Siberia, in the Altai Mountains near the Mongolian border. The completed sequence of the Denisova hominin genome established this species as distinct from modern humans and Neanderthals (Reich et al., 2010). The remains include remarkably robust teeth and toe bones (Mednikova, 2011; Reich et al., 2010). The tooth, if correctly identified as a third molar, is as large as that of an australopithecine. Green, one of the lead researchers contemplated, "…you have to wonder if there were other populations that remain to be discovered.”

That Neanderthals and modern Homo sapiens coexisted on the European continent for tens of thousands of years has long been recognized. During this extensive period of overlap they remained separate and distinct populations. The sequencing of the Neanderthal genome has revealed minimal introgression between the species (Green et al., 2010; Currat and Excoffier, 2011). While much press has been directed to this limited, even trivial, gene flow, of even greater implication is the flip-side to this observation – that such genetically similar species remained almost entirely distinct in spite of millennia of contact.

A new cave site in the Altai Mountains has produced additional Neanderthal fossils, at the most easterly known extent of their range, with preliminary dates of only 10-20 ka (Reich, personal communication). This is less than half the previous latest occurrence for Neanderthals previously documented – 28 ka, possibly as young as 24 ka (Delson and Harvati, 2006). The geographic range for Neanderthals may has increased in another direction as well, with archeological evidence suggesting they occupied the subarctic northern extent of the Ural Mountains in Russia, some 33 ka (Slimak et al., 2011). Only the recovery of skeletal remains will confirm this site as Neanderthal. The possibility of Neanderthal persistence into the present has been examined in the scientific literature by Porshnev (1974), Bayanov and Bourtsev (1976) and Shackley (1982).

Homo heidlebergensis (sometimes referred to as archaic Homo sapiens) were large and robust pre-modern hominins considered the common immediate antecedents of modern humans and Neanderthals. Some researchers have portrayed them as “giants” dubbing them “Goliath” in the popular literature (Kappleman, 1997). Lee Berger suggested that Homo heidlebergensis populations routinely produced 7 foot tall individuals and reconstructed them accordingly with Steve Churchill for a National Geographic documentary “Searching for the Ultimate Survivor.” While middle Pleistocene hominins were large, the Goliath moniker is an exaggeration (see Ruff et al, 1997). Whether Homo heidlebergensis’ range encompassed eastern Asia is debated (Lu et al., 2011). However, a specimen of pre-modern hominin recovered from the site of Lishu, on display at Peking University, has a preliminary date of 12-20 ka (Lu, personal communication). Therefore, an observer of the Asian landscape of only 20 ka could potentially encounter any of a half dozen hominin species coexisting there.

The implication of the recognized bushy hominin tree was a major theme developed in a Nova documentary series “Becoming Human.” The final episode, which introduced modern humans, was titled “Last Human Standing: Many human species once shared the globe. Why do we alone remain?” Introductory remarks addressed the singular circumstance of Homo sapiens’ solitary inheritance of the world. The producers’ explanation for this situation echoed the earlier pronouncement of Washburn and Ciochon (1976) on the supremacy of Homo erectus, by suggesting that in this case, Homo sapiens were so successful that all other hominins were eliminated from the scene. This assertion may prove as unfounded for Homo sapiens as it was for Homo erectus a quarter century earlier. What was not considered was the implication of the question “Why do we alone remain?” — that is, why would the present be the exception to the rule that has apparently prevailed throughout hominin history?

The fossil record of apes has likewise grown into a very bushy tree. A remarkable taxonomic and adaptive diversity of ape species is unfolding, with nearly 100 extinct species throughout the Miocene and Pliocene (Begun, 2003; Cameron, 2004). We find apes associated not only with evergreen tropical forests but also with swamps, grassland savannas, seasonal woodlands, and subtropical to even temperate habitats not usually considered associated with preconceptions of ape lifeways. We find a diversity of dietary and correlated dental adaptations, with Eurasian hominids displaying enamel molar thickness and canine reduction rivaling even the most extreme morphologies of later African hominins, such as the robust australopithecines. We learn that the derived ape form of locomotion, i.e., forelimb suspension, must have evolved independently in the Dryopithecinae, the modern African apes, and a third time in Pongo — a powerful example of parallelism to consider when contemplating the multiple evolutions and derivations of bipedalism. And yet even this broadened perspective is inherently biased, since representation in the fossil record is skewed toward those habitats most conducive to fossilization and those strata subsequently uplifted and exposed to funded explorations.

There is a notable gap in the fossil record of apes for the past 5 million years. The extant great apes are themselves merely relict species in tropical forest refugia, poised on the brink of extinction. Virtually no immediate fossil antecedents of the African apes are known, with the exception of three isolated teeth of a fossil chimpanzee 500 ka (McBrearty and Jablonski, 2005). Sparse dental remains of orangutan-like species are found throughout the Pleistocene of mainland southeast Asia (Zhao et al., 2009). The extant orangutan is now restricted to the islands of Borneo and Sumatra.

Few additional species emerge from the gap. An Asian “mystery ape” has been suggested as a newly recognized member of the mid- Pleistocene Stegedon-Ailuropoda fauna (Ciochon, 2009). However this may be less mysterious than proposed and instead be a late survival of Lufengpithecus, or a closely related descendant form (Etler et al., 2001; Etler, 2009).

The only other ape currently recognized in the Asian Stegedon-Ailuropoda fauna is Gigantopithecus. This massive ape has been referred to as the “fifth great ape” because it had been the only species, other than those now extant, recognized to have persisted well into the Pleistocene, until 250-300 ka (Cameron, 2004; Rink et al., 2008). The very real potential for the persistence of Gigantopithecus into the recent has been acknowledged by past researchers such as John Napier (1973), who observed, “It is possible that these creatures, thought by anthropologists to be long extinct, survived in refuge areas such as some of the deep forested river gorges of the Himalayan range until relatively recent times. The absence of a fossil record is not necessarily evidence of extinction.”

As recently as 1998, Chris Stringer acknowledged that the yeti legend might not be so far-fetched as often presumed, and may indeed have been inspired by surviving populations of Gigantopithecus. He allows that the giant ape may survive today in the dense forests of Southeast Asia. Stringer recognized that it would be wrong to assume that Gigantopithecus-like creatures could not survive to the present day without being discovered. “It could have survived until the appearance of modern humans 50,000 years ago, and it is at least possible that it is still living as a very rare creature in remote forest areas,” Stringer contemplated. On this matter, David Begun noted, “There is no reason that such a beast could not persist today. After all we know from the sub-fossil record that gorilla-size lemurs lived on the island of Madagascar until they were driven to extinction by humans only 1,000 years ago” (Begun, 2003).

There are numerous isolated specimens that are suggestive of as yet unrecognized species. We have likely only begun to scratch the surface. Is the five million year gap in the ape record actually the demise of this radiation? Obviously the progenitors of the extant great apes bridge the gap, although we have very little to show for it. As for extant species — the Bili (or Bondo) ape is remindful that the discovery of the mountain gorilla in 1902 could well be repeated. In this instance, genetic testing determined that the Bili ape is a known subspecies of chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii, although a population that is exceptionally large and displays a unique culture with many habits similar to those of gorillas (Hicks, in press).

Certainly it is possible that Homo sapiens is indeed the last hominin standing; likewise, that gorillas, chimps, bonobos and orangutans are the last apes standing, or hanging as the case may be. Extinction happens. But if we are to learn from history, and recognize the implications of the growing bushiness of the hominoid tree, combined with the recent persistence of several of its branches, then the possibility of relict hominoids should not be dismissed out-of-hand, particularly when evidence – suggestive at least, if not yet definitive – accumulates to that end.

Could a relict pre-modern hominin, e.g. Homo neandertalensis, or Homo denisova, be the explanation for the Russian almas? Could a relict ape, e.g. Lufungpithecus, be the explanation for the yeti of the subtropical forests of the Himalayas? Could a relict australopithecine be the explanation for the orang pendek in southeast Asia? Could Gigantopithecus, or some hominin, e.g. Paranthropus, be the explanation for the Chinese yeren, or the North American sasquatch? In the context described above, these are legitimate and timely questions worthy of the serious consideration of the anthropological community. Thus the birth of the RHI.

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Tuesday, 27 March 2012

More on US Neodinosaurs

I found some interesting versions of description about "Neodinosaurs" on an internet site which is converting the reports into gaming statistics. In this case the base data seems to be drawn from any of a number of Living Dinosaur sites, all of which tend to have much the same data.  Here are a couple of examples:

Mountain Boomer Max Height: 7ft (2.1 metres)
Max Length: 18 ft (5.5 metres)
Max Weight: 660lb (300 kilos)
Diet: Herbivore
Agressiveness: 1 [inoffensive]
Rarity: Common
user posted image user posted image
Background Info: The Mountain Boomer is a small sized (by dinosaur standards) bipedal dinosaur evolved from a Thescelosaurus-like ornithopod.
Female Mountain Boomers are generally 6 to 7 feet tall while smaller males are usually 3 to 5 feet high. The males have a more vivid coloration than the females.
The Mountain Boomer are found everywhere ... but tend to nest in the more remote mountain regions where they sleep lives in caves or burrows.
Its is extremely fast, swift and agile, easily being able to outrun a human or other predator. Additionally, it has a tremendous leap.
The creatures are shy and reclusive, fleeing as defence.
They have a strange wolf-like howl. [This last can be discounted as a mistaken actual wolf howl]

The "Kangaroo-Lizard Chupacabras" generally falls into the "Male" range of sizes here but some can be larger. The males have red eyes (red irises). The spiny back crest would go all the way down the back in both sexes but it is larger and more prominent on the male.

Later on there is a similar entry for "River Liz",
River LizardMax Height: 3.5 ft (1 metre)[to five feet]
Max Length: 5 ft (1.5 metres)[to 2 meters/ 7 feet long]
Max Weight: 33 lb (15 kg)
Diet: Omnivore, Insectivore
Agressiveness: 1
Rarity: Very common
user posted image user posted image
Background Info: The River Lizards, as they have come to be known, are a genus of small theropod dinosaur. Their exact evolutionary history is not known at the current time, although a veriety of primitive ornithomimosaur similar to Pelecanimimus or Harpymimus is the most widely accepted theory. Other suggestions have been made that they are perhaps descended from a member of the Troodontidae, or Dromaeosauridae families...[Afterwards bogging down in the Taxonomy]

Both of these models can easily be combined into a description of one kind of "Minidinosaur" and the size given for the "River Liz" matches the"Mountain Boomer" male. In fact there is no reason to make the size differences into sex differences rather than growth stages. The "River Liz" head should similarly be shortened and roundish, and the coloration of both being in basically a green background shading to gray in parts like the belly, overlaind by large irregular brown bands or splotches. The back has a sort of a crest on it and there may be hornlike structures on the head. All of this is in agreement with the actual reports. Whereas originally I was unwilling to allow the "Female" sizes indicated here in the reports I saw, they are actually in the reports that way, and so my disallowal was more a matter of opinion than anything else.

Recently, reportsof "Minidinos" in the Southwesten area of the USA have tended to resemble "Dilophosaurus" out of the movie Jurassic Park, or the modern frilled lizards of Australia. since this is a fancy of the filmmakers and a misrepresentation of the actual dinosaur named, these sightings are unlikely to be of the animal genus so named, but some could be of actual escaped-exotic-pet lizards (Which were all the rage in Japan a few years back)
There has been a recent rash of soghtings of the "MiniRex" lizards that resembled this in the Four Corners area around Hogsback NM. The reports in general (With or without mentioning the frill) are comparable in scale to the dinosaur comparisons made on the charts below:

-Which is just about comparable for the estimates made for the (Texas) "Mountain Boomers" given above. There is also the possible explanations that "Mountain Boomer" reports in the past have specified large flaps of skin above and below the headead of horizontally, such as can be found in other types of known Iguanid lizards living today. Some lizards have the flaps in both places, like some anole lizards ("Chameleons"):

Then there is the South American "Iguanodon" of Heuvelmans:
SaruMax Height: 9.8 ft (3 metres) [9 ft?]
Max Length: 33 ft (10 metres) [24 ft? As per reports]
Max Weight: 3.5 tons (3.0 metric tonnes)
Diet: Herbivore
Agressiveness: 4
Rarity: Medium
user posted image user posted image
Background Info: The Saru is an bizarre herbivorous dinosaur of which has been subject to an extreme amount of evolutionary adaptability. Surprisingly descended from a sauropod, like the Mokele-Mbembe... This adaptation seems to have occurred in order for the animal to fill the ecological niche of the Iguanodonts and Hardrosaurus which are surprisingly absent ....
Behaviour: A herbivore often seen browsing on mid-height vegetation. The Saru can be aggressive if attacked and can kill small predators but prefers to flee in most circumstances.
It is terrestrial but can swim if need be. It moves very slowly, balancing with its long tail.

--I find it interesting that the native name for this is supposed to be "Saurus". Perhaps in South America the Cryptological counterpart is actually called Lagarto? The term "Big Iguana" or "Biguana" has some adherants, and at least one Cryptozoological site refers to it as a "Giant Basilisk Lizard": it is also what Eberhart refers to as the "Venezuelan Monitor"
Venezuelan Monitor
Unknown LIZARD of South America.
Physical description: Large monitor lizard.
Distribution:Galeras de El Pao, in Guárico and
Cojedes States, Venezuela; near Angel Falls, Bolí-
var State, Venezuela; the Cerro Santa Ana, Penin-
sula de Paraguana, Falcón State, Venezuela.
Significant sightings: A prospector from Cara-
cas told ecologist Léon Croizat in 1972 that a
large lizard resembling a Komodo dragon lived
in the Galeras de El Pao. Herpetologist J. B. Graham saw a large, unknown lizard near the base of the Cerro Santa Ana in 1976 or 1977.
Sources: Silvano Lorenzoni, “More on Extant Dinosaurs,” Pursuit, no. 47 (Summer 1979):
105–109; Silvano Lorenzoni (letter), Pursuit,no. 50 (Spring 1980): 95.

  • Mountain boomer (West Texas NA): A 6 foot tall dinosaur-like animal reported from areas of western Texas. If it exists, think it is some kind of large, bipedal lizard, perhaps related to the Trimble County lizard, but more strongly bipedal.

  • Colorado "dinosaurs" (Pagosa Springs region of Colorado NA): A woman from this area claims to have seen many dinosaur in her life. She says that she saw 5 babies once when she was little, and that a local farmer killed a 7 foot tall one a couple months later. She also claims to have run across a green one in a local cave, and to have seen one many years later while driving on a road near that same cave. Personally, I think she needs help, and soon, but anyone is welcome to follow up on her reports. I'm sure not going to.

  • Colorado "river lizards" (The area around and islands on the Fountain River NA): A long-standing local folklore in this region includes things like the prairie devil and "evil river spirits", and recent reports from a local boy concurr that there may be something strange living on and around the Fountain. The boy claims to have watched a greenish coloured lizard with black markings and a yellow-orange belly running on it's hind legs away from him. Anoter local took a series of pictures, but they are indistinct and could be easily faked. However, there is one very good picture, showing a man holding up a 3 foot long lizard with small front legs and long, strong hindlegs. If that was faked, it was done with a very good model. My personal opinion is that these are bipedal lizards, like the mountain boomer but smaller.

  • Amazonian "duckbills" (Northwestern Amazon SA): This is a case showing how much wishful thinking can really effect what we find to be "true". For the longest time, the "duck-billed dinosaurs" were considered to be semi-aquatic, and generally like giant ducks. Thus, living dinosaur fanatics often talk about aquatic reptiles being sighted in South America, which just *have* to be hadrosaurs. It is now well known that, not only were hadrosaurs fully terrestrial grazers, but they were not even bipeds; facultative bipeds perhaps, but primarily quadrupedal. Their fingers and toes had thick hoof-like nails on them, and they probably lived an overall bison-like lifestyle. So, then, what about these "aquatic reptiles" that are sid to exist in the Amazon? Well, short of calling all the dino-freaks liars, I'll suggest an enormous species of basalisk. But that's just being courteous.

    In this case I think we have a fair assumption that we are dealing with one wide-ranging species of Iguanid lizard, blamed for "Chupacabras" crimes in something like its "Mountain Boomer" form, and in which the tropical form in South America could be larger than the subtropical, drier-climate forms in the US SW and in Northern Argentina. The largest ones are really big (20-30 feet maximum is alleged, half of that is probably much more common and more nearly the maximum of the subtropical form) but can still rear up on their hinder legs to about ten feet tall (also alleged in the first instance I heard as being on record in the USA, but I still doubt that report) The smaller ones are omnivores and insectivores but the larger ones are more often herbivorous (but may also take carrion or else perhaps root around in the stomachs of freshly-killed sheep and cattle, eating out the stomach contents?)


    In checking the possibility that some "Duendes" in Mexico might be Freshwater monkeys, research took a side turn and headed instead for the dwarfish creatures called Chaneques. Whereas there is some question about whether the Duendes and Aluxub being heavily influenced by or even introduced by the Europeans becuse the stories are so similar the the Fairy Tales of Europe, the Chaneable tradition behind them in Mexico. It is thought by some that the tradition runs back to the Olmecs.

    In June 2007, workers at a veterinary ranch in Metepec found that some birds they were breeding had been mysteriously killed. Fearing that some hungry rat was the cause of these attacks, they set up traps and waited. The following afternoon, Angel Nuñez, a veterinary assistant, found “something” lodged in the trap. He tossed it into a tanning solution without looking, figuring it was one of the pesky Egyptian rats that sometimes found their way to the ranch.
    The next day it was discovered that the “rat” was really a small life-form with humanoid characteristics. Angel informed his colleagues immediately and they examined the strange creature, which exhibited a morphology neither had ever seen. The being was around 28 inches tall, with a large head, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, incisors, hands with five fingers, and, most intriguingly, a short tail.
    Francisco García, an employee at the ranch, recalled this about the incident: “It was a chaneque! They are elves that exist in the underworld and go around playing pranks. I’ve seen it when it comes out one side of the gate and looks out at the street. Then it retreats quickly when it notices I’m watching. This time we’ve trapped one and proved they’re real.”
    The strange animal is still on display at the ranch as testimony to the existence of chaneques. Studies conducted on the body have proved inconclusive and, for now, the enigma of the humanoid being of Metepec continues.
    [This one was 28 inches tall but the creatures are often reported as being a meter tall or so-DD]

    Chaneque or Ohuican Chaneque, as they were called by the Aztecs, are legendary creatures in Mexican folklore. They are conceived of as small, sprite-like beings, elemental forces and guardians of nature.
    By tradition, these beings would attack intruders, frightening them so that their soul would abandon their body, which the chaneques enclosed in the depth of the land. If the victim did not recover their soul through a specific ritual, he or she would become ill and die soon after.
    In some contemporary legends, chaneques are described as children with the face of old men or women, that make people stray during three or seven days, after which the victims cannot recall anything that happened... although it is thought that they are taken by the chaneques to their home in the Underworld, of which the entrance is a dry kapok tree.
    Similar mythical beings are common in Mesoamerican and other Latin American folkloric traditions generally, referred to in Spanish as duende. In the folkloric tradition of the Yucatán Peninsula, these elementals are known as aluxob in Yucatec Maya.

    --The physical descriptions of the Chaneques is similar to the Freshwater Monkeys or even more particularly to the Hopkinsville entities: large head with spiky hair coming out of the sides of it, large pointed ears, large eyes directed outward, pinched nose, wide slit mouth full of small sharp-pointed teeth, small but muscular body, long arms with clawed hands, and webbed three-clawed feet. In the depictions below they are most often shown with feet that are awkwardly-placed or reversed. The Chaniques were always associated with water and rainfall, and undreground grottoes where they lived on fish, salamanders and crawfish.[The feet turned backward is a frequent mythological garnish and we can safely disregard it]

    Most of these Chanique designs and illustrations were made by Rocio Arvea Goopar and were found on his blog at:!/2011/11/chaneque-final-design.html   and the related pages linked to it.

    Chaniques have also supposedly filmed periodically such as on this youtube video clip.

    Ucumar and Duende

    I always say that in Cryptozoology when you are working with traditions, you have the different component parts of Folklore and then again the actual reports to work with. Following are two popular secions of Folklore about some common Latin-American Cryptids, published many times in many internet Folklore sites. In this case the legends come from Northern Argentina. Very few aspects of the reports come through in the Folklore, but it is more important to remember that the Native informants will always have the Folklore in mind when they are making reports.

    [Babel Fish Translation]
    The ucumar also called "UKUMAN". The word comes from the Quechua and means "body, material part of a living being." That's what it was just a body. A body without a soul apparently awful. The ugly things are forbidden to roam the range of feelings. And he was a human, covered with black hair, long, dirty, hard, but elastic. The lines of his face only included two small eyes, intense, dark and sunken. The hairs that fell were born on the forehead over the nose and mouth, separated only by snorts and jowls on either side. The mouth was a huge, slimy pit, and protruding teeth, isolated from each other, each with its own angle. If senas had breasts or was not a matter of controversy among the villagers half jungle half walk. When he was born, his father wanted to drown him. The mother protected his in her arms and never abandoned. She had more love for the little monster for his five beautiful children before. By his zeal and his sentence was being alone and sick. As she lay dying, more strongly than ever hugged and looked at the strange body that she had given birth. tore his body rigid and the monster that roared and howled. As luck would be thrown into a corner of the big hut, until the funeral rites were met with the mother. When they returned the brothers and the father not knowing what to do, between the sounds of other people, found curled up and released the strange sounds, like crying. It was not mercy that saved his life. There was fear in the hut. As you could see no genitals, but his legs were stained with each moon, was the "ucumara." It was huge, sullen and grumpy and apparently fearful. One of the men of the village , of the same time, between twilight and solitude stealth approached the village-hut with increasing frequency. Undeterred he feared neither the grunts and jumps with that ostentatious "ucumara" repaid their visits were brief, but tense. One he threw fruit and another day a piece of man. The tribe devoured the prisoners of war and the owner of enemy dead was the owner of the banquet. The "ucumara" ate and left no remains. It was understood then that he appreciated the gift and therefore man repeated as often as he could, receiving payments more suspirados grunts, jumps less aggressive. One day in the middle of the village walked to the distant river, to meet the annual ceremony of worship the growing tumultuous and thunderous bringing the melting of the white peaks. The man returned, choosing places to be seen and not after a fierce struggle, raped the "ucumara." Since then his surliness was total and his anger increased. Hated men and the around them. The stones of her hut disappeared, thrown with great force against every living creature that was approaching. When he had no stones, fled. returned a stormy afternoon and kidnapped her rapist and no one dared to stop it, let alone the victim, overcome its to shock and dragged one leg by rocks and mudslides to the stone den where, we imagine, arrived more dead than alive. There had to choose between life and marriage: she chose love, and for a time the pace was the pace of "ucumara" that, and pregnant and confused, with swollen abdomen, breathing, thinking more of themselves, which in complacent prisoner. One day she seemed to find opportunity, when the monster was groaning with labor pains. fled from the cave, fast and frightening, but the "ucumara" between roars and pain hit him. He grabbed her head and dragged the body of his love to the cave. Between tears and convulsions ate it. Poso after another UCUMARA born, all covered with hair, black, hard, but elastic, head to toe. Nursed her daughter, taught her to eat meat and when the shoot and hunt with his hands, with a roar of soul, died easily death and went to heaven of the monsters in the peace of the mountain. The legend bifurcates from the birth of ucumar. One side says the monster crying for the death of his mother, was so strong and torn that it reached the ears of Wiracocha - seafoam-white-bearded god who ruled Cuzco blondes and soothe his pain, he promised immortality. Another argues that mythological venerate Wiracocha was presented to ucumar and to punish him for his crimes and licentiousness, given eternal life roaming the hills and jungles. So too stoned rapists who hung on the permanent threat of being devoured by the ucumar. The legend, of Peruvian origin, is widespread in Salta and Jujuy. In our province lies the monster in the departments of San Pedro and Ledesma hovering around sugar mills. The popular imagination made ​​him prisoner or shareholder of one of them.

     El Duende They call it "dobente" in Puna. It is the universal trickster in its Puna. They believe in him and fear him. are nature spirits who wander in the wilderness all farmers of the world and probably has its origins with the arrival of Spanish. They are the chimerical beings born in the popular fantasies of all countries, which have in common with each other Lilliputian size, natural genius, restless and playful and constant penchant for torturing men, boys and maidens, in a thousand different ways. In the highlands is identified naked and no more than 50 centimeters [18 inches] in height, with an iron hand and a wool hat and a huge wide brim that covers entirely from above his little body. There are good Duendes and evil Duendes; neither side is very good nor very bad. Always mischievous. In Jujuy they lurk behind the lonely rock of the Puna and in the depths of the spring. In the jungle they are known very little and in the plains they are ignored. According to tradition it is always good to carry a rosary or a tie, which serves to keep them away. The people with guns go away, the magic does not get past the sombrero. They have some countrymen, who, at times have heard him play music in the hills, in a sad way, and sing like weeping.

    Duendis: at right artist's conception for Sanderson's version