Showing posts with label Tetrapod Zoology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tetrapod Zoology. Show all posts

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Scientific American's Tetrapod Hosts Speculate on the Yeti

Himalayan Yeti in summer pelt, surrounded by flowering rhododendron.
Image by John Conway, from the forthcoming Cryptozoologicon.
All Yesterdays: Unique and Speculative Views of Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Animals was a successful book written created by palaeozoologist Darren Naish, and palaeontological artists John
Conway and C.M. Kosemen. Mr. Naish and Mr. Conway host Scientific American's Tetrapod Zoology Podcast.

They will soon release a book in the same flavor as All Yesterdays, but with a cryptozoological theme titled Cryptozoologicon. Earlier today (08.04.2013), Scientific American's Tetrapod Zoology Blog posted presented a preview of Yeti section of Cryptozoologican.

It starts out great distinguishing that the white-furred-blue-skin yeti is more of a Hollywood conception:

The Yeti is easily one of the most famous of mystery creatures. The Yeti of the cryptozoological literature is not the shaggy-furred, white snowbeast of Hollywood movies and popular artwork. Instead, it’s a blackish, dark brown, or red-brown animal of the sub-temperate and temperate forests and mountainsides of the Himalayan Mountains and Tibetan Plateau, predominantly bipedal and 3 m or so in height (though, to be fair, white Yetis have supposedly been reported from Tibet). Eyewitness and mythological accounts believed to describe the Yeti come from such countries as Russia, China, Nepal, Tibet and India. Across this large area, a variety of different local names are believed by cryptozoologists to describe the same creature (Shackley 1983). However, there is much variation in the size, form and behaviour of the hairy ape-men described across this area by witnesses and known from lore, so one interpretation favoured by some cryptozoologists is that there are actually two kinds of yeti, or that we’re actually seeing references to a huge cast of unknown hominids that range from shaggy, orangutan-like species to surviving Dryopithecus-like species, australopithecines, Neanderthals, members of Homo erectus and others (Heuvelmans 1986, Coleman & Huyghe 1999).
Although they ultimately conclude the Yeti as, "an amalgamation of fleeting glimpses of known animals (including bears, takin and serows) with both the universal wildman archetype and with local Asian lore about humanesque, mountain-dwelling demons.." This does not stop the palaeo-power team to serious speculate on (from their perspective), "What if the Yeti were real?"

Most of the speculations we might make about the Yeti (if we assume it to be a real animal) have already been made in the extensive cryptozoological literature on it. Heuvelmans (1958) gave the Yeti the suggested scientific name Dinanthropoides nivalis and proposed that giant size evolved within a lineage of arboreal Asian apes, that the members of this lineage came down to the ground, and that specialisation for life in mountainous, snowy places encouraged them to become bipedal. He implied a close link between the Yeti and Gigantopithecus but did not think that these apes were close to orangutans. This scenario would require that Yeti bipedalism evolved independently from that seen in humans and other hominids, and it’s contradicted by evidence indicating that hominid bipedalism first evolved in an arboreal setting, later being improved by those lineages that took to increased terrestrial life (see the Orang-pendek section, pp. 13-15).

While some authors have implied or argued that the Yeti and Sasquatch are members of the human lineage, we prefer the view that these are bipedal pongines, convergently similar to hominins in some ways but different with respect to the details of anatomy, gait and behaviour. Indeed, Yeti sightings create the impression of a hominid not all that different from the paranthropines, the more robust of the extinct, African australopithecines. Dinanthropoides walks bipedally with slightly bent knees, its body leaning more forwards than is the case in our species, and its long arms reaching down to its knees. Its resting poses more recall those of orangutans and gorillas than humans, and it can even move quadrupedally when scrambling up hillside and among large rocks. Its feet are only superficially human-like, the enlarged, only semi-divergent hallux and broad heel representing strong terrestrial specialisation in a primate that started its terrestrial career with a typical hominid foot like that of orangutans.

Yetis are not reported to use tools; however, this may be due to a lack of detailed observation. We know today that orangutans, gorillas and chimps all use tools in the wild: these behaviours went unknown for decades and (in most populations) only occur rarely. A strong jaw and massive, strong teeth make Dinanthropoides an expert at breaking fruits and nuts (Tchernine 1974). As a hominid adapted for temperate, often cool, habitats, Dinanthropoides is able to deal with warm summer conditions as well as far cooler, winter ones thanks to seasonal changes in the length and thickness of its pelt, though these changes don’t happen across all Yeti populations. Our Himalayan Yetis are in their thinner, reddish summer coats (the scene depicts a time several decades in the past, when the Himalayas were more extensively covered by snow and ice than they are today).

If only more people were prepared to accept the reality of the Yeti, Sasquatch and Orang-pendek, they would realise that the supposed differences between humans and other great apes merely reflect the fact that the ‘intermediate’ taxa are extinct or scientifically unrecognised. Yet again blinkered, hidebound establishment Ivory Tower scientists, more interested in sitting behind their computers than searching the world for real animals, are holding back scientific progress!!!!!!! THEY WILL BE SHOWN WRONG IN THE END!!!

The Cryptozoologicon – by John Conway, C. M. Kosemen and Darren Naish – is due out later in 2013 and will be published by Irregular Books. Follow @IrregularBooks on twitter.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Encounters with Gigantic Orangutans

We have been negligent in our postings about primatology and feel bad. We decided to bring you the story of the Gigantic Orangutans of Borneo.

At Tetrapod Zoology (hardcore fans, like us, call it Tet Zoo for short), Darren Naish is profiled as "a science writer, technical editor and palaeozoologist (affiliated with the University of Portsmouth, UK) who mostly works on Cretaceous dinosaurs and pterosaurs."

He writes great articles that sometimes border into the realm of Cryptozoology while maintaining the rigor of science. Without further ado, please read the excerpt below and follow the link to Encounters with Gigantic Orangutans.

Over the past couple of months I've been reading John MacKinnon's In Search of the Red Ape (Collins, 1974) - one of the first books anyone reads whenever they want to learn about orangutans. The book is stuffed full of anecdotes and other natural history tales about Borneo and Sumatra, and it seems that MacKinnon (who, these days, is best known for his association with the discovery of the Saola Pseudoryx nghetinensis in Vietnam (MacKinnon 2000, Van Dung et al. 1993, 1994)) encountered just about every creature you could hope to encounter in the tropical jungles of the region... yes, even the enigmatic orang-pendek (or its tracks, at least).

Anyway, one particular section of the book really stands out for me: the bit where MacKinnon catches sight of a gigantic, terrestrially walking male orangutan...

I was nearly home when I saw a terrifying spectacle. For a moment I thought it was a trick of my vision. A huge, black orang-utan was walking along the path towards me. I had never seen such a large animal even in a zoo. He must have weighed every bit of three hundred pounds. Hoping that he had not noticed me, I dived behind a large tree. I was in no state to defend myself, or run from him should he come for me, and I could recall clearly the natives' terrible stories about old, ground-living orangs. I held my breath as the monster passed within a few feet of me and let him get about forty yards ahead before I followed in pursuit. He was enormous, as black as a gorilla but with his back almost bare of hair; Ivan the Terrible was the only name I could think of. (MacKinnon 1974, p. 54)

We guarantee you will love reading the rest at Tetrapod Zoology

SRC:Tetrapod Zoology
Tet Zoo: Chimpanzees make and use spears
Tet Zoo:Bipedal Orangs
"What to Make of Yowies?" by Darren Naish at Science Blogs

Bigfoot's Walking Cousins
Lair of the Beasts: Seeking the Indian Bigfoot

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

G'Day Yowie!

G'Day Yowie! Yowie is the somewhat affectionate term for an unidentified hominid reputed to lurk in the Australian wilderness. It is an Australian cryptid similar to the Himalayan Yeti and the North American Bigfoot.

We get a double dose of Yowie on the web. First, Darren Naish at's Tetrapod Zoology reviews the book "The Yowie: In Search of Austrailia's Bigfoot."

Darren Naish is a vertebrate palaeontologist with six years of phd work on theropod dinosaurs behind him, he mostly spends long hours in the library, hunched over his laptop.

Naise makes it clear how he feels about cryptozoology--kind of.

"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...I don't reject the possible existence of these creatures out of hand.

The review of the book is fascinating and thorough, it almost goes chapter by chapter.

At Craig Woolheater's Cryptomundo, Loren Coleman says there has been an uptick in reports to him regarding Yowie.

Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

The Cryptomundo post also includes videos interviews with Yowie witnesses.

"What to Make of Yowies?" by Darren Naish at Science Blogs
"Awash with Yowies aplenty mate" by Loren Coleman at Cryptomundo
Update to AKA Bigfoot World Map by Epic Gilgamesh at Bigfoot Lunch Club

View AKA Bigfoot World Map in a larger map

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