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Cryptozoology. Yeti. Bigfoot. Orang Pendek. Alma. Wildmen, Myth or reality?
Artist impression of the Yeti.
Wildmen myths from around the world. Cryptozoology.
Crypto zoology is the study of creatures such as The Yeti, Bigfoot, Sasquash, Yowie, Alma, Sehites, Skunk apes, Orang Pendek, the Woodwose of medieval Europe, it doesn’t matter which name they go by, almost every civilisation on Earth has a Yeti or wild man myth. Yeti and bigfoot are no doubt the best known.
Descriptions of these Various creatures are remarkably similar - large, ape like, bipedal, hairy, secretive. Many eyewitnesses also mention a strong smell, in the case of the Skunk ape of the southern states of America very strong - hence it’s name!
It seems to be almost impossible that so many different groups of humans, who are not in contact with each other, should come up with such similar myths if they don’t have a basis in fact. In the case of Bigfoot/Sasquash there does appear to be an ever growing body of evidence for the existence of a large unknown primate living in the vast wilderness of the Pacific Northwest of America and Canada.
Even allowing for the many hoaxes, the huge number of sightings, casts, recordings etc are becoming increasingly hard for people, even those people within the scientific community, to ignore.
The Pacific Northwest of America. Home of Bigfoot?
Bigfoot, the evidence seems to be mounting.
The world famous Patterson video below, filmed in October 1967, has long been held as one of the best ever pieces of evidence for bigfoot. Watch and judge for yourself. Anyone who has ever visited the area these creatures are said to roam will know just how easy it would be to hide an entire tribe of Bigfoot in them. Take a step or two away from the beaten path and you can easily find yourself lost, the landscape seems to swallow you up and hide you from view.
They are vast and largely uninhabited. In fact, faced with such impossibly huge tracts of wilderness it seems easier to believe that it does contain unknown animals than not. Speaking of hoaxes, it is, maybe, believable that a person or persons would go to the trouble of faking something like a Sasquash footprint and planting it beside a forest trail. But would anyone do the same thing if they needed to climb halfway up Mount Everest or Annapurna first? That would take a truly devoted hoaxer! And what could such a person hope to gain?
The famous Patterson film .
Picture of a Yeti footprint?
The Woodwose of medieval Europe.
Medieval man seems to have been just as obsessed with wild men as we are today. Almost every church from that period in time seems to contain depictions of the Woodwose in stone or wood. It has been suggested that the various wild men from across Europe could be Relict Neanderthals and that could well be true, recent evidence suggest that the Neanderthal did indeed hang on in small isolated areas much later than was previously thought and may even have interbred with recent humans.
Unlike Bigfoot or the Yeti there doesn't appear to be any recent sightings of the Woodwose, which in my mind would tend to suggest that if the Woodwose was indeed a relict Neanderthal then the species might now finally be extinct.
Something that lends a little more weight to this theory is the recent discovery that the sub species Homo Florescence’s survived until relatively recent times before, perhaps, becoming extinct some twelve thousand years ago. Although, some people believe they might still exist somewhere in the unexplored tropical rainforest of Indonesia. Who knows, some day a whole tribe of these little people might just walk out of the forest and surprise everyone.
Ancient woodcarving of the Woodwose.
Perhaps Woodwose were simply hermits, men who had chosen to remove themselves from society to live a frugal life in the forest. Unkempt and wearing animal fur maybe the odd sighting can be explained away in this manner but not all.
There has even been the suggestion that wild men were people suffering from the dreadful condition Hypertrichosis. People with this condition grow hair over the entire body including the face and can indeed look remarkably like the descriptions of Bigfoot etc.
In fact, many believe it was people such as these that gave rise to the myth of they were wolf. But it is an extremely rare condition and seems unlikely to be responsible for the many sightings worldwide. And in the world of today why would a person with Hypertrichosis need to hide themselves away in a forest at all?
Two men suffering from the condition known as Hypertrichosis
Do you believe?
Do you believe that there are creatures such as Bigfoot out there waiting to be discovered?
Another possible theory is that the wild man myths and stories are a kind of race memory. Something imprinted on humans at the genetic level, a memory of a time when modern humans shared the planet with other, less advanced, hominoids. Although, there is little scientific evidence to support this theory. If this were the case then why aren’t there more myths about giant cave bears, mammoths, aurochs etc all of which we also shared the planet with until recent times?
Maybe, when all is said and done we as a species need to believe in something. Maybe, in a world where so many of us have lost control and feel that science has taken over and that the world is really only a tiny rock spinning in space, we need something like Bigfoot or the Yeti. We need to be able to say - see, the world isn’t really all that small and there are still things out there that can shock the heck out of people.
Only this week, on June 25th 2010 it was announced that a new tribe of hunter gatherers has been discovered living in the forests of Papua New Guinea. These people live a nomadic, stone age existence, much as our ancestors and the many species of humans such as Neanderthals did thousands of years ago. Maybe the discovery of a tribe of Bigfoot or Yeti is just around the corner.
If any of these creatures, be it a Yeti, Bigfoot, Alma or an Orang Pendek is ever proved to be real, beyond a shadow of a doubt, then the crypto zoologists of the world will have been vindicated.