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Monday, 28 February 2011

North American Neanderthals?

Modern Human (left) and Neanderthal (right) skulls for reference.

Burlington County Skull

Riverview Cemetary Skull

In earlier times several skulls dug up in North America were touted as resembling European Neanderthals. There are a couple from the Great Plains area, some the Midwest and then again a couple in New Jersey. Brian Switek (Laelaps) has a blog posted about the New Jersey skulls and here is the link to it:

And the skulls are most peculiar in being very broad and low: they do seem to have a general Neanderthal sort of appearance when viewed from the face-forward. There are stray skulls of this type reported periodically from as far away as Southern Brazil and Argentina.
Brian gives his source as Hrdlicka's Skeletal Remains Suggesting or Attributed to Early Man in North America.

Best Wishes, Dale D.

Patagonian Giants in 1768 and "Red Haired Giants", a more recent interpretation.
I would take both of these to be the same as Harvey Pratt's Bigfoots, only depicted in different styles. "Patagone" does mean "Big Foot" and they are sometimes said to wear hide capes or the skins of animals as a disguise, and therefore I consider both depictions to go with my recent CFZ posting on Wendigos and "Marked Hominids". I consider the painting "Red Haired Giants" to be a good representation for Wendigos. Unfortunately I got these thirdhand off of an internet discussion board about comic books and I have no attribution for the painting.
Best Wishes, Dale D.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

A New Bird Species in Madagascar

A new species of Rail has been determined to live in Madagascar. Two notices from Chad Arment:

Image: New bird discovered in Madagascar
Jeremy Hance
February 24, 2011

The rich and unique biodiversity of Madagascar has a new member: a forest dwelling bird in the rail family, dubbed Mentocrex beankaensis. In 2009 US and Malaygasy scientists conducted a survey in Madagascar's dry Beanka Forest. They discovered several new species, of which the new rail is the first to be described.

"This bird they've known about for decades, but no one has been able to go find it and get a specimen of it," said Nick Block, a graduate student at the University of Chicago who studied the new birds molecular genetic told the Chicago Sun Times, describing the new species as 'not common at all'.

Similar to another Malagasy rail, researchers were able to show Mentocrex beankaensis is a new species with taxonomic and DNA studies.

The dry Beanka forests, where the species survived, rest on limestone, which in some cases have formed dramatic spires. The Beanka forest protected area is currently managed by Biodiversity Conservation Madagascar (BCM).

"We [BCM] have taken an approach to the conservation of the Beanka Forest resting on working in unison with local people to fulfill aspects of their economic and development needs and bestowing a sense of natural patrimony of the organisms that live in their forest. These are aspects critical for any long-term successful project. The discovery of this new species of bird and other organisms during the late 2009 expedition underlines the importance of our mission and the uniqueness of the Beanka Forest," the director of BCM, Aldus Andriamamonjy, said in a press release.

CITATION: Steve M. Goodman, Marie Jeanne Raherilalao, and Nicholas L. Block. Patterns of morphological and genetic variation in the Mentocrex kioloides complex (Aves: Gruiformes: Rallidae) from Madagascar, with the description of a new species. Zootaxa. 2776: 49-60 (2011).


Field Museum Researchers ID New Bird Species
The Mentocrex beankaensis stays out of sight all day

Updated 8:15 PM CST, Thu, Feb 24, 2011

Researchers at the Chicago Field Museum have helped identify a new species of bird in the dry forests of Madagascar.

It's called the Mentocrex beankaensis.

"Even after many decades of research, nature is always full of surprises," said Madagascan Professor Dr. Marie Jeanne Raherilalao.

The small, well-camouflaged bird is classified as a new species of rail. It's a type of bird usually known for staying out of sight by day, and only making its distinctive calls at night.

Maybe that's why it was so hard to find,

"This bird they've known about for decades, but no one has been able to go find it and get a specimen of it," University of Chicago graduate student and Field Museum Researcher Nick Block told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Block helped with the molecular, genetic part of the research.

"All bird watchers will want to add it to their checklist," he said.

The find came from a 2009 expedition of Madagascar's Beanka Forest. The remote area has been a treasure trove for researchers looking to find and preserve unique species of plants and animals.

Aldus Andriamamonjy, the Director of the Association Biodiversity Conservation Madagascar, says the discovery will not only help efforts to preserve the forest, but also help improve the quality of life for people who live nearby.

He says the best approach is, "Working in unison with local people to fulfill aspects of their economic and development needs and bestowing a sense of natural patrimony of the organisms that live in their forest."

Rails are a series of smaller birds related to coots and other marsh birds, and there are a few other ones suspected in cryptozoology as "Pending" species at the moment.

Best Wishes, Dale D.

"Hesperopithecus" Again

I have mentioned in passing (again) that I have the original information on the supposed New World Ape fossil "Hesperopithecus" and the story as it played out is still just not right. The initial notices were that there was one tooth found that was thought to belong to an ape about like a chimpanzee, together with some bones which appeared to have been broken and scratched by tool use, in a layer about ten million years old in the North American Great Plains (Nebraska to be specific).

After this initial announcement George Gaylord Simpson at the AMNH went back into the vault and pulled out another tooth found earlier and which was marked as possibly coming from an anthropoid ape. A monograph was published at the AMNH on the supposed "Hesperopithecus." After that point, the original finder went back to the site of the original find and extracted several more teeth, which proved to have come from an extinct pig. And then an apology came out from GG Simpson and the AMNH in which a retraction was made, and ALL of the teeth were dismissed as probably belonging to the same type of extinct pig. But in a parting shot Simpson said that in every major feature the original tooth was like an Anthropoid's tooth and not like a typical pig tooth.

I always thought that something did not add up in all of that. Only the last teeth to be discovered were proven to be pig teeth; the earlier ones were just dismissed at that point. Nebraska is one place where the fossil mammal bones can be found piled higgledy-piggledy all together, and I can name at least one Neanderthal site in Russia where the Neanderthal's cranium was found perilously close to a pig's jaw. So two different things COULD have been found that close together; the original tooth need not have come from the same jaw as the rest of the teeth. Furthermore, that was no direct reason why the even older tooth found in the vault should also be dismissed at that same time.

I wrote to the ANMH some time back and asked if it were possible to re-open the case and have these matters looked into. I never received any reply.

However, here, for the edification of the readers, is a reprint of the original notice comparing the "Hesperopithecus" tooth to the tooth of a chimpanzee.

Best Wishes, Dale D.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Salute to Harvey Pratt, Native American Forensic & Bigfoot Artist

I dig Harvey Pratt: he spent a lifetime doing what I would have wanted to spend my lifetime doing. Unfortunately, things did not pan out for me to go into that sort of a career in my case.

Harvey Pratt
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Harvey Phillip Pratt (born 1941) is an American forensic artist and Native American artist, who has worked for over forty years in law enforcement, completing thousands of composite drawings and hundreds of soft tissue postmortem reconstructions.[1] To this end, his work has assisted in thousands of arrests and hundreds of identification of unidentified human remains throughout America.[1] His expertise in witness description drawing, skull reconstruction, skull tracing, age progression, soft tissue postmortem drawing and restoration of photographs and videos have aided law enforcement agencies both nationally and internationally.[2] Pratt also assists investigations though training classes, besides lecturing before universities, colleges, schools and civic groups.

Pratt was born in El Reno, Oklahoma and is a member of the Cheyenne & Arapaho tribes where he is recognized as one of the traditional Cheyenne Peace Chiefs,[3] also known as the Council of Forty-Four. He has been recognized by the Cheyenne People as an Outstanding Southern Cheyenne.[4] He is the great grandson of scout, guide, interpreter and Sand Creek massacre survivor, Edmund Guerrier.[5] He is the great great grandson of American frontiersman, William Bent.[6] Pratt lives in Guthrie, Oklahoma.

Forensic Art
Example of Postmortem Drawing by Harvey PrattPratt began his career with Oklahoma's Midwest City Police Department in 1965, where, as a police officer, he completed his first composite drawing that resulted in an arrest and conviction.[3] He joined the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation in 1972 as a narcotics investigator and retired in 1992 as an Assistant Director.[3] He is now employed with the agency as a full time forensic specialist.[1]

Pratt's forensic expertise has contributed to many high profile cases: The Green River Killer (Gary Ridgeway),[7] Oklahoma Girl Scout Murders (Gene Leroy Hart),[8] Henry Lee Lucas and Ottis Toole,[1] Bobby Joe Long,[1] The I-5 Killer (Randall Woodfield),[1] Tommy Ward and Karl Fontenot,[9] Tommy Lynn Sells,[10] World Trade Center 1993 bombings,[1] Ted Bundy,[3] Sirloin Stockade Murders (Roger Dale Stafford, Verna Stafford and Harold Stafford),[11] Joe Fischer,[1] Roger Wheeler murder,[12] the Oklahoma City bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building,[1] Donald Eugene Webb,[1] Oklahoma State Fair Abducted Girls (Roy Russell Long),[1] and Randolph Dial.[3]

In the mid 1980s, Pratt developed the soft tissue postmortem drawing method.[13] Using this method, the forensic artist draws or paints on the photograph of a victim to repair tissue damage or decomposition. The drawing repairs the trauma to the victim so that the final image will be more presentable when asking for law enforcement's or the public's assistance in identification.

Native American Art
Pratt encompasses painting, sculpting, wood carving, mural painting, bronze work, architectural design and graphic design.[14] He is a self-taught artist and creates in the media of oil, acrylic, watercolor, metal, clay and wood.[14] His artwork is a blend of his forensic art and law enforcement experience with traditional Native American environment.

Pratt has received awards for his artwork at Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonials, Gallup, New Mexico, and Red Earth Festival, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.[4] In 2005, he was given the title "Master Artist" by Red Earth, as well as being selected as the Red Earth 2005 Honored One.[3]

His works are in many permanent collections, including the National Park Service, the Smithsonian Institution[4], the Sequoyah National Research Center, and the University of Oklahoma. He accepted state appointments to the Oklahoma Arts Council by Governor Frank Keating and Governor Brad Henry.[3]

1.^ a b c d e f g h i j k OSBI Forensic Art
2.^ Brown
3.^ a b c d e f g McDonnell
4.^ a b c Lester, p. 446
5.^ National Archives #368 Edward Guerrier
6.^ National Archives #367 Julia Bent Guerrier
7.^ Smith & Guillen, reconstruction credit in photo section
8.^ Wilkerson & Wilkerson
9.^ Mayer, p. 33
10.^ Fanning, p. 108
11.^ English & Calhoun, pp. 400-401
12.^ Fossett
13.^ Stott
14.^ a b Pratt
Brown, Michele M. "Native American forensic artist featured at Guthrie Art Walk", Guthrie News Leader, 10 November 2005
Calhoun, Sharon & English, Billie. Oklahoma Adventure. Oklahoma City/ACP, 2001. ISBN 0961948485
English, Billie & Calhoun, Sharon. Oklahoma Heritage. Oklahoma City/Holt, Calhoun, Clark & Quaid, 1989. ISBN 0961949600
Fanning, Diane. Through the Window. St. Martin's Press, 2003. ISBN 0312985258
Fossett, Judy. "Clues Sketchy In Tulsa Killing", The Daily Oklahoman, 29 May 1981
Lester, Patrick D. The Biographical Directory of Native American Painters. SIR Publications, 1995. ISBN 0806199369
McDonnell, Brandy. "2005's honoree also fights crime", The Oklahoman, 29 May 2005
Mayer, Robert. The Dreams of Ada: A true story of murder, obsession, and a small town. New York/Viking, 1991. ISBN 0670810797
National Archives & Records Administration, SW Region Fort Worth, Record Group 5, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Concho (Cheyenne & Arapaho Agency), E12 Land Transactions, Report on Heirship
Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Forensic Art retrieved 2 January 2008
Pratt, Harvey - Native American Artist & Police Forensic Artist retrieved 27 December 2007
Smith, Carlton & Guillen Thomas. The Search for the Green River Killer. New York/Penguin, 1991. ISBN 0451402391
Stott, Kim. "Artist Retouches Photos To Help Identify Victims", The Sunday Oklahoman, 31 October 1982
Taylor, Karen T. Forensic Art and Illustration. Boca Raton/CRC Press, 2000. ISBN 0849381185
Wilkerson, Michael & Wilkerson Dick. Someone Cry for the Children: The unsolved Girl Scout murders of Oklahoma and the case of Gene Leroy Hart. New York/Dial, 1981. ISBN 0803782837

Harvey is a very special individual who shows a sensitive attention to tradition. He has a sideline in doing Bigfoot art and I reccomend the online store on his site.

Basically in this blog I am championing Harvey's art because he is showing Bigfoot to be about the way I take Bigfoot to be: in the Bigfoot as typical of the Eastern United States and Canada specifically. Harvey works in Oklahoma and I work in Indiana, but as I understand it, we are both talking about the same sort of Bigfoot: the same sort of Bigfoot encounterd in the Apallachian Mountains, in Florida as the more human kind of "Skunk Ape" and the same type that Ivan Sanderson was describing as Wendigo, the Boreal Bigfoot. I am appending illustrations of his Bigfoot art here because I understand it to be a good representation of the shape of the skull and bodily proportions of such creatures. The effect is extremely close to the Minnesota Iceman. And Harvey includes a Bigfoot wearing a wolfskin and one wearing deer antlers in his group shot "Yesterday, Today and Forever", and I can even go with him on that part, too, since I recently posted a CFZ blog which pointed out exactly those features.

I am proud to present Harvey's art here and I just wanted you to know that I specifically asked his permission before posting this blog, out of respect. His permission came last night and I am very happy to go forward with the publication of the blog now. Thanks for everything, Harvey.

Best Wishes, Dale D.

"Berry Bush Jumper"

"My Dark Passenger"

"Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow"

"A Little Scolding"-Bigfoot being told off by one of the Little People. Bigfoot's head shape is just about perfect here.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Looking at the Mapinguari (CFZ Blog 2009 REPRINT)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009
DALE DRINNON: Looking at the MapinguariDale started at IUPUI hoping for a degree in Biology before changing to Anthropology and as a result, has a very diverse background in Geology, Zoology, Paleontology, Anatomy, Archaeology, Psychology, Sociology, Literature, Latin, Popular Culture, Film criticism, Mythology and Folklore, and various individual human cultures especially mentioning those of the Pacific and the Americas. He has a working knowledge of every human fossil find up until 2000 and every important cryptozoological sighting up to that point. He has been an amateur along on archaeological excavations in Indiana as well as doing some local tracking of Bigfoot there. Now he is on the CFZ bloggo....

My personal contributions to the matter stem from a 1971 letter sent to SAGA magazine after a cover story on the discovery of tracks attributed to the orang dalam. The letter described a creature seen in parts of Brazil and called Capelobo [= Pelobo]; basically a version of the Mapinguari and describing it as looking like an upright tail-less howler monkey the size of a man (height of a short man, but weighing about 250 pounds). I immediately recognised this as a version of the Mapinguari or Pe-de-Garrafa as described in Bernard Heuvelmans's book On the Track of Unknown Animals. Heuvelmans mentions that it is said to leave a track like the bottom of a bottle and later on mentions this is something like the shape of an orangutan's track [this begins from the oldest editions of the book, from 1955].

The same description is mentioned as the characteristic description of the mono rei or king monkey in the 2001 book The Monster of the Madidi by Simon Chapman. From this it seems the mono rei and the mono grande (big monkey) are two distinctly different things. That would seem to correspond to the reported footprints since the mono grande's 'Hand-like' tracks do not agree with the 'Bottle foot.' Something like the 'Bottle foot' tracks were also reported from Honduras and British Honduras at least as far back as the 1930s, and Eberhart mentions this.

There has been much discussion of the theory that the Mapinguari represents a surviving ground sloth in more recent years. The giant ground sloth does seem to correspond to a cryptid reported in those same areas, but the key difference is that the Mapinguari types are described as being tailless monkeys or apes, often walking upright. The part about them being tailless probably invalidates the suspected ground sloth candidacy. On the other hand, the clawed yehos or yahos ('Devils') of the West Indies could possibly be smallish surviving ground sloths, about chimp-sized.

[Above, Standing Orangutan, and for comparison, Mapinguari statue from Belem]

Going back to the theory that the Mapinguaris are usually arboreal apes that leave ring-shaped (orangutan-like) footprints on the ground, it is noteworthy to look at some traditional depictions of them as posted on the internet (the photos come from internet sources and no attempt to defraud the owners is intended. The reproduction of the photos as educational materials is protected under international copyright law).

It seems that the Mapinguari is regularly depicted as a cyclops and furthermore that the head is barely distinct from the body. Furthermore, the mouth is large and fanged but does not seem to bear any direct placement on the head. It arises from below the level of the shoulders. Some acounts also say that the mouth is protruberant, like the nose end of a horse's snout and shows round nostrils pointing forwards. This does not say that the face is horse-like, the mouth part is described as being distinct from the indistinct head. Furthermore, the entire body is covered with a long and coarse coat of hair. The hair is usually reddish but may be darker.

Looking at an orangutan's head it is possible to see how some of these descriptions might come about. First of all the head of an orangutan is rather bizzare and in some cases barely presents any aspect that would normally register as a face. The mouth area is distinct from the rest of the face and a beard sometimes accentuates the distinction. The eyes are set very close together and the eyelids can be lighter than the rest of the face. In several higher primates this is a warning sign; the mouth is opened and the eyelids dropped as a threat. Looking at the close-set eyes with pale lids and the darker strip between them, it is possible to see how that might look like a single eye from a distance. And the stances and limb proportions are shown as being pretty much like an orangutan as well.

I also include Ivan Sanderson's reproduction of the orangutan foot extended and the track, and the adjoining footprint by contrast would be more like the 'Hand-like' track of the Mono grande (as opposed to the Mono rey). The other foot shown at Right on Sanderson's chart is a gibbon's foot, which corresponds to other tracks seen elsewhere in South America and attributed to the Mono Grande or Didi.

So this brings us to the map that explains the hypothesis. Most apes do not have much of an identifiable fossil ancestry. Orangutans are an exception, 'Pongo' (orangutan) fossils are well known from mainland Asia, especially in China. But this brings up another problem. The fossils clearly belong to larger ground-living apes and modern orangutans of the proper genus pongo have a large number of very specific and very peculiar adaptations to life in the trees. They cannot be the same. Therefore I had proposed the name 'protopongo' for the fossil ground-living ancestors to the modern tree-living pongo. There follows the suggestion (including by Heuvelmans) that the classical abominable snowman or yeti represents a survival of these fossil apes, and a further suggestion implied by Coleman and others that the apes crossed the Behring land bridge and remnants had been reported in modern times (the name 'Hesperopithecus' [?] is on the map because there remains the possibility that some alleged dental fossils and alleged associated 'cultural' bone-cracking remains unaccounted for by the decision that all of the later fossils ascribed to this genus were pig's teeth).

And so there remains the possibility as indicated on the chart that the South American forms described as Mapinguari are parallel-evolved arboreal apes descended from the same generalised ground-living ancestors. At the time in question there was very much demonstrable faunal exchange between East Asia, North America and then South America in turn. And in order to indicate the possibility that the South American apes are separate parallel-evolved arboreal forms out of the same ground-living ancestors, I have given them the tenative name 'parapongo' ('Like an orangutan'). I do not insist that this name necessarily become official if this is proven to be the case; what I am doing is simply showing how these forms must be related to while also being distinct from one another. The actual honour of naming the creatures should go to their official discoverers, whomever they turn out to be.


[You are supposed to click on the smaller version of the chart to get the larger size. I have had some complaints about the link not working and so I also post the larger version below]

And of course any professional anthropologists or primatologists can feel free to say that the whole idea is daft up until such a time that actually happens.

In part this material was submitted to the SITU for publication in 1990-91, together with several other articles of a similar nature. Unfortunately, the journal PURSUIT folded shortly after that point.

Posted by Jon Downes at 12:32 AM
Labels: dale drinnon, MYSTERY PRIMATE
shiva said...
Very interesting theory. The resemblance of that orangutan photo to the Mapinguari depictions is certainly compelling - in particular, it really is easy to "see" the half-closed eyes as a single, large, almost cartoonish eye.

However, IIRC it's only older male orangutans that have such an extremely odd-looking facial appearance (in particular those huge, wide cheek flanges which help to make the head look indistinct in shape from the body). Younger and female orangutans have a much more easily discernible "normal" ape/monkey face, so if there were a population of orangutan-like apes, then there would be reports of both the freaky one-eyed "Mapinguari"-type and more "conventional" cryptid apes from the same areas (whereas, as i understand it, the Mapinguari is seen as quite distinct from the more ordinary "big monkey" cryptids, and found in different habitat).

I'm also not sure about orang-like apes having got to South America via the Bering land bridge and North America - would the land bridges both across the Bering Strait and between North and South America have existed at the same time, or at convenient times for such apes to have got from one rainforest region to the other? They would have had to range through a vast variety of different climates and habitats, and i'm not sure why they would have (nonhuman apes seeming to lack the peculiarly human desire to explore and/or "conquer" new habitats and unknown regions). Also, if "Parapongo" evolved or re-evolved forest-living adaptations convergently, it would have changed very substantially from orangutan ancestors. Would it have retained the peculiar facial features of the mature male "true Pongo"?

I'd be more inclined to investigate the possibility that orangutans could have been brought to South America much more recently by transpacific Chinese or SE Asian travellers, as there is evidence from distribution of cultivated plants that such contact and trade occurred well before the "Age of Exploration". (The transport by modern, but pre-colonial-era, humans of either orangutans or a Homo erectus/Homo floresiensis type hominid from SE Asia to Australia is also a possible explanation for the Yowie.)

2:35 PM
anna lee said...
This is really good stuff! But now why oh why doesnt some one find something!

Mind you I am respectively hoping for a lot from you with your credentials!

I did respond to your posting about neandertal man here (x2) hoping for enlightenment as I am sceptical about some aspects of the official views and wondered if you could help?

3:34 PM

Dale Drinnon said...
I DO Hope somehow you shall find out that I answered your comments on the blog. I only just happened to come back to this blog to get another copy.

First, please allow me to explain that Jon Downes posts my stuff on his blog. I have no control of the comments and in fact ordinarily I never evenSEE any comments unless I make a special effort to look back again.

Now as a matter of fact my theory WAS that it is the big males that are being seen and identified as Mapinguaris: and at the same time you are incorrect that "Bigmonkey" females and children are not reported in the same areas. They frequently ARE but frequently given different names. And the descriptions of creatures in the "Mapinguari" category are not unified, they are highly diverse-some Mapinguari reports are ALREADY "Bigmonkey" reports. I indicated that on the blog already when I mentioned the Capelobo being described as looking like a large tailless howler monkey, the exact same description given for the Mono rey in Monster of the Madidi.
Now as a matter of fact your arguments about the landbridges not being open to traffic by ancient apes, that is a false argument. The landbridges were certainly there and certainly open when fossil apes were present. There are ecological reasons why there SHOULD have been a Sivapithecine-type ape present in North America during the Pliocene or late Miocene when other elements of the exact same biome were present in Eastern Asia at the same time, including such apes.
And you did not understand my outline of the theory: I was saying that orangutans and 'Parapongo' were evolving in parallel, not that the recent specializations of Pongo were ancestral conditions reacquired by 'Parapongo'-quite the reverse, The ancestral condition was something more like a chimpanzee and had none of the special features of the orangutan. It is simply that the New World apes would have developed similar adaptations to a similar environment. And I was not saying that Mapinguaris had the SAME facial pads as orangutans, only something else rather similar independantly evolved. I do not think that what is being described in South America is exactly the same as the Indonesian orangutans and I do not think that introducing Indonesian orangutans would result in exactly the same sort of reports.

As for Anna Lee, I AM sorry but I have no idea what you mean re:Neanderthalers. And unfortunately I also do not know how to reach you other than sending this reply to this blog in hopes you are subscribed to it.

I also never get any email notices when I am subscribed to these blogs myself, unfortunately.

Thursday, December 17, 2009
DALE DRINNON: Some Further notes about the Mapinguari


First Mapinguari Expedition

Paulo Aníbal G. Mesquita was the first to enter the interior of the Amazon region with the knowledge of the Mapinguari legend and the intent to investigate the possibility that this cryptid still exists—perhaps the last representative of the megafauna of the Brazilian Amazon. Bolivian folklore in the more mountainous areas includes a bipedal creature called the Jucucu (who COO coo), which may have some connection. [=Ucu, Ucumar-DD]

Mesquita's group investigated reports of the 'mapi' in some remote points of the Amazonian bush in the states of Amazon, Rondônia, Pará and Mato Grosso. In the latter they collected many stories of the indigenous people, some gold panners and others who reported observing this beast during the night. The stories were similar in several distinct points.

Witnesses affirmed that when they startled a Mapinguari, the mapi assumed a threatening position, rearing up and showing its robust claws. Some natives told of it emitting an extremely foul odour from its belly. The mapi possessed long brownish to dark brown fur, and some still claimed that its skin was similar to that of the Caiman. It was said to possess a flat snout and normally it was quadrupedal. The group was given to understand that a mapinguari violently attacked a landlord one night in a village in the extreme north of Mato Grosso, and that he was now missing.

The flat-ended but prominent snout or 'Pig's nose' is stated in other sources. The bad smell comes out of its mouth, assumed to be attached to the body rather than to its head. It seems to be belching up stomach gas that smells bad: incidentally the Mapinguari seems to have throat pouches like an orangutan from other sources. These seem to be sound amplifiers and make the roaring sound louder, in this case the creature (The Mono Rey, sometimes also called Ucu) is compared to a much larger version of a howler monkey.

It is the threatening stance that drew my attention this time: when the Mapinguari raises up and waves its hands over its head, the effect is exactly like a chimpanzee or an orangutan and it is holding its hands up exactly the same way Cheetah used to do in the Tarzan movies. The Mapinguari is holding its hands in exactly the same way, and the 'claws' look exactly like the ape's hooked fingers. I would suspect from this much alone that the Mapinguari is ordinarily a large arboreal ape; its tracks seem to indicate that it does not ordinarily walk on the ground or the sole would lie flat rather than on-edge.

I also include a groundsloth track for reference, please note that it is a composite track including both the fore and hind footprints.

I also re-checked Sanderson's mention of Mapinguari, which he only spoke of as something that left 20-inch long tracks and ripped the tongues out of cattle. The missing tongues are merely another cattle-mutilation feature common the world over, and probably eaten away by feral dogs. So that part carries no weight. The 20-inch long tracks are something different, and are possibly Sasquatch-like tracks (neither Sanderson nor I had any good photos or even drawings of these tracks.)

The creatures that left the big footprints in this case were called neither Mapinguari or Ucumar, and Eberhart lists them separately. It might even be possible that the tracks (in this case only, and only the tracks) could refer to the alleged surviving groundsloth in a forest adaptation. Throughout Latin America ground sloths seem to be called 'hairy cows' because they are about the same size as ordinary cattle. Heuvelmans records the name 'Lobo-toro' and Sanderson recorded 'Cave Cows' in Central America.

[Pliocene Map Showing Broad Connection Beringia Landbridge]

Ameranthropoides 3: Precolumbian Evidence

Several Archaeological finds represent creatures like Siamangs on the one hand or DeLoy's photo on the other. Here are a couple from the Hamlyn book South American Indian Mythology.

[Moche pot, Peru, With head resembling DeLoy's Photo. Not a Spidermonkey. Appears to be holding a sweet potato]

[Gold Monkey from Colombia, Big Round "Sunface" mask removed. Body corresponds to description of Dwendi or Shiru, and matches proportions of a siamang standing upright.]

Best Wishes, Dale D.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Ameranthropoides 2: Photo Demonstration

In the following comparisons, mostly the commoner, cropped version of DeLoy's photo shall be used. For reference and in a few special shots, the uncropped version will be preferable.

Commonly the DeLoy photograph will be placed alongside a photo of a spidermonkey to bring the similarities to the mind of the viewer. If the viewer is astute, however, it will become apparent that the details of the Spidermonkey's anatomy and DeLoy's ape are all different. In particular, the hands and feet are different enough to be diagnostic. Whatever DeLoy's ape is, it is NOT a spidermonkey.

[Image of an ordinary-sised spidermonkey to scale with standard petrol crate commonly used in Latin America, from the Wikipedia article on Ameranthropoides]

Ameranthropoides and spidermonkey reduced to the common scale of the crate for reference to BOTH of them]

The Ameranthropoides photo is often viewed uncritically and superficially. It is in some ways an odd photograph in that shadows can play tricks on it. Much is made of the presumed sexual organ that appears between the creature's legs. In fact this is a trick of the light and one of its edges is demonstrably the shadow of the stick. Furthermore, this area is only a highlighted part of the crate itself: the texture of the wood area on either side of the leg matches in two different strips (click on photo for larger view. Both textures are unmistakable and are identical for each sampled area in the corresponding boxes. The 'animal' ends much higher up than usually supposed and consequently it is seated with its rump further back than supposed).

[As is noted in Wikipedia, the area where the photo was taken is actually outside of Spidermonkey range. Most of Venezuela is without spidermonkeys]

Please notice hole in range map.

Despite what Sanderson says, spider monkeys do not have the same limb proportions as the creature in DeLoy's photo. Furthermore, it is readily apparent that the smaller monkeys have eyes of a different structure: "Beady little eyes" as opposed to the larger and more human-like eyes of the DeLoy ape. This is a function of ABSOLUTE size, showing that it actually IS much larger than a spider monkey. Furthermore, its fingers and toes are noticeably much larger and stronger in the creature in the photograph, while the fingers and toes of a spider monkey look almost flimsy in comparison. They also line up and work together rather like the digits in a seal's flippers, in a bundle.

As mentioned, spider monkeys are of the genus Ateles. They not only have thumbs that are commonly missing, but their big toes are reduced and often missing as well. They have a much greater development of a prehensile tail to compensate them for their weaker hands and feet.

[spider monkey, and skeleton]

Preserved museum spider monkey hand and skeletal hand

Thumbs of the Ameranthropoid. These are reduced but similar to the thumbs in siamangs and orangutans. The left hand is above, right below. Some argument might be made about the thumb on the left hand as it is not too clear, but the right hand is not only shown clearly, it also clearly has a thumb nail.

Feet of the Ameranthropoid. These are clearly NOT the feet of a spider monkey! Furthermore the muscular toes would be developed in the absence of a tail since in spider monkeys there is a trade-off in use of the feet and use of the prehensile tail. These feet with the well-developed big toe-thumbs are most like the feet of gibbons and siamangs.

left foot in profile, unaltered original below

Photo of right foot showing well-developed opposed big toe meant for strong grasping and climbing.

Museum preserved specimen of spider monkey showing foot, and view of skeleton. Big toe is much less developed and can be missing altogether.

Feet of a gibbon, standing on a pane of glass.

Obviously much more developed big toes, and other toes in opposition.

Face of the Ameranthropoid. What struck me immediately were its eyes; almost of a human design and proportion. These are not the eyes of a small monkey but are much more like the eyes of a gibbon or small ape.

The teeth are fortunately shown and they are orthognathous, with an even bite. And although the structure of the area around the eyes and even the structure of the nose resemble a spider monkey, in fact those features are not EXCLUSIVE to spider monkeys. In fact, Siamangs have features that are very similar also.

I was very much surprised to learn that the median strip on a siamang's nose can measure out as very nearly "Platyrhinne" like a New World monkey's nose. There is of course some degree of individual variation involved. And the area around the eyes is also like a siamang's in the DeLoys photo, as well as the pattern of hair growth on the top of the head (although shorter).

A spider monkey's teeth are not orthognathous but jut out to the front. The DeLoy animal does NOT have a spider monkey's teeth. Furthermore, the jaws are very definitely heavier and more rounded.

Spider monkey skull on the left; female siamang on the right. From Bone Clones. It's a pity they are not in closer parallel position for comparison, but it is plain to see that the spider monkey's jaws are like a set of small pinch pliers whereas the siamang's jaws are aligned for a stronger vertical bite.

 I am satisfied from what I can see of the teeth in the DeLoy photograph that the teeth are much the same as a siamang's and that combined with the shape of the hands and feet and face make a pretty strong case for a direct relationship as far as I am concerned.

Female Siamang with young

Male Siamang seated. Note the form of the hands and feet, including the thumbs.

Male Siamang walking. They are HABITUAL bipeds. They NORMALLY walk that way.

I have said before that I think Mapinguaris are basically orangutans that crossed the Bering straits in prehistoric times. I also think that the ancestors of siamangs went with them. The Ameranthropoides are not identical to the regular siamangs by a long way, but they are similar enough that they could be descended from the same ancestors. And although the creature in the DeLoy photograph is large even by siamang standards, the more usual size might well be closer to three feet tall. Indeed, both Sanderson and Coleman count the "protopygmy" Shirus and DiDis to be usually from three to five feet tall and described in terms such as might describe a siamang. I include a map of similar creatures as reported in South America.
Ameranthropoides loysi is NOT an UNKNOWN animal. It is an animal that was properly named and described in the 1920s. It is a DISPUTED animal, something which is quite a different category again.
Since then, people in South America continue to see Mono Grandes and they refer back to the photo saying "What I saw looked like that." I always refer back to that and say "That tells me there could be something to it." And then again, whenever somebody says that DeLoys photographed a spider monkey, I always say "Look at the FEET. Spider monkeys do NOT have feet anything like that."


Best Wishes, Dale D.