More on the Sulawesi Tool Makers

 Anthropology, Asia, Human Ancestors  Comments Off on More on the Sulawesi Tool Makers
Feb 102017
 

Signs of a tsunami? Ancient tools from the island of Sulawesi show that human ancestors island-hopped around Southeast Asia, perhaps illuminating the origins of the ancient tiny humans called hobbits. – Photo by Erick Setiabudi

A new article published in Nature details the latest developments in the study of mysterious stone tools discovered on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia.  The makers of these tools remains unknown and is pondered in a previous blog article on this site.  

This discovery is pertinent to the study of bigfoot for several reasons.  First of all, at least three species of unknown hominoids are reported throughout Indonesia.  One fits the description of the orang pendek on Sumatra which can be speculated to be a type of bipedal orangutan.  The other is more manlike, but smaller, and is referred to as the ebu gogo on the island of Flores.  This form is probably a relict form of Homo floresiensis.  The last of the three commonly reported forms fits the description of the North American sasquatch, and is in fact present in the folklore of Sulawesi where the tools were found.  

While it is unlikely that the larger, sasquatch-like form is responsible for these tools, the study of pre-modern humans and our relatives should always be encouraged.  It is within this framework that the sasquatch will eventually be recognized by science.  Though paleoanthropology is a newer science, it will certainly help provide a foundation for the subject of bigfoot and other unknown hominoids in the near future.  

For interested readers, the best book (by far) to detail the possible unknown hominoids found in the folklore of Southeast Asia is Images of the Wildman in Southeast Asia: An Anthropological Perspective by Gregory Forth.  It is detailed, scientific, and open-minded while remaining skeptical.  For any serious student of wildmen in that part of the world, I cannot recommend this book enough.  

 

Archaeologists dug deep in Sulawesi, excavating 10 meters down. Photo by Dida Yurnaldi

Ancient tools may shed light on the mysterious ‘hobbit’

The “hobbit” had neighbors. Back in 2004, researchers announced the discovery of this tiny, ancient human, which apparently hunted dwarf elephants with stone tools on the Indonesian island of Flores 18,000 years ago. Its discoverers called the 1-meter-tall creature Homo floresiensis, but skeptics wondered whether it was just a stunted modern human. In the years since, researchers have debunked many of the “sick hobbit” hypotheses. Yet scientists have continued to wonder where the species came from.

Now, an international team originally led by the hobbit discoverer reports stone tools, dated to 118,000 to 194,000 years ago, from another Indonesian island, Sulawesi, likely made by another archaic human—or possibly by other hobbits. “It shows that on another island we have evidence of a second archaic early human,” says paleoanthropologist Russell Ciochon of the University of Iowa in Iowa City, who was not involved with the work. The discovery makes the original hobbit claim appear more plausible, he says, by suggesting that human ancestors may have island-hopped more often than had been thought.

After international debate over the hobbit’s origins, co-discoverer Michael Morwood—then an archaeologist at the University of Wollongong (UOW) in Australia—set out to search other islands from which the tiny humans may have come. Java—more than 800 kilometers west of Flores but with a chain of islands in between—was already known to be the ancient home of the human ancestor H. erectus, a globe-trotting species that dates as far back as 1.7 million years ago. But Morwood instead set out for Sulawesi, 400 kilometers to the north, because powerful ocean currents sweep southward from this island toward Flores. Researchers had already found some simple stone tools on Sulawesi, but they couldn’t date the artifacts because they were found on the ground rather than buried with datable minerals.  

Click this link to read the rest of the article.

May 222014
 
An orang pendek cast collected on July 14, 2013.

The Orang Pendek Project has been an amazing project to work on, but it has not been without its setbacks and frustrations.  Some of these frustrations arise from incomplete documentation or lost data.  After all, the project spans three continents and two languages.  That’s not even to mention the cultural differences that sometimes cause confusion or other complications.

This cast is a great example of these complications.  There was a track investigation on July 14, 2013, and several photographs of a footprint in the ground were recorded that day.  The cast seen above came with the bundle of data sent by my Sumatran contact that serves as a middle-man.  However, the cast cannot be from the footprint pictured in the ground; it’s the wrong foot!

We apparently have some missing data somewhere, but I will still record this footprint as from the date above.  Perhaps it is another footprint from the same line of prints?  Perhaps it’s from another date altogether?  I do not know, and am unlikely to ever know.  I do know that as the project proceeds, the documentation is getting better and better.  Hopefully this sort of error will be avoided in the future.

I present the data, fuzzy as it may be, for your enjoyment.

Click here to read more about this print, and to see more photographs.

Apr 232014
 
The Orang Pendek Project is a multinational research effort that spans three continents.  The Project increased the amount of hard data supporting the hypothesis that orang pendeks are a real species by a factor of more than ten in the year 2013, and footprint data continues to be compiled to the present day.  As time permits, I will share all of this data with my readers.  Today, I have published another cast for all to enjoy.  Click here to learn more about this cast.
Jan 172014
 

A day or two before July 9, 2013, a man named Pak Jintan observed an orang pendek from his farm near Hulu Batang Barau. The creature was walking on two legs along the edge of his farm near the jungle around 3 o’clock in the afternoon. He described it has being approximately one meter tall (39 inches), yet having a large body. This can be interpreted as meaning very massive for its size. The creature’s fur was described as grey and long. After the creature disappeared into the forest, Pak Jintan went to where he saw the creature and found at least one footprint (it is not known how may prints were observed since only one was photographed).

Dec 102010
 

This past October, a new monkey species was discovered in the jungles of southeast Asia.  The type specimen (first dead one to be examined by a scientist) was then eaten by the hunters who killed it, destroying precious data on an endangered primate.

Perhaps it tastes better than it looks…

Personally, I’m not an advocate of killing any primate.  However, the locals in Myanmar, where the creature was killed, have a strong liking for bush-meat (primate flesh), and this has already driven the population of the species to a dangerously low number (estimated at around 300 individuals).  To me, eating primates seems akin to cannibalism, but who am I to judge?

For more on the species and its discovery, check out this link.  

Myanmar, located in southeast Asia


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Oct 252010
 

Not long ago, an eyewitness report from the Philippines was related to me by the witness’ husband, and later posted on this blog.  This has now brought other witnesses forth with their stories about seeing kapres (bigfoots?) on other occasions.  
One man knew his wife had seen a kapre as a little girl back in 1985.  He eventually coaxed her to meticulously describe what she saw.  The man then found a talented and well-known bigfoot artist  to whip up a couple renditions of what his wife saw.  
The full account of the sighting can be read on the blog The Adventures of Imonacan.  For my part, I wanted to share this interesting international sighting, as well as this amazing art, with my readers.  
Sep 222010
 




The title of the article below caught my attention, but as it turned out the “world’s least known apes” were not sasquatches after all.  They were crested gibbons.   It must have been a coincidence that the gibbon was depicted in a tree in a bipedal pose.

Being a fan of everything ape, I read the article with an eye out for issues that would similarly affect sasquatches.  As it turns out, the crested gibbon is being threatened by hunting (which clearly doesn’t affect the sasquatch population) and deforestation (which clearly could threaten the squatch).  

The parallels between the gibbon’s plight and that of the other apes is starkly clear.  Deforestation is the number one threat to great apes.  

Perhaps this same issue will threaten the North American sasquatch population.  Perhaps it threatens the population right now, but nobody knows because the creatures still remain in the realm of myth.  Either way, there is something you can do about it.  I call it “Conservation Before Discovery.”  

This idea of Conservation Before Discovery is simply being aware of land conservation issues, and casting your political votes accordingly.  Take the opportunity to write an email to your representatives encouraging them to pass measures to protect vast tracts of land.  Encourage them to pass legislation protecting wild areas and wild animals.  Notify them that you care about apes (even though no recognized species of ape lives in the United States or Canada, our government still discusses and weighs legislation that protects apes on other continents).

A word of advice: You probably shouldn’t rant at your representative about how their actions will benefit sasquatches.  That will make them think you’re a kook who needn’t be listened to.  So, while being politically assertive for the sake of bigfoots, please don’t drop the “BF Bomb” or your effort might be for naught.  


World’s least known apes, the crested gibbons of South East Asia, face imminent extinction





A gathering of the world’s gibbon experts, led by Fauna & Flora International (FFI), has declared a call to action to save the crested gibbons of South East Asia during the XXIII Congress of the International Primatological Society. 

“The crested gibbons are the most threatened group of primates and all species require urgent attention to save them from extinction”, said Thomas Geissmann, the world-renowned gibbon expert from Zurich University and FFI gibbon advisor.

All seven species of crested gibbons are highly threatened and some are among the world’s most endangered mammals. They are found east of the Mekong River in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Vietnam and China. Several species have declined drastically over the past decade due to hunting and habitat loss caused mainly by rapid economic development.

The plight of crested gibbons is exemplified by the world’s rarest ape, the Hainan gibbon. There are about 20 individuals remaining in two family groups on China’s Hainan Island. The Hainan gibbon’s closest relative is the cao vit gibbon, which survives in a patch of forest on the Vietnam – China border and numbers not much more than 100 individuals. 

“Current efforts by FFI appear to be turning round the fortune of the cao vit gibbon at the eleventh hour,“ said Paul Insua-Cao, FFI China-Indochina Primate Programme Manager.

“FFI has been championing conservation of several of the world’s rarest gibbon species for more than a decade. The organization is working with local communities and government authorities across the range states of these gibbons to protect them and their habitat”.

In the past FFI’s surveys have discovered several previously unknown populations of gibbons across the region, which have led to work to securing those populations for the future.

Gibbon conservation attracts much less funding than that of the great apes such as gorillas and orang-utans. Hence, it is vital that projects are focused on those places with utmost importance for the survival of the species. The efforts of FFI and other like-minded organizations will need continuous investment and support for the foreseeable future to ensure the gibbons’ survival.

For further information and high resolution photos, please contact: 

Rebecca Foges, 
Communications Officer 
Fauna & Flora International, 
Station Road, 
Cambridge, 
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 1223 579 491 
Email: 
Rebecca.foges@fauna-flora.org

Jul 082010
 
About a week and a half ago, I was out with a friend enjoying a beverage. A tall man sitting nearby joined our conversation, which eventually turned towards bigfoot (as my conversations usually do). Giving him my card, I invited him to contact me with anything interesting he hears about the subject. I’m glad I did, as the following email from the man is quite interesting:

My wife is from a fairly remote part of the Philippines- Southern Leyte in the region known as the Visayas. Her town is in the province of Malalitbog. Her village is Timba.

Often the male members of the family go out fishing in Sugod Bay at night. One such night, Gemma was awakened around pre-dawn and thought that her father had gotten wet and had hung some dark pants on the porch area (note: their old thatch house is mostly open). When she asked her father about it in the morning he told her that the fishing was bad and that they had returned early. So they went outside where she thought she saw the dark pants and they found a very large footprint. Then some of the other villages came running up from the bay and said that they found another large footprint close to the shore.

She referred to the animal as the Kapre. Apparently there are a fair number of sightings. I’m not sure about the legend of them smoking, but who knows?


I had never heard of the kapre, as my specific interest lies in the North American sasquatch. However, I am a fan of all things bigfoot, so I looked it up. Apparently, the kapre is a 7 to 9 foot tall hairy, man-like “tree demon” that has much in common with our local bigfoots. There are also several common mythological aspects to the kapre that can be found in other cultures’ view of various hairy bipedal hominoids, such as enchanting humans so they become lost, or wearing loincloths. Kapres are also reported to smoke cigars and have glowing red eyes.

An artist’s rendition of the kapre.


The “tree demon” aspect caught my attention. It immediately brought to mind the legend of the splintercat, a hairy (possibly feline) monstrosity that leaps from tree to tree and screams in the night. Nearby one of my favorite bigfooting spots on the Roaring River is a small tributary called Splintercat Creek. I believe this is yet another geographical bigfoot reference. However, more on the splintercat in a later blog…