Masters of the Planet – The Search for our Human Origins

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Sep 172017
 

Masters of the Planet: The Search for Our Human Origins 
by Ian Tattersall

 

This was the first book I read from Ian Tattersall, and I was impressed with his knowledge base and how it applied to the study of sasquatches.  It was this book that planted the seed in me that sasquatches might be a relict form of Australopithicus, though obviously this is far from certain.  It was also this book that brought up some very interesting questions about what it means to be “human.”  

There is a very vocal segment of the bigfoot community that asserts that sasquatches are humans, or at least people.  The problem with that assertion is that very few of its advocates have a good idea of what that even means.  This book, though not about bigfoots, addresses what it means to be “human” in the context of paleoanthropology, a subject that any serious bigfoot researcher should explore.  Folks who advocate for sasquatches being “human” should read this book to either strengthen or abandon their assertions (I can see how it could do either, depending on one’s worldview).

Ian Tattersall and an extinct friend.

Tattersall’s conclusion is that the most defining “human” trait might be our ability to think symbolically.  Throughout the book, Tattersall details unique paleoanthropological finds and looks at them under the lens of “symbolic thought” to see if the hominins in question rise to the level of “human” in this regard.  The reader might be surprised at his findings, as I was.  

Along the way, Tattersall explains the current best-guesses on the lifestyles and behaviors of our extinct relatives.  Of particular interest are his speculations (based on solid data, not mere guesses) on how Australopithicines survived and prospered.  These simple apemen seem to be a good model for sasquatch ancestory, both in morphology and behavior.  

I encourage all bigfooters to dig deeply into the science of paleoanthropology.  It not only gives insight into what sasquatches are and where they might have come from, but it does the same for ourselves.  We are, after all, one big, slightly-disfunctional primate family.

To obtain a copy of this book, click on the photo of the book at the top of the page.  

This book has now been added to Cliff’s Recommended Reading list!  

 

The Strange Case of the Rickety Cossack by Ian Tattersall

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Aug 312017
 

 The Strange Case of the Rickety Cossack: and Other Cautionary Tales from Human Evolution 
by Ian Tatersall

For those interested in unknown primates, the subject of paleoanthropology should be a subject of great interest.  After all, sasquatches came from some lineage in the paleoanthropological family tree, so the more we learn about our ancient ancestory, the more we learn about sasquatches and the other undiscovered hominoids.  It is with this focus that I eagerly devoured Tattersall’s 2015 book,  The Strange Case of the Rickety Cossack: and Other Cautionary Tales from Human Evolution.  

The book’s author, Ian Tattersall, is the Curator Emeritus in the Division of Anthropology of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.  Though he started his schooling specializing in lemurs, his life’s journey has twisted and turned enough to find himself in a prominent and influential position well-earned through experience and publication.

The book is a chronological tale of the history of paleoanthropology, its major players, and their specific discoveries from Aristotle and the other Greek anatomists through to the most active players in the field in 2015.  Significantly, this includes the discovery of Homo floresiensis, though much more work has been done on those fossil hominins since the publication of the book.  Credit must be given to Tattersall for his acknowledgment that these Floresian “Hobbits” were strangely archaic in morphology, and begging for a closer look, even back when he was writing the book.  

I found the book’s story to be a fascinating one, and hugely pertinent to sasquatch studies.  Since sasquatches are real animals, they, like humans, have ancestors represented in the fossil record.  Much can be learned about sasquatches simply by studying those bipedal hominins that came before them (and the same can be said about humans, which is why paleoanthropology is such an important and interesting science).  

Much of the book shows how some stubborn ideas became ingrained into the scientific paradigms of the day.  One such idea repeatedly mentioned in the book is the “One Species Hypothesis,” which in paleoanthropology means that there can only be one “human-type” animal existing in an area at a time.  The newer type would move in and drive the previous, more archaic species to extinction.  For example, it was thought for decades that neanderthals were the direct predecessor to modern humans, and that when we came on the scene, we made the neanderthals go extinct.  We now know this is not exactly true (though our arrival may have played a role in driving them to extinction), and that neanderthals were a distinct side branch on the evolutionary tree rather than our predecessor, but this example does illustrate the ill-fated idea of the “One Species Hypothesis.”  

Tattersall shows how the Single Species Hypothesis is no longer thought to be true, so he notes that numerous species of pre-human hominins lived concurrently on the planet, and indeed in the same areas at the same time.  Curiously, he states unequivocally, more than once in the book that humans are the only hominin left alive on the planet.  I guess I can’t blame him, but he is sure in for a surprise!

For anyone interested in the sasquatch subject who loves the science behind mystery, I fully recommend this book.  The overview of paleoanthropology is succinct and enlightening.  The scientific language is digestible, not putting too many of the terms far above the head of the reader.  Tattersall’s writing style is fully accessible to most scientifically-literate readers and laymen alike.  

To purchase this book, click this link, or on the picture of the book cover above.  

Get Dressed, Sasquatch!

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Aug 222017
 

Get Dressed Sasquatch 
by Derek Sullivan

Its trouble in paradise when a park ranger informs Sasquatch that his au-naturel style will no longer be tolerated. What follows is a charming, humorous game of dress-up as Sasquatch and the ranger struggle to come up with a wardrobe fit for the monsters active lifestyle. With warm illustrations, funny rhymes, and a silly final twist that praises acceptance, Get Dressed, Sasquatch! will have children and parents giggling together again and again.

Hazy Dell publishing house has other books with squatchy references, such as Monster ABC, which I’ve posted photos from before on my Facebook page.  These books are fantastic for very young readers, up to about age 8.  They are made with thick cardboard-like pages that can take a beating, dropping, or a drooling on by the most ravenous of readers.  

 

 Monster ABC 
By Derek Sullivan

 

S is for Sasquatch!

Where Bigfoot Walks – Crossing the Dark Divide

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Aug 032017
 

Where Bigfoot Walks: Crossing the Dark Divide 
By Dr. Robert Pyle

One of my favorite bigfoot books (and one that has been on my list of excellent additions to any bigfoot library for a long time) has been reprinted this year with a new chapter!  The butterfly specialist and wordsmith, Dr. Robert Pyle, has updated his classic tome, Where Bigfoot Walks: Crossing the Dark Divide.  

This isn’t your average bigfoot book in that it isn’t full of sighting reports and evidence supporting the existence of an undiscovered hominoid species.  This book is from the perspective of an educated, open-minded skeptic who takes a personal journey into the mystery (which is more than most skeptics do).  His knowledge of the terrain and environment of the Dark Divide, an area deep in Gifford Pinchot National Forest, comes forth in his writing, as does his appreciation of the natural beauty of the area.  

This book doesn’t necessarily persuade the reader that bigfoot is real, but it does something equally important.  It persuades the reader that the possibility exists, and this is often the first step into a larger world for the uninformed on the subject.  Dr. Pyle takes you on his journey with him, and shows that the mystery itself is a valuable thing for us all.  The quest is worth the journey, though the final destination of that quest is uncertain.  

And, as an added bonus, the newest edition includes a few words from yours truly as well.  

I will be making an appearance in White Salmon, WA with Dr. Pyle on October 28th where he will be doing a reading from his book.  If you haven’t had a chance to meet Dr. Pyle, you really should make an effort to do so.  His thoughtful perspective on the subject is a delight to hear, to say the very least. 

Click on the link above to pick up your copy.

Back to School with Bigfoot

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Jun 282017
 

Back to School with Bigfoot

Back to School with Bigfoot by Samantha Berger and Martha Brockenbrough, just released yesterday, will certainly prove to become a favorite among teachers and children alike.  All students (and teachers) have some level of anxiety of going back to school after summer vacation, and it turns out that bigfoot does as well.  

The book is from a sasquatch’s perspective as he goes through the same ordeals a student would from trying on new shoes to getting a haircut.  I would suppose that for a bigfoot, these mundane worries would be particularly troublesome.

Samantha Berger has written a number of monster-themed children’s books before, and Martha Brockenbrough was the author behind the official Finding Bigfoot: Everything You Need to Know (Animal Planet) book, for which I wrote the introduction and fact-checked the text.  She is no stranger to the bigfoot field.  

Click this link to pick up a copy of Back to School with Bigfoot for you, your children, or their teacher!  Click here for more books that I recommend for young readers.

Walking With Bigfoot – A Beginner’s Field Guide to Common Birds of North America

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Apr 172017
 

Walking With Bigfoot – A Beginners Field Guide to Common Birds of North America 
by Sharen and Mark Mellicker

This is the second in a series of children’s books written as field guides for the young bigfoot lover.  The first book walked with a family of bigfoots through the woods and pointed out tree species and how to identify them.  In this book we travel with the same bigfoot family, but this time focus on various woodland habitats and the birds that live in them.  Each page has a narrative as the main text with the margins filled by illustrations by Sharen Mellicker depicting birds and how to identify them.  

While reading this book, lesson plans and projects came rushing into my head, as is the tendency with any professional educator.  If I was still a classroom teacher, I would use this book as a template for a student assignment.  After all, there are few better “hooks” to get a young person reading than to get them reading about bigfoot.  

Bigfoot in Evolutionary Perspective – Book Review

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Mar 012017
 

Bigfoot in Evolutionary Perspective: The Hidden Life of a North American Hominin 
By T. A. Wilson

 

In a nutshell, Bigfoot in Evolutionary Perspective is a book that looks at data from various sources and uses that data to come to conclusions about bigfoot.  The sources range from John Green’s sightings database, the BFRO database, and various books and publications.  Wilson uses his own field experiences as grounds for his conclusions as well, as any field researcher should do.

The book is definitely a valuable resource for researchers.  Wilson has created numerous charts and graphs in which he shows a breakdown of how many reports from Green’s database show a certain characteristic, such as height, arm length, or even the types of foods sasquatches have been seen eating.  In fact, there is an entire section at the end of the book that only features these graphics, though they are peppered throughout the book in the appropriate chapters where those features are discussed. 

A notable chapter in the book solely deals with the value and reliability of eyewitness testimony.    This is particularly important to bigfooters because of the assumption by skeptics that eyewitness testimony is unreliable.  Using data from psychological field studies, Wilson clearly shows that eyewitnesses are adroit at getting the main details of unusual events correct in retellings. 

Other conclusions Wilson draws from the data are interesting to note, though many have been published elsewhere, such as the running speed of saquatches, how far and high they can jump, and others.  However, even when rehashing these particular abilities, he does an excellent job using sighting reports to support his claims. 

There are several points where my own opinion differs from that of Wilson’s.  These points tend to come from assumptions that Wilson makes.  Fore example, one entire chapter of the book details how sasquatches couldn’t possibly be a relict form of Gigantopithecus.   While I am far from certain that sasquatches are relict Gigantos, I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the idea.  Wilson sites the research done by Cinchon in his book, Other Origins: The Search for the Giant Ape in Human Prehistory, probably the most complete book on the discovery and analysis of the Gigantopithecus fossils.  Many assumptions about Gigantos have been made by both Cinchon and Wilson that would be difficult to know considering how few fossils we have of these creatures.  No post cranial fossils of the species have been recovered, and everything we know about these creatures is derived from a handful of mandibles and a few hundred teeth.  Saying that they were quadrupeds is as speculative as saying they were bipedal.  Saying that Gigantos were almost exclusively herbivorous, had limited endurance, or only ranged locally are other examples of speculations based on incomplete data. 

Another glaring example where my opinion diverges from that of Wilson has to do with the sasquatch hand.  Since Wilson assumes that sasquatches are a hominin, which could very well be true, he also assumes that they would have to have human-like hands for precision grip.  Yet the data suggests otherwise.  Wilson contests the idea that the sasquatch thumb lies parallel to the other fingers.  Such a thumb, if limited to this one position, would indeed lack the ability to pick up, grasp, and hold objects, just as he claims.  Wilson’s mistake is his assumption that the sasquatch thumb can ONLY lie parallel to the other fingers.  Just as your thumb can move inwards in a grasping motion and back and forth on a more horizontal plane, sasquatch thumbs seem to do the same.  In fact, the available sasquatch hand casts show the thumb to be impressed at various angles from the other fingers demonstrating this mobility.  Wilson uses many paragraphs to explain why such an inflexible and strange hand structure could not possibly be used for the variety of applications that sasquatch hands must be used for.  I agree.  The problem here is the inflexible idea that sasquatch hands can only bend a certain direction.  I would argue that assuming a sasquatch thumb can only move in that limited way is a product of rigid expectations. 

This cast was collected by Wes Sumerlin in the Blue Mountains. Note the angle of the thumb compared to the other fingers.

This huge hand was cast by Paul Freeman in the Blue Mountains. Note the thumb position as it bends inwards towards the camera.

The Titmus hand cast from the Bluff Creek area. Note the thumb lying parallel to the other fingers on the left.

Since Wilson disagrees with the hand analysis supported by Krantz and Meldrum based on the Freeman hand casts, he therefore goes on to assume that the Freeman handprint evidence, and indeed other casts not collected by Freeman but are often ascribed to him because they were collected in the Blue Mountains, are all hoaxes.  This assumption then spills over to any evidence thought to have been collected by Freeman in the Blue Mountains.  In my opinion, this is an error.  Not only does most of the Freeman evidence stand up to analysis, but many of the so-called Freeman casts were actually collected by others, including Wes Sumerlin, Dar Addington, John Mionczynski,  Vance Orchard, and others.  Unfortunately due to incomplete and poorly-recorded data, these others’ contributions to the Blue Mountains evidence has been incorrectly ascribed to Paul Freeman.  

Don’t get me wrong.  Just because I disagree with some of Wilson’s conclusions doesn’t make this book any less valuable.  In fact, I agree with most of his conclusions about bigfoots.  I can also happily say that I picked up a couple things from the book that I hadn’t considered before.  Wilson bravely speculates on what he thinks bigfoots are and can do, which makes for a much bolder book than the compendium of sighting reports that most bigfoot books end up being.  Early in the book Wilson states that these are only his conclusions and he can be reasonably disagreed with.  All good researchers should have this opinion.  None of us have all the facts, and Wilson uses statistical analysis well to support many of his conclusions. 

The book can be a little dry at times, as any statistical analysis can be, but the text is information-rich.  I don’t agree with some of Wilson’s assumptions, but I also don’t mind my own assumptions being challenged by others, such as Wilson, when they are well-informed, use data, and have some field experience to back them up.  While peppered with sighting reports, this is not a narrative, and the eyewitness reports are included to support Wilson’s conclusions as examples.  For those scientifically-minded bigfooters that use facts and data to drive their opinions about sasquatches, I strongly recommend reading this book. 

Click the link below to purchase your copy of this excellent bigfoot book. 

 

Bigfoot in Evolutionary Perspective: The Hidden Life of a North American Hominin

Sasquatch Tales: Woodbooger’s Woods

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Feb 242017
 

Sasquatch Tales: Woodbooger’s Woods 
By Dana Lynd

I love it when people think outside the box, and there is not doubt that author Dana Lynd did just that when coming up with the idea for Sasquatch Tales: Woodbooger’s Woods.  

The book shares an account of a family’s camping trip to the woods.  Knocks are heard, a footprint is found, but not much really comes from the events.  When the end of the book is reached, the reader is instructed to turn the book over and backwards, and then to read the book again.  This time it is presented from the eyes of a sasquatch watching the family on their camping trip.  

The book is an excellent example of perspectives in storytelling, and with a sasquatch as a silent protagonist, it would certainly be a favorite in the classroom or at home.

To order the book, click the links above.  For more suggestions on bigfoot books for kids and teens, click this link

“A Wish for Giants” Production Tee Shirts

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Jan 112017
 

A Wish for Giants Tee Shirts now available

Last year, a new bigfoot book called A Wish for Giants was released.  A large portion of the proceeds from that book go towards helping an organization (that for legal reasons cannot have their name officially associated with publications) that takes children with life-threatening diseases and helps them live out one of their wishes.  I have done work with this organization in the past, so I know they are legit.  

A Wish for Giants

The author, Aaron Dunbar, is not taking the extra step to make a movie from his book.  To help fund this endeavor, he is selling A Wish for Giants tee shirts.  If you would like to help this movie become a reality and help some children along the way, click on this link and pick up a shirt!

 

Dec 222013
 

It has just come to my attention that my good friend, Kirk Sigurdson has started a blog related to his new bigfoot-themed novel, Kultus.  I wrote about my take on Kirk’s book in a previous blog post.

Kirk is an excellent writer, so I would encourage you to not only read his book, but check out his blog as well.  He is a man of many interests, and he offers unique perspectives on each and every one.

Click here to visit the Kultus Book Blog.