Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Yowie?
The Yowie appears to be some kind of relict hominoid. There may be more than one kind. They may be descendents of Gigantopithecus, a version of robust Australopithecine, or a mega-version of Homo erectus descended from Java Man. Rex Gilroy favours the Gigantopithecus and H. erectus ideas, while others feel it may even be a bipedal marsupial. Others feel that it is some kind of bush spirit from the dreamtime, or may be partially flesh and blood and partially paranormal.
We tend to think that the simplest explanation would be that it (or they) are either descendents of Gigantopithecus or some kind of hominid or both.

How did it get here?
How it got to Australia if it is one of these can be surmised simply. It crossed into Australia from Asia some time during the Pleistocene when sea levels were lower than they are today. Even then, however, there was a deep ocean trench between Bali and Lombok that has been said to be responsible for the failure of Asian fauna to migrate south to Australia and Papua New Guinea (The Wallace Line).
But wait! Recent work on primate migration during the Pleistocene suggests that the Wallace Line may not have represented such an impossible barrier to cross as has been previously thought.
Of course, until someone drags one of these things out and puts it in front of a million people, the mainstream of Australia's scientific community will not focus on how it got here.

Are you people kidding?!
No! The more we investigate this phenomenon, the thicker the plot gets. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of sightings, from the first days of British colonisation. The aborigines have stories of these things going back who knows how long. We and others have interviewed many many very normal people with extraordinary experiences of huge ape-like creatures. Entire communities in the Blue Mountains know about these things. Local people have joined in the chase for them. Politicians have reported seeing them.
And through all this, we maintain scepticism. And if we are fortunate enough to see one of these things with our own eyes, we will no doubt transform into one of the "believers". SOMETHING is definitely going on that isn't shown on TV, just exactly what it is, we are not yet sure.

Is the Yowie a Hoax?
No. Neither is it a myth. "It" exists, no question, whatever "it" is. If not, it would have to be an incredibly elaborate system of hoaxes going back over hundreds of years. There are just too many people with physical experiences of it to be dismissed as a big hoax or "old tales". Sightings are on-going, right now! In some areas of high yowie activity, sightings are frequent down entire streets backing onto bush. Entire neigbourhoods know about the antics of these things. When a Yowie stands 1 m in front of you and roars, you are not likely to think it's a possum or a cockatoo, are you? When we talk to these people and tell them that city folk laugh about people who believe in Yowies, they just say they don't care if others believe or not. They know it exists and many just couldn't be bothered proving it to the rest of the world.
"Those who ridicule the existence of the Yowie are simply ignorant of the facts".

Why isn't there any hard evidence of the existence of yowies?
The only thing that hasn't been brought to the public's knowledge is a skull or body, although there are a few reports of people having shot them and the bodies carted away by "authorities".
Experienced bush people would know that flesh, blood and bones decay very rapidly in the bush. The reason for lack of photography is probably due to the fact these things are mainly nocturnal and very evasive. They are intelligent. There are not very many of them. They live mostly in areas where there are no people.

Can we find a Yowie?
There have been many expeditions searching for yowies. Some have been very successful (see www.yowiehunters.com). However, if you have spent any time at all trying to cover valleys in search of potential hiding spots, you would know that even within a kilometre or so of civilisation, are places where people rarely ever go, and where undergrowth is difficult to get through.
In the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, there are numerous bush valleys backing onto residential areas. These valleys extends away from suburbia for 10's of km. Just about anything could be out there. Unless a particular Yowie lives close to a built up area, the chances of stumbling upon them in the bush are very small. They seem to not want to be found.

Could someone catch a Yowie?
You could certainly try. Many, very enthusiastic people and local residents have tried to get evidence of them. The challenge is that they are intelligent, evasive and move much faster than humans. They are also stronger and bigger. These things are smart enough to dismantle tree-mounted cameras designed to catch them on film, so any efforts to catch them would require some very complex planning and lots of good fortune. Then of course there are the moral issues. Those who live in areas of frequent sightings have tried many ways to get decent evidence. The best results so far have been some distant photos and footprint casts. Groups of neighbours and local police have at time tried to catch up with one particular creature in an area in the lower mountains. Without any luck, as it has evaded them each time.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Blue Mountains 30 March 2007 POSSIBLE ENCOUNTER

Prior to this trip to the Blue Mountains, we had received reports that a group of high school students had been scared out of their wits at midnight one evening when they were doing as high school students do, and "hanging out" together at a cul-de-sac adjoining the Blue Mountains National Park. We headed up to the area the following weekend and scouted the area.

The photos below show the area of interest. We met with two of the school students who appeared to be quite enthusiastic. We were very aware of the possibility that this may have been a prank. During the evening, we walked some of the local firetrails looking for evidence and seeking a possible encounter. The closest we came was being frightened by the thumping of a wallaby taking off in the sdark beside us. At about 9:30pm, we noticed that the dogs in the valley to the north of us had begun barking furiously. This was the valley where the previous sighting had occurred. We received an sms txt from the school students who had located themselves on the side of the road in the cul-de-sac (the far side from the road!). They reported the dogs and sounds coming from the bush, as well as apparent eye-shine from the bush.

We made our way over the cul-de-sac. On reaching it we found the two boys huddled under a streetlamp on the other side of the road from the bush. As we approached and sat down I distinctly saw the eye-shine from two eyes as they popped up from behing a grassy mound in the bush and disappeared again. As we talked to the boys, they related that this was similar to what they had been seeing for the past 30 minutes. At intervals over the next hour, most of us caught glimpses of eye-shine through the trees, probably 20-30 m away from us. The boys also described their experience from the weekend before, when they had seen a huge manlike (but hairy) creature emerging from a bush trail but stopping short of the road, nearby to another streetlamp. This time around, they had been too frightened to venture onto the bush side of the road. As we sat there listening (sometimes with a parabolic microphone) and watching, we heard various noises from the bush but were unsure of approaching. Oddly, although we had seen the eye-shine to our left when we arrived, the noises were generally coming from our right, near a firetrail that led off behind some local houses.
The area during the day (above). The crushed grass and branches in this area were interesting. In other areas, you can see similar undergrowth, but it is not squashed to the ground as can be seen here.

The eye-shine was seen in the dark area behind the trees in the centre of this photo.


This is a shot of the area we saw the eye-shine at night. Nothing visible in the photo unfortunately but the eye-shine was seen behind the narrow white tree trunk at the right hand side of the photo.
After waiting for two hours or so, with very little further activity except for the noises off to our right, we decided to venture into the bush a little way. We were more than ably assisted by a local resident who has become an investigator for the area over the past years.
We walked down the firetrail to the right a little ways but saw nothing except for a grassy area that had been set up for a wedding reception. When we had returned to the street, we were accosted by an agitated resident. It was his daughter's wedding reception area that was set up for the next day and he thought we might be thieves. Interestingly, when he calmed down and we explained that we were just harmless nutters looking for yowies, he said he had heard us walking about down there "all night". Yet we had only ventured there 5 minutes before he had come out to see us off. So what was down there?
This evening ended positively. Although we could not say for certain that we had seen definite proof of a large cryptic hominid, we had definitely seen and heard something, in one of the hotspot areas in Australia, a week after a strong sighting had been made. We are making progress!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

March 4 2007 Expedition - Blue Mountains

Location: Lower Blue Mountains, NSW
Number of participants: 3
Preface: We headed to a particularly active area of the the Blue Mountains for a two night expedition from the 2nd to 4th March 2007.

We camped out at the end of a road leading to a firetrail in an historically active area. During the first day, T and A went looking around the local area and met up with a few local residents with their own experiences.

On Sat 3rd, Mike (me) joined the expedition. I parked at the end of the road where it stops and becomes a firetrail. I then walked a few hundred metres or so down the track to a saddle leading into a steep gully on the northern side. Here, approx 10 metres from the firetrail I found an interestingly disturbed group of sapling and low bushes that appeared to me to have been pushed down into the centre.






Sunday, January 21, 2007

Monday, December 4, 2006

The Yowie - Morphology

Hominoid": Group of primates that includes humans, their ancestors (thus all hominids), as well as the great apes (pongids).
Hominid: Group of primates to which humans and their ancestors (but not the great apes) belong.
The Yowie appears to be some kind of relict hominoid. There may be more than one kind. They may be descendents of Gigantopithecus blackii, a type of robust Australopithecine, or a mega-version of Homo erectus descended from Java Man. Rex Gilroy favours the Gigantopithecus and H. erectus ideas, while others feel it may even be a bipedal marsupial. Others feel that it is some kind of bush spirit from the dreamtime, or may be partially flesh and blood and partially paranormal.
We feel that the simplest explanation would be that it (or they) are either descendents of Gigantopithecus or some kind of hominid or both. We believe that the majority of "Yowie" sightings indicate a large bipedal pongid or hominoid. It is massive and covered in long hair. Characteristics and behaviour described by eyewitnesses appear to closely resemble that of the great apes.
Name: Yowie, Doolagarl, Australian Bush Ape
Proposed scientific name: Gigantopithecus australis, Australopithecus australis
Range: Northern Queensland south to the mountains of NSW and Victoria.
Habitat: Live in forests.
Status: Unknown. Potentially in danger of extinction because of encroachment on their habitat and low numbers.
Diet: Plants, berries, leaves, birds, small mammals.
Behaviour: Variable. Reports have been made describing their behaviour from friendly and curious to outright hostile. Behavioural similarities to gorillas can be noted. Reports have been made of yowies chestbeating, thumping sticks and rocks on the ground. Vocalisations have been reported from hoots and growls through to extremely powerful bellowing and screaming. A strange unintelligle chattering and gibberish has also been mentioned, that which initially sounds like a person talking but appears upon listening not be human language.
Nesting: Do not appear to make permanent shelter, nor for that matter any complex arrangements beyond criss-crossing stick arrangements. Many reports have been made of apparent short-term nesting sites, comprising flattened areas of long grass, hidden deep in swamps or nests in lantana. This kind of behaviour also mimics that of gorillas, that build a camp daily, comprising leaves and branches, and evidenced by large areas of flattened vegetation.
Morphology
Skin: The yowie is described as having very dark skin on the face, the rest of the body usually covered in long hair.
Hair: The body hair is variable in colour, from black through dark brown to reddish brown. Length varies from very long (15cm) on the arms, to shorter all over (5cm?). The hair is sometimes not long enough on the body to obscure the genitalia.
If we assume (as do researchers at the BFRO of the USA), that the yowie is a member of the primate family tree, the we can surmise that the yowie has hair rather than fur. Why the yowie is hairy, in contrast to the indigenous inhabitants of Australia, is a matter for conjecture. A plausible explanation is that since these creatures do not make semi-permanent shelters, they are very prone to the elements and long hair protects them.
Head and Face: The head is described as having a low, sloping backward forehard, sometimes with a suggested saggital ridge/crest. The brow ridges are inevitably described as very conspicuous, giving rise to descriptions such as "it looked like a gorilla".
The head is inevitably described as "sunk into the shoulders" and of giving a stooped appearance. The short neck may be a variation on effective head positioning following the move from quadrupedalism to bipedalism. Grover Krantz describes the significance of this feature in his excellent book.
The head is often described as "out of proportion" and smaller than a human head. These two features suggest a relatively small brain. The head is sometimes described as "round".
The face is usually described as hair free.
When the eyes are visible, they are described as large, deep set and black or brown. There have been many reports of "large red, glowing eyes" being sighted at night. This feature may be eye-shine from the inside of the eye - possibly the tapetum. Some eyewitnesses have said they have seen red, glowing eyes, even when no direct light source was present. It is interesting to note that the very obvious eye-shine of some species of Australian flying foxes is not due to the tapetum. These flying foxes have an unusual array of sharp bumps on the inside back wall of the eye.
Considering that yowies appear to be mostly nocturnal, we could possibly expect a large proportion of rods to cones in the retina. This is however very very unusual in primates. Flying foxes have nearly 100% rods.
The nose and mouth are rarely well described. The teeth have been described as being large with prominent canines. Other reports tell of "normal" being human-like teeth.
Body: The shoulders of the yowie are described as massive and proportionally larger than those of humans.
The chest is also described as very large and the body is usually described as evidently muscular.
Female breasts are variously described as either small in presumably younger individuals and pendulous in other older individuals.
The arms are often described as "disproportionately long", in comparison to human arms. The arms are often reported to hang down beyond the knees.
Hands have not been well described by eyewitnesses.
The legs are usually described as massively thick and strong in appearance.IntelligenceThe yowie would appear to be a very intelligent and elusive primate. It appears to be extremely adept at avoiding detection, although when it wants to make contact with humans, can be quite forthcoming, and seems content moving about in semi-surburban areas. However, if it was a hominid, it would have limited capacity. It does not make fire, nor has it been seen using tools of any sort, except sticks and stones. It does not appear to make even semi-permanent shelter.
Primate Migration and the Wallace Line.
If the yowie is indeed a hominoid, the question is always raised as to how it got here from Asia (or if it evolved here?). There has been very little fossil or other evidence so far of primate migration into Australia and Papua New Guinea from the rest of South East Asia (where there is some evidence of prehistoric apes, and plenty of present day primates).
The Wallace Line, a line proposed by Wallace (a colleague of Charles Darwin and proponent of the theory of natural selection), crosses between Bali and Lombok, in present-day Indonesia. South / East of this line, none of the Asian primates appears to have travelled. The distance between the islands is not great, but a deep ocean trench exists and existed in this region, which prevented land migration eastward from Bali, even when sea levels were much lower in the Pleistocene. There are very significant differences between tha faunal types on either sides of the Wallace Line.
So how did such a primate as described by bush Australians cross this line? And WAS this line such a barrier as has been previously proposed? Recent work on primate migration during the Pleistocene suggests that the Wallace Line may not have represented such an impossible barrier to cross as has been previously thought. It was however limiting to primates, not so much because there was a deep ocean crosing required, but because as the lower sea levels related to drier periods in the region, the habitat of the primates was restricted to the highlands, and the coastal regions were more savannah like. For this reason, it is suggested that the small primates of the region did not even live near to the coast, so even the opportunity for accidental migration on fallen trees etc would have been small.
But perhaps a large very strong primate would not have had such problems crossing the sea.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Watagans Expedition, August 2005 - Stick arrangements and other vegetation disturbance


Location: Watagans National Park, NSW
Number of participants: 2

Following the previous trips into the Watagans, confidence had been gained in this remote area and we felt more comfortable venturing away from the vehicle and the established firetrails.

On this trip, we took the car further down into the bush from the site we had originally investigated, along a steep and rocky 4WD track. On reaching a flatter section with an embankment on the left and a steep forested gully on the right, I noticed a broken tree and an area where something have disturbed the earth climbing up the embankment. I think it's worth mentioning at this point that the area we were visiting is deep in the bush and it is pretty unlikely that any people have been there for a long period of time. Certainly the track I was driving on had no tracks from previous vehicles, so we can discount any vehicle entry for the few weeks prior to my time there.









Looking uphill from the disturbed area was open forest and nothing much to see. So we got out of the car and headed down the hill from where whatever it was that made this disturbance came from, or was going. Approximately 20 to 30 metres into the bush my partner discovered to her surprise, a large fallen log with pushed-down grass on the uphill side. More odd was the collection of eucalyptus leaves and twigs that had been gathered from somewhere and placed around the log, and the number of long sticks that had been placed roughly parallel along the length of the log.






Whilst being reasonably skeptical of the reports we had from other researchers in this area, we had to admit that this "sign" was very interesting. Again, despite spending some hours in the area, no other activity was seen (sightings, vocalisations).








Sunday, December 5, 2004

Wild and Hairy Men by Dave McBean

Introduction
This article is a broad discussion, which may sometimes venture in to what some may call a "fantasy universe". Many of the ideas put forward are not necessarily being advocated by the author, but are merely here for discussion purposes. The author would prefer the reader to view this discussion with a skeptical eye and check some of the details for themselves, rather than assuming it to be "gospel". The author welcomes any suggestions for improvements to the article. For a very good discussion on whether these creatures actually exist or not please read "Bigfoot: The Yeti and Sasquatch in Myth and Reality" by distinguished primatologist John Napier.
This article combines what we know of the fossil record of bipedal primates with conjecture and hypothesis, to provide possible (but not necessarily probable) explanations for the consistent reports of unknown hairy bipedal primates, all over Earth, throughout history. There is an unusually large focus on the subject of reported Australian creatures, because that subject has been relatively neglected until quite recently. If these reported creatures really exist, as many rational people believe, from where did they originate and how did they become such elusive creatures?
Prehistoric Primates
First, let us summarize the various upright bipedal apes and humans, which have existed in the past. Given that even tribes of wild Chimpanzees have simple sign language dialects, it is reasonable to assume that all those beings listed below had some form of language, even if it was far more basic in form, than our own.
Gracile Australopithecines - A term covering various types of small (less than 5 feet tall) lightly built upright bipedal primates, some of which may be either ancestors of humans or a side branch of separate apes. They lived in east and southern Africa and seem to have originated earlier than 4 million years ago, with the final types living until around 2.5 million years ago or possibly later.
Paranthropus (also known as robust Australopithecines). This covers a range of groups, which are similar to the above, but seem to be a side branch (or branches) of taller and more strongly built types, which lived between approximately 2.6 and 1 million years ago. They include some extra robust types, which have larger skull crests and massive jaws. One type - Australopithecus aethiopicus (approximately 2.5 million years old), has the largest skull crest ever found on a hominid. Another type found around 1.75 million years ago is called Zinj, Zinjanthropus boisei, Australopithecus boisei or simply Nutcracker man (due to its huge jaw). The estimates of Zinj's maximum height seem to vary between 5 feet and 6.5 feet, depending on whether you theorize that their long arms meant they were tall, or simply that they had very long arms in relation to the rest of their body. As with all remains of creatures this age or older, it is skull and jaw remains which survive more often than other body parts. They lived in east Africa and there is some evidence to suggest that they were hunted by Humans.
Gigantopithecus??? Lived between approximately 6 million years ago and 300,000 years ago in southern China, Vietnam and Northern India. Due to the absence of remains other than teeth and jaws, the matter of whether it was bipedal or quadrupedal is highly debatable. It is generally considered to be a gorilla sized quadrupedal relative of the Orangutan, but is included in this discussion because a few scientists (such as Dr Grover Krantz of the USA and a number of others in China) feel that it may have been bipedal and as such may be relevant to this discussion. Their teeth are very large and adapted for herbivory. The canines are moderately large but often show evidence of being ground down to stubs, due to their diet.
Meganthropus. Lived approximately 1 million(?) years ago in Indonesia. Like Gigantopithecus, its remains are scant. Generally considered to be a very robust form of Homo erectus, but it may still be too early to say for sure. Some scientists have suggested that Meganthropus jaw remains seem to have some similarities to those of Paranthropus and may represent an Asian branch of similar beings.
Homo rudolfensis and Homo habilis: Humans which lived from around 2.4 million years ago to about 1.6 million years ago. They were the first advanced tool users and are thought to have descended from some of the Australopithecines. Rudolfensis was more robust than habilis and was taller (up to 5 feet tall). They lived in east Africa and appear to have been the ancestors of Homo erectus and Homo ergaster.
Homo erectus and Homo ergaster- Humans which lived from about 1.8 million years ago to less than 500,000 years ago. They had a skeleton, which was close in appearance to that of modern humans, but it was more robust. The skull was more robust (than modern humans) with prominent brow ridges. It is not known how hairy they were. They were accomplished tool users and seem to be the first hominids to have ranged widely outside Africa. Homo erectus inhabited the Earth for a longer period, than any other type of human and ranged widely across Eurasia. The line between the last of the Homo erectus and early forms of Homo sapiens is very blurred (the period between 500,000 to 150,000 years ago), which seams to indicate a smooth transition between the two human groups. Some of these later remains have their own names (e.g. Heidelberg Man). There were also some very similar humans to Homo erectus (e.g. Homo ergaster), which lived at the same time and may have been the ancestors of modern Homo sapiens. This is a matter of some debate. The possibility of interbreeding between different but similar groups throughout Eurasia and Africa, may be the reason why choosing a direct ancestor for Homo sapiens, from this period, is so difficult. The human family tree may be more complicated than a direct line.
Archaic and "Pre-modern" Homo sapiens: Terms describing a diverse range of Humans which lived from before 150,000 years ago to possibly less than 10,000 years ago. They had a slightly more robust skull structure and would have been indistinguishable in appearance from modern humans if dressed and groomed as such. It is not known how hairy they were. They seem to have ranged quite widely. Some believe that the youngest remains of such individuals were found in Kow Swamp in Victoria, Australia and they were probably the first group of humans to inhabit the continent, before being assimilated by later influxes of tribes from the north
Homo sapiens neanderthalensis: Commonly know as Neanderthals or Neandertals. They were a "race" of humans, which lived from before 150,000 years ago to less than 35,000 years ago. They had a skeleton and skull structure, which was more robust on average than that of modern Europeans. They seem to have lived only in Europe, the Middle East and central Asia. They exhibit characteristics, which seem to indicate that they were specially adapted to the environment of glaciated Europe, much like modern Inuit are adapted for life in the Arctic. It is not known how hairy they were. If Neanderthals were not very hairy, then they would probably not look any different than a strongly built person who lives today. They were accomplished tool users and buried their dead. They were either driven to extinction by other Homo sapiens or gradually interbred with them (or a combination of both).
Comments about various remains:
The relationship between various remains is constantly being revised and debated as new evidence is found. It appears that sometime before 2.6 million years ago, a group of robust bipedal primates (Zinjanthropus, etc) branched off from the main part of the tree of bipedal primates (the part which gave rise to humans). It is conceivable that remains like those of Meganthropus may represent groups of unknown extra robust upright bipedal primates, which settled in Asia earlier than 1 million years ago. They may be related to the robust Paranthropus group. Alternatively, they could be the result of a different branch with strong similarities to the Paranthropus group (a phenomenon known as evolutionary convergence). Zinj and Australopithecus aethiopicus set a precedent which demonstrates that it is possible for apes to develop with large skull crests, powerful jaws, a bipedal skeleton and a height comparable to modern humans (i.e. over 5 feet tall).
Various Reported "Hairy Man" Creatures
"Hairy Men" have been reported on every continent (except Antarctica - if you consider it to be a continent) and throughout history. From the Ogres and Loups-garoux of European folklore to the Sasquatch of modern North America.
Eurasia- this land mass has a long and rich oral history of various "wild men". In all parts of the former Soviet Union, there have been consistent reports of creatures known as Almas. The Alma is reported to be human in appearance except for it being very hairy, strongly built and capable of only a grunt-like language. If this is the case it seems that it is very similar to how Homo erectus or Neanderthal would appear to be if they had been very hairy. Homo erectus would seem like a more likely candidate because of it being more likely to not have advanced spoken language, however Neanderthals would probably be better adapted to the cold of Russia. In southern China, there have been many reports over thousands of years of a creature called the Yeren ("wild man" in Chinese). Unlike the Alma, the Yeren is said to be less human in appearance and much taller and more heavily built with a pointed head (skull crest) and no neck. In the three borders area of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos there is a strong oral history of a creature called the Nguoi Rung ("wild man" in Vietnamese). It seems to be similar to the Yeren, but is often reported as being more human in size.In Malaysia there is an oral history of a creature called the Orang Mawa or Orang Delem, which is also supposed to be similar to the Yeren.
In Malaysia and Indonesia there is also an oral history of a creature called the Orang Pendek, which is supposedly less than five feet tall, bipedal and hairy. If so, it would appear similar in appearance to artist's impressions of the Gracile Australopithecines. This raises the question of whether there is a genetic connection between the Orang Pendek and one of the small Australopithecines, which once existed. The similarity to Gracile Australopithecines could simply be an example of evolutionary convergence, and the Orang Pendek could be the descendents of a separate branch of the family tree. In the Himalayas there is the famous legend of the Yeti. Yeti is a name, which is said to apply to a group of separate creature types of different heights and characters. This may have something to do with the fact that the Himalayas border areas where the Yeren is reported, the Alma is reported, the Languor monkey is reported and red and black bears are reported. Contrary to popular belief, there is very little evidence of any kind to support the existence of the Yeti in the Himalayas, when compared with similar creatures in North America.
The predominance of the reports of Yeren type creatures in south east Asia and the existence of incomplete remains of prehistoric robust apes in that region, seems to raise the possibility of something akin to a large Paranthropus having once lived in Asia and then giving rise to either the legends of, or the creatures which are reported. The biggest problem facing researchers in Asia is the strong intertwining of real life, myth and religion, which sometimes leads to eyewitness reports which seem very easy to ignore as fantasy. Work presently being conducted by scientists in Vietnam and China will hopefully rectify this situation.
Africa- There are many African legends of hairy man like creatures in Africa. Many of these are attributed to the Chimpanzee and the Gorilla. The Agogues in East Africa, however, are reported to be much more like Australopithecines or the Orang-Pendek than the Gorilla or Chimpanzee. The Elgayo and Nandi tribes of Kenya tell of a large, hairy bipedal creature called the Chemosit.
South America- In the Colombian Andes there are stories of a creatures similar to the Orang Pendek, called the Duendi. In the Amazon jungle there are reports of a larger ape-like creature called the Mapinguary. Sometimes, however, the Mapinguary is reported to be more like a giant ground sloth.
North America- The Sasquatches of North America are probably the most famous of the "wild man" creatures although they are probably better known under the silly sounding name of "Bigfoots" or "Bigfeet". The term "Bigfoot" was first coined in northern California in the early to mid 1900's after the many large footprints found in the area, however the term Sasquatch has a longer history and is derived from a Native American word from British Columbia. There are a large number of reports of these creatures in both Native American folklore and European American history, and the creatures have gone by many other names including Yahoos, Skookums, Loups-garoux (French for "Werewolf"), Skunk Apes, Wood Devils, Wookies, and numerous other Native American names. Reports seem to suggest that they closely resemble the Yeren of China, with a pointed head, no neck and a huge body.

Australia- Finally, we come to what would seem the most unlikely continent on Earth, to which a large non-human primate could migrate. Australia has never been joined to Asia by any known land bridge. How could such a creature arrive there? This is a question that is yet to be answered. Despite this, Australia has a rich oral history in both Aboriginal and European settler cultures of a race of "Hairy Men" existing in the rugged forest covered mountains and canyons of the coastal areas of the continent. These Hairy Men are reported, in many ways, to resemble the Yeren and the Sasquatch, with a pointed head, no neck and a big strong body. They are known by many names such as the Hairy Men, the Yaroma, the Doolagarl, the Jingera, the Quinkin, the Yourie, the Yowrie, the Yahoo, the Australian Gorilla and many more, including the name that has become very popular - the Yowie. Unfortunately in the English language words with an "ee" sounding suffix, generally have connotations of silliness. In addition to this Cadbury's Chocolate company chose the name "Yowie" for a range of funny creature shaped chocolates. As a result the term "Yowie" tends to conjure up images of a silly story and thus its use is not very conducive to a serious discussion of the possibilities of such creatures. Interestingly, small solitary creatures (often referred to as "Brown Jacks"), which fit the description of the Orang Pendek, have also been reported on rare occasion in Australia. They may simply be juvenile examples of the larger creatures, but many people are convinced that they are a separate species. If they are a separate species similar to the Orang Pendek, then the lack of sightings would seem to indicate that these creatures are extremely rare and may be nearing extinction. If this is the case, then it is unlikely that any evidence of their existence will ever be found. In addition to sightings of these small solitary creatures, there have been reports of juveniles of the larger creatures being seen with their parents (just as there has been similar reports of families of apes in North America and Asia).
Comments about inconsistencies in the reported appearance of hairy bipedal primates
It is interesting to note one particular feature of Sasquatch and "Yowie" reports. They are sometimes reported to have large noses (one witness commented that it was similar to the way Michael Jackson's nose used to be in the late 1970s). Some times the noses are reported to be more like a Gorilla nose. The size of noses is determined by the cartilage which supports them and the bone to which the cartilage is attached. Noses can vary in size and shape quite markedly on human faces. On Chimpanzees and Gorillas, the noses vary less. We do not know what shape or variation of the noses occurred naturally on early upright bipedal primates. It is possible that the reason why some witnesses report the faces of "Hairy Man" creatures to be human like, while others report them to be gorilla like, could be attributed to a large natural variation in nose types (as occurs in humans). A large "Santa Claus" style nose would seem to make such a creature look more like a human, since few other animals have such a nose. A similar creature with a small flat nose, would probably appear more gorilla-like.The Australian "Hairy Man" and some of the "Sasquatches" of North America are reported to have large canine teeth. Tree bites found in the Bloodwood trees of Australia seem to confirm this. These tree bites show evidence of sizeable upper and lower canines. None of the known bipedal primate fossils exhibit prominent canine teeth, while many of the non-bipedal primates do. This could indicate that these hairy men branched off from the primate family tree at an earlier point than the known bipedal primates (and thus their bipedal stance would be an example of convergence). Alternatively they could be descendants of one of the known bipedal primates and the prominent canines would then be the example of evolutionary convergence (similar convergence seems to have occurred to some extent between gorillas and robust australopithecines with their skull crests). Many "Sasquatches" and other "Hairy Men" are not reported to have large canines. This could simply be because the teeth were not observed, by the witness. Another reason could be because there is a large difference in canine size between males and females of the species. Still another reason for variation could be that more vegetarian feeding habits in some areas cause the canines to become worn down over time. Alternatively the large canines could be a regional variation in these creatures (although it seems hard to imagine this variation developing quick enough). It does seem hard to imagine that the known bipedal primates could have given rise to creatures with such markedly larger canine teeth (but it isn't impossible). Contrary to common belief the footprints, which are not obvious fakes, are not the same as "scaled up" human footprints. There are many subtle differences. Footprints reported in North America and China seem to show no evidence of an opposable large toe, while some footprints found in Australia do show such evidence. This would seem to indicate that the North American and Chinese creatures are not closely related to the Australian creatures. Sometimes these footprints are reported to show less than five toes. This could be the result of inbreeding or it could be the result of some of the toes not pressing hard enough against the soil to leave a noticeable impression. Seeing as none of these reported creatures has ever been rigorously examined, nothing conclusive can be drawn from the previous comments, however they are points of interest.
How could such creatures survive so long and remain so hidden, while being so wide spread?
It is interesting to note that creatures such as Paranthropus lived at the same time and in the same area as more human-like creatures. What occurred when the two types of bipeds' paths crossed? There is evidence to suggest that the more human-like creatures sometimes hunted the less human-like ones. If extremely robust hominids did survive much longer than previously thought, they may have had to develop certain traits to make them less vulnerable to humans. Traits that would be advantageous would be:
*Being active while the humans are asleep (i.e. nocturnal).
*Being vary careful about leaving tracks, which could be followed by humans.
*Being generally vary careful to remain hidden when humans are near.
*Avoiding conflict with humans where possible.
*Trying to drive humans away, when they may be getting close to an area inhabited by vulnerable family members, like juveniles (e.g. throwing rocks or sticks, growling, bluff charging, etc)
Interestingly, all these characteristics have been attributed to the "hairy men" reported around the globe.

Some relevant comments about ape behavior and group structure
Gorillas and Chimpanzees share some behavioral and group structure traits:
*Live in groups of between 2 to about 20 individuals, led by a dominant male who guards his group and their territory.
*Make beds of grass and sticks, which they use only once, before moving to a different spot, the following day.
*Have a range of calls, grunts, barks, hoots and sign language to communicate with each other and to drive off animals which threaten the group.
*On reaching adulthood, some males leave their group and become solitary, until they manage to attract mature females from other groups, to form their own group.
*Are typically very gentle creatures but males and nursing mothers have been known to kill men with ease if they feel threatened.
Eyewitness reports of bipedal apes and "Hairy Men", throughout the world, seem to show behavior, which is consistent with the above traits.
How on Earth could they reach Australia, of all places?
This is a hard question to answer convincingly. The following scenario is pretty sketchy and is sure to have plenty of holes in it, not the least of which is the presence of the Wallace Trench (named after distinguished naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace) and other sea trenches which make Australia and New Guinea inaccessible to large Asian terrestrial fauna. As human population in an area increased beyond the capacity of the land to sustain so many hunter/gatherers it was common for members of the group to go out into new areas, sometimes displacing other human tribes. This occurred a number of times in the area of Indonesia, during the glacial periods, which existed over the past 100,000 years. It was during these periods, when the gap between Australia and nearby islands was at its smallest, that a number of different groups of humans migrated to Australia. The descendants of a mixture of these groups are called the Australian Aboriginals. There may have been a period when a reasonably large population, of large robust primates, were forced towards the extremities of places like Java, by large numbers of human tribes migrating towards them. In such circumstances, young males leaving their family group to start their own groups, may have had no other choice but to swim out to nearby islands to find new territory. Their nighttime calls may have been enough to encourage young females to cross as well. Over a period of 20 years or so, enough animals might make the swim to form a sustainable breeding population. This theory is pretty flimsy, to say the least. The gaps which separated the Australian and New Guinean land mass from other islands were so wide that swimming across would have been very unlikely and no known animal can give a call which would carry across such a distance. There is no precedent for such a swim amongst any known large terrestrial mammal (apart from possibly elephants), though Bob Titmus, the famous Californian Sasquatch researcher (who moved to Canada in the early 1960s), did claim to find some encouraging signs. On small islands off the coast of British Columbia, Bob Titmus claimed to have found footprints, which fit the description of Sasquatch tracks. These islands were too small to support a breeding population of such creatures and they were separated by large expanses of choppy water, from the mainland.
If they really did exist, wouldn't they leave an observable impact on their environment?
This seems to be the case. Many places in Australia and North America are reported to show evidence of being sleeping areas, food consumption areas and areas where the forest has been extensively disturbed by creatures larger than humans. Broken saplings and larger trees are often reported in areas where these creatures are supposedly sighted. Stick structures, which may be territorial markers, are also reported. Some of these things can be explained by the presence of other large animals, however in some areas (like Australia), there are no known large animals, which could be responsible for this environmental impact.
Why haven't any remains been found?
How many remains of common forest mammals are ever found? The answer is a very small percentage. Other animals and insects break down remains of dead animals very quickly. Skeletal remains are rare compared with the number of mammals that exist. If natural recycling of remains did not occur, Earth would be smothered in bones by now.
Surely someone would have taken a photograph by now!Witnesses often report that the initial shock of seeing such a creature, makes them forget about the importance of taking a photograph. Admittedly this isn't the most convincing of arguments, to say the least.
If these creatures are so worthy of research, why aren't more serious scientists researching them?
Sir Peter Medawar FRS once said (in reference to another topic): "Good scientists study the most important problems they think they can solve. It is after all, their professional business to solve problems, not merely to grapple with them."

Conclusion
There is no shortage of possibilities to explain why these creatures could exist, and not yet be officially recognized. Despite the possibility of these explanations, they are often far from probable and we must keep this in the back of our minds when researching this topic. As John Napier once wrote (in reference to explaining these creatures through the survival of prehistoric species) "It would be a neat solution to allocate the ape-like Gigantopithecus to the Himalayas and the more human-like Paranthropus to North America, but it would be a shockingly unscientific thing to do".

Bibliography and further Reading
Websites:
Australian Skeptics Websitehttp://www.skeptics.com.au/
A reasonably good fossil hominid sitehttp://www.pro-am.com/origins/
Professor Russell Ciochon of the University of Iowa(A very interesting website)http://www.uiowa.edu/~bioanth/
An interesting discussion on Chinese primate fossilshttp://www.cruzio.com/~cscp/art1.htm
The Great Ape Projecthttp://www.greatapeproject.org/
Dr Jeff Meldrum's footprint analysishttp://www.isu.edu/~meldd/crypto.html
The BFROhttp://www.bfro.net/
The Vietnamese Wildman (Nguoi Rung)http://coombs.anu.edu.au/~vern/wildman.html
North America's Great Ape: the Sasquatchhttp://www.island.net/~johnb/
Dr Matthew Johnson's Sasquatch Sitehttp://www.sasquatchsite.com/
The GCBRO photographs of tree breaks and limb formationshttp://gcbro.com/pics-1.htm

Books:
More detailed references to the books listed below, will be forthcoming.
Where Worlds Collide: the Wallace Line By Penny Van OosterzeePublished by Reed Books, 1997
New Interpretations of Ape and Human Ancestors Ciochon and Corruccini
Bigfoot/Sasquatch Evidence By Grover Krantz
North America's Great Ape: the SasquatchBy John Bindernagel
Out of the ShadowsMystery Animals Of Australia By Tony Healy and Paul Cropper
Bigfoot: The Yeti and SasquatchIn Myth and Reality By John Napier
The Natural History of Primates By John Napier
The Origins of Man By John Napier
Primate Locomotion By John Napier
Monkeys without Tails By John Napier
The Roots of Mankind By John Napier
The Origin Of Humankind By Richard E. Leakey
People of the Lake: Mankind and its Beginnings By Richard E. Leakey
Making of Mankind By Richard E. Leakey
Human Origins By Richard E. Leakey
Origins: what new discoveries reveal about the emergence of our species and its possible future By Richard E. Leakey
The Chimpanzees of Gombe: Patterns of Behavior By Jane GoodallPublished by Harvard University Press
My Life with the Chimpanzees By Jane Goodall
Gorillas in the Mist By Dian Fossey
Magazines Articles:
National Geographic:
June 1973 "Skull 1470- New Clue to Earliest Man?"
December 1976 "Early Man in Ethiopia"
April 1979 "Footprints 3.6 Million Years Old"
November 1985 "The search for Early Man"
January 1996 "Neandertals"
May 1997 "The Dawn of Humans"
July 1997 "The Dawn of Humans"
September 1995 "The Dawn of Humans"
March 1996 "The Dawn of Humans"
February 1997 "The Dawn of Humans"
September 1997 "The Dawn of Humans"
August 1998 "Dawn of Humans"
May 2000 "Dawn of Humans"
July 2000 "Dawn of Humans"
March 1992 "Apes and Humans"
October 1978 "Conversations with a Gorilla"
January 1985 "Koko's Kitten"
April 1981 "Life Among Mountain Gorillas"
October 1995 "Mountain Gorillas of Africa"
February 2000 "Orphan Gorillas"
May 1979 "Gombe Chimps"
December 1995 "Jane Goodall"
October 1975 "Orangutans"
June 1980 "Living with Orangutans"

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Snowy Mountains and South Coast January 2004

Location: Brindabellas Ranges near Canberra, Namadgi, Kosciuszko National Park, South Coast NSW, Wadbilliga, Mogo.
Aims: to investigate a number of areas of previous sightings, including revisiting a site where I heard strange calls in 1979.
Notes: First stop was the Brindabella Ranges near Canberra. This region had been widely affected by the bushfires that hit Canberra in 2003. The devastation was quite incredible. Many months after the fires, there were still areas completely black and barren, while other areas were showing a lot of regrowth, and some areas were untouched.Second stop was an area a few kilometres out of Talbingo in the Kosciuszko National Park. At this location in 1979 I heard some very frightening and unusual calls in the bush at about 3am. This site lies along a powerline road. Human traffic is rare (only one car passed by on this day and it was the Christmas school holidays and a Saturday).

The photo below shows a footprint located where the track crosses the creek in the clearing pictured above. The outline was indistinct and the toes were not clear. It could have been human, given the size. The area is very rarely frequented by people. An area of flattened grass lay immediately beside the creek. My plan initially was to camp at this site, but given this find, my previous experience here and the fact that I was alone, I decided against it. I also found quite a number of emu and fox prints on the powerline road.


I moved on and after looking around in the dense bush between Talbingo and Tumut (and again deciding to be a chicken and NOT camp deep in the bush), I decided to camp in an area of pine plantations a few kilometres from Tumut.

The following day I journeyed across the countryside in the sweltering heat through Cooma and towards the coast to Brown Mountain (see photo below). Brown Mountain has had many yowie sightings in the past few years, some from truckies pulling over at night for a break before heading downhill to the coast. On my drive through the mountains ranges of the south coast it struck me how much wilderness there is down there. it's vast, and its uninhabited by people.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Watagans Expedition November 2003 - bizarre stick arrangements

In late 2003 a number of daytime expeditions were made to an area reputed to have been the location of a number of yowie sightings. The area is a half an hour drive along dirt track through a hilly plateau. The location of these photographs is found on a firetrail that diverges from the main dirt road, about 200 m from the road.




Located in an area where reported sightings have occurred, these bizarre placed stick arrangements have been found. These two arrangements are some of many in the immediate vicinity. We postulate they may be territorial markings or perhaps trail markers. They do not appear to be coincidentally fallen, and on occasions it is possible to see where certain branches have been wrenched and placed into location.



Sunday, October 12, 2003

Blue Mountains Expedition / Field Trips October 2003


Introduction
On 6-7th and 11-12th of October 2003, I searched for evidence of the yowie in the Blue Mountains of NSW. The Blue Mountains lies directly west of Sydney. A huge area of the Blue Mountains is comprised of National Parks. These national parks extend north and south of the major highway which splits the mountains from east to west. National park forests extend virtually uninterrupted north and south from the highway for hundreds of kilometres with only the occasional roads crossing them.




The central part of the mountains is made up of a large rise of Hawkesbury Sandstone that outcrops as spectacular lines on cliffs. It is for this reason that the area is called "the mountains" although they are not mountains in the normal sense of the word.

The region is very well known for its history of yowie encounters. We have spoken to a number of people in the mountains with numerous, ongoing encounters in their neighbourhoods.
The mountains are very heavily forested with eucalypts, bloodwoods, acacia etc. The deeper valleys contain green, mossy rainforest glades.


Native wildlife includes wallabies, kangaroos, brush turkeys, possums and numerous smaller marsupial species, as well as feral cats and foxes. The region has a diverse bird fauna.


Strategy

Our normal approach is to go to areas that have been reputed to be areas of high activity over the years and spend as much time as possible sitting in the bush there waiting for any form of activity. We also scout the area for sign, which may include damage to trees, regions of crushed grass and areas of trampled grass indicating trails through the understorey. We have also found arrangements of crossed sticks in asterisk or cross patterns in areas where humans rarely ever go. These coincidentally appear in areas where reports have come in from.


When possible, we stay out after nightfall to wait quietly for any activity. Most reports indicate that these things are more active by night. Activity we might hear includes tree breakage, footprints, vocalisations (growling or other calling) and heavy bipedal footfall.


We have had reports of mixed results using infrared lights and cameras and have not yet invested in this technology. It is possible that yowies may bee able to see the infrared light emitting diodes usually employed by nightscopes and nightcameras. However, in time we may arm ourselves with nightvision cameras, switched off waiting for an encounter that we can film with nightvision, if only briefly.


Location 1
The first location I investigated on this trip was an area an area well investigated by other researchers, on a ridge line above the home of a local resident who has had numerous encounters over the past 7 years. Other residents of the same street have also had daytime and night-time sightings over the past few years. Nothing of any great interest was found on this trip.




Location 2
This location was said by some locals of being worth investigating. It is an eroded basalt plug located in a valley some kilometres from the closest town. Due to the enriched soil from the basalt, the area has particularly tall trees and an abundance of wildlife. A campsite was established and I walked around the immediate vicinity looking for any signs of foliage damage or other sign in the bush. Nothing was seen. After starting a fire and cooking dinner, I sat quietly waiting for any activity for a few hours. No activity occurred however. It should be noted that there were two other groups of campers in the area creating some noise.


Although it was an eerie moonlit night under the tall trees and definitely had a spooky atmosphere, this was not enough to convince me that this particular place had any activity at this time, nor was worthy of any particular interest in future.


Location 3
The next location was a fire-trail on the other side of the highway from the first two locations, and one ridgeline across from another local resident's home (Jerry and Sue, mentioned elsewhere on this web site). Another area of repeated, often frightening encounters, this area is seen as prospective for finding at least sign of recent activity.



I walked for at least 30 minutes along the fire trail and found nothing of particular note. Although I have spent a considerable amount of time in the bush, it is still completely possible that I walked past obvious sign without recognising it. Much time spent actually investigating sign needs to be carried out before one becomes "tuned" to seeing it. After a few hours scouring the surrounding areas with a good pair of binoculars, no activity was noted and I decided to move on to the next area.


It is worth noting that a bend in the road leading to this firetrail was the location of a sighting by another resident in 2000. This resident reported sighting a huge hairy creature crossing the same road in front of his car late one night as he came around a bend.


October 2003 - Blue Mountains

Location: Lower Blue Mountains, NSW
Date: October 6, 2003
A day trip to a few areas in the lower Blue Mountains reported to be hotspots. This was also a good opportunity to see how the area had regrown following the terrible bushfires of the previous year. One of these areas has had a history of yowie activity for many years, with one particular encounter in the past decade bringing a number of residents out into the street together.
On this occasion however, the results were rather disappointing. One or two broken trees were found but no other particularly interesting sign. A trail through the grass was found in one location but as this area is quite close to a walking track it was probably caused by humans.
An area rumoured to be a yowie activity area was also investigated (below). Although this was a beautiful spot, the usual signs of broken saplings or those very obvious crushed grass trails through the bush were not seen. It was decided to come back later for a night trip to see if the rumours of the spot could be substantiated.



Friday, March 15, 2002

Possible encounter report, March 15 2002 - Sean

Date and season March 15. Early Autumn.
Approximate Location Gallery forest, Grose River, Yarramundi
Time of day app. 12.40 a.m.
People in attendance 2
Time and conditions: Warm, clear night; app. new moon. No wind
Nearest town:Richmond, NSW
Observed: 1. Reasonably substantial branches breaking and movement (not a continuous sound) thru thick undergrowth adjacent to river, app. 50 m distance, directly on opposite river bank.
2. Howl/scream/yell, three times, each subsequent call closer than the previous; each call separated by 3-4 minutes silence. Each call slightly different, but this may have been affected by distance, not that the distance was great. First call may have been excess of 500 m distance, final call may have been 200-300 m distance. Call was quite distinctly made from a large animal. Source of calls and branches breaking/movement thru undergrowth not the same. It was obviously something large that was responsible for the both noise types. Certainly not possum, dog, koala or cow. Not aware of any bird species that can make such vocalisations. Vegetation and topography of riverbank inaccessible to cow, though cattle were present in the area. Environment: As described above. Within 5 km of Blue Mountains Nat'l Pk. Broken forest and open paddocks exist in the immediate area.

Friday, February 15, 2002

Blue Mountains Expedition January 2002

Shortly after the devastating bushfires in the Blue Mountains in January 2002, a short expedition was made by D and M. The area has had plenty of sighting and other activity over the years. Many residents of the streets backing onto the bush in this area have very interesting stories to tell (for further accounts or people's experiences in this area, buy Paul Cropper and Tony Healy's fabulous book "The Yowie").

While no activity was seen during this visit, a very unusual print was discovered (cigarette packet for scale).

Friday, November 23, 2001

Brindabellas Field Trip November 2001

Location: Brindabellas Ranges near Canberra
Aim: to investigate the area surrounding the location of the purported yowie footage of Steve Piper.

The area of the alleged footage of a yowie by Steve Piper is located close to the Cotter Dam outside of Canberra. It is a beautiful area and well known for it's yowie stories over the years. The place of the footage had grown over significantly with blackberry bush by the time I visited. It is dense bush on an out-of-the-way bush road. It is not easily negotiated on foot. It is also within 50 km of the area where I heard some ungodly wailing noises in the bush near Yarrangobilly / Talbingo in 1979. Hence my curiosity to visit the area.

The site of the footage is definitely very attractive - dense bush, lots of wilderness and no people. However, it is curious how the footage has completely diappeared and that the footage that did exist is very short and extremely inconclusive. There are some great inconsistencies in the footage. For example - why were only a few seconds shot when the creature was evidently walking away from the camera? Why did the footage stop when the shape went behind a tree? Anybody in that position would have filmed for as long as possible.


There was a story out around the time of the footage that it was a group of Uni students playing a prank on Mr Piper. However, their story does not match with the area. They claimed to have driven to the next hill then crossed by foot with a gorilla suit, to lie in waiting for Mr Piper to stop in precisely the right place to get footage. None of this is possible since there is no nearby location (the 'next hill') where one can park a car and walk to site of the footage. In addition, the terrain is almost impassible. They would also have to have had a million to one chance that Mr Piper would stop exactly where they wanted. The spot is a completely random spot on one stretch of road.

Of course, the whole thing could have been staged and not a trick ON Mr Piper but BY Mr Piper. This seems to be more likely. If anyone has better information, please email and tell me otherwise. If I have haplessly offended an innocent person, I apologise, but one must approach these things with extreme sceptisicm.


I camped the night down a valley within 1 km of Piper's spot, just off a trail from the main road that led down to a creek and arboretum. During the night, my tent was approached by something, but it sounded like a wombat. At about 1am, a group of 4WD "yahoos" drove past and proceeded to burn around the bush tracks for a few hours. I felt far more threatened by them than by "hairy, putrid-smelling ape-like man-like monsters from the bush"......(to paraphrase another famous yowie investigator.)

Tuesday, December 5, 2000

The "Bucket" Experiment

An interesting experiment was set up by Jerry in the bush in the valley behind his house. After some experiments placing food in their backyard out for their visitors (but never being sure if possums or a yowie took it), an ingenious plan was devised.
Overhanging a small cliff escarpment above the floor of the valley, Jerry hung a black plastic 7" pot (the "bucket") from a branch of one of the local bloodwood trees. The location was specifically chosen because it is the most obvious entry point from the lower valley to the bush above the cliffline, where he believes it accesses the ridge and the houses. The pot was hung with fishing line way out over open air, so nobody could reach it from the ground, and so possums couldn't climb out to get it.

A voice-activated tape recorder was then wrapped in a plastic bag and hidden beneath some leaves in a tree stump, close to the base of the tree. The pot was filled with food (bread rolls). The whole scenario was left for the night. This was tried for many nights.
The recording heard one morning was intriguing. Jerry can clearly be heard making his way back home, calling his cat as he went. Following this, the recorder activated each time one of the regularly scheduled freight trains passed through nearby town, giving us insight into how long the breaks were between recording, and to give a timing for what was to come next.
The first thing heard is a large rustle (steps?) as something approaches the tape recorder. A lot of rustling is heard as whatever it is locates the tape recorder and tears the plastic bag open. The cassette recorder is audibly banged a number of times against something (tree stump?). A few breaks are heard in the recording. Then, a loud plastic "thump" is heard, as the plastic pot is struck (with what?) and can be heard hitting the ground 10 metres below. The remainder of the recording is further trains and the calling if the birds at dawn.
In the morning, the pot was found empty, lying at the bottom of the cliff. The tape recorder was removed from its hiding place and taken out of the plastic bag it was wrapped in. The door of the tape recorder is partly broken.
We can only speculate on the source of the noise approaching the recorder and tearing it out of the bag to strike it against the tree stump. In the same way, we can only guess how the pot was struck so hard as to break the fishing line and send it to the bottom of the cliff. Perhaps it has something to do with the large figure that Jerry and Sue have seen outside their bedroom window.
It is of course possible, that somebody was down in the bush at 1am, found the cassette recorder in the tree stump and removed it (but didn't take it with them), then struck the pot with a large tree limb, retrieving and eating the food within. This seems much more likely than possums. Possums can be ruled out almost surely by listening to the recording, particularly the thumping of the recorder, which was obviously quite strong. If there is interest/feedback from readers, we may copy the recording so it can be heard from this site.
Jerry maintains that the creature that frequents their home is very aware of minute changes in the environment around their house, and would notice such things as a bucket hanging in a tree. It is also possible that the sound of the tape recorder activating or the small red diode that lights up as it records, may have drawn attention to it.



Monday, December 4, 2000

YOWIE FOOTPRINTS & CASTS

Footprints are some of the most difficult evidence to find, yet often the most convincing to the skeptic. Why is this so? Foliage damage, tree bites and eyewitness reports are much harder to "rationalise" as other phenomena, so why the interest in footprints? Perhaps it is the undeniable sensation that footprints imbue with their presence, perhaps also the morphological character that can be gleaned from them.
The photograph above shows a print found in sandy soil, with Jerry's foot as scale. The flat, triangular shape is intriguing, and the toes are visible.

The print in the photo below is more difficult to discern. This is one of the unfortunate side-effects of photography, as the print was quite clear on observation. 3 toeprints were visible, the length of the print was 360 mm, with a width of 150 mm across the toes. Distance between strides was approximately 1.3 metres. The prints were found in mossy grass alongside Jerry and Sue's house in May 2001.
The photograph below shows a cast made from a very clear set of footprints found in a newly created and graded gravel driveway, in another eyewitness' backyard on the other side of the highway from Jerry's house. The shape of the forefoot appears very odd, with a very reduced heel. However, the heel in the cast is smaller than in the actual footprint, due to cave-in of the gravel prior to casting.



Notes on the footprints
Some features of these footprints are interestingly similar to those examined by Dr. Jeff Meldrum of the Idaho State University, USA. (http://www.isu.edu/~meldd/fxnlmorph.html). The first is the great expanse of flat foot, particularly in the forefoot, and the second is the presence in the photograph immediately above of a midfoot pressure ridge. This print look similar also to the footprint photographed by Robert Laverty in 1967 near the location of the famous Patterson-Gimlin bigfoot footage in Northern California (the photo below - credit Lyle Laverty).















Thursday, November 23, 2000

Blue Mountains Cryptid Research group meets

BMCR INCEPTION - TOUR OF JERRY'S VICINITY
In November 2000, a small group of people met at Jerry and Sue's home. The fortnight following, another similar meeting occurred. Those there were Jerry and Sue O'Connor, Mike Hallett, David McBean, Mick and Tracy Meskers, Neil, "Silent Local" and Zsolt Malota. Jerry regaled us with the experiences they have had with the creature around their house (see Jerry and Sue's first experience - at the AYR website
www.yowiehunters.com.au). As well as the famous roaring incident, activity has escalated to include banging on the side of their house and visits to their bedroom window in the dead of night.

Jerry walked the group around his backyard, showing us the damage to trees in the area, bites into tree trunks, and the array of black cotton thread he has strung up in a circle around the backyard, to let him know if any night-time intruders have been visiting.
The group then drove to a road skirting the far side of the valley that Jerry's house is located on. It is this valley that the creature is suspected to use to get up towards town. Looking over the valley, back towards Jerry's house, obscured by the trees, we locate a carcass of a sheep that has bee torn apart and left beside the road. In this area too, Jerry has set up his 7 ft high cotton thread boundary, to know if there has been any movement through this area.
During the time at Jerry's, it was decided to form a collective of people interested in pursuing this phenomenon, to work together to gather evidence and compile some sort of database to better understand what we are dealing with. The information gathered would be communicated via the internet, and be called Blue Mountains Cryptid Research.

Wednesday, October 27, 1999

Blue Mountains Reconnaissance Trip, 27th October 1999


A day-time reconnaissance trip to the lower Blue Mountains area, to look for Yowie evidence, explore the valleys in the direct vicinity to locate where these creatures might sleep, and meet with Neil , who lives in the area.
XXXXXXXX Road and XXXXXXX Creek


I started the day at the end of XXXXX road, where the gate closes the road. In this area there was no fresh evidence of Yowie activity. The sand on the road was fairly moist and would have easily recorded any footprints of yowies crossing or using the road.


I proceeded east along the fire trail, before turning north down towards the creek on a narrow track. Close to the track down the hill towards the creek, damage to two trees was seen and one photographed. I kept going down to the creek, access getting very difficult approaching the creek as there were no man-made trails in the area. Jumping down a short drop onto a fern-covered valley floor, I noticed an area of crushed fern fronds, in a roughly circular pattern approx 2 m across. This area had definitely been disturbed, as there were uncrushed ferns immediately beside this spot. I also thought I heard some distant noises but it was very difficult to tell if I heard movement or the sound of the creek.



I proceeded down the creek for a short way (movement difficult due to overgrown ferns, vines and other grasses, fallen branches etc). There were a number of sandy creek banks, but these were totally undisturbed by anything i.e. no footprints! I reached an intersection with another creek, with a section of rainforest running up the valley, and proceeded upstream. Immediately beside this creek junction I found a flat area of earth where all the tree fern fronds and branches were lying on the ground. This area had definitely been flattened by something. I went further upstream and found a small cave, but it was clear from the tracks that I made getting upstream that nothing had taken my path for some time.



I concluded from this exploration that this particular part of the XXXXXX Creek Valley had not had any very recent yowie activity but the crushed down ferns was quite interesting. I returned up the hill to the fire trail. I continued for a few hundred metres east of where I had left the trail and at one point noted a waft of urine smell. I looked in the bush (reasonably clear there) for any company and saw nothing. The smell seemed to be coming from a deep gulley to the south. To investigate the smell, I went a short way off the path to the south and found a large area where many dead small trees were all pushed flat on the ground. This was quite unusual since in most of this area, the understorey is quite dense.



XXXXXXX Road
This road ends abruptly at a set of powerlines and locked gates. No vehicular access is possible into this area and one would have to jump the fence to enter. This area could be a haven for yowies, since there would be even less access to the area by stray bushwalkers than the previous valley explored. The area is also directly adjacent to the end of the road where countless stories of one particular yowie have come from. Since the yowie in this area is often reported as appearing around dusk, (as told by local residents – later in this report), it is quite likely that it comes from somewhere quite nearby, after sleeping during the day, and a fenced-off reserve would be the ideal location.


I walked north from the end of the road under a cleared area with powerlines overhead, until I reached a creek at the bottom of the valley. I then went bush-bashing through thick swamp-scrub, downstream. Many trails were found through the bush, fewer in the swampy / creek areas. I found a small hollow, which the creek fell into as a waterfall. At the bottom of the hollow was very long grass and this looked like it could be a good nesting area. Getting down into the hollow was quite difficult, although eventually I found a slightly worn trail that went down from a 2 metre ledge. No strong evidence of recent yowie activity was found in this spot.



I struggled for another few minutes downstream and came to a drier section above a high waterfall that prevented me from going any further. On a tree there I found very distinct tree damage, and took a photograph of it. After that, I headed back up the valley. Once reaching the powerlines, I took a short stroll up the valley close to the houses, but considering I was so close to civilisation, thought the chances of stumbling upon a sleeping yowie were slim (which may have proved to be an error – see later in the report).



I then drove around some of the other roads in the area bordering the same section of bush to gain familiarity with the region. The valley is closed on the southeastern side by the main highway.
Later in the afternoon I visited Neil and his partner. The most recent sighting of the yowie was of the eyes in the bush, approximately 2 to 3 weeks earlier, late at night. Neil had numerous stories to tell and Neil could have talked for hours longer than I stayed. At then end of our discussions and looking at a plaster cast of a footprint taken after one encounter, we went to the back of Neil’s house, which opens onto a swampy area of land thick with hakea bushes and reeds. This was the location of many sightings and pursuits of the creature by Neil and many others.


The conversation with Neil resulted in some interesting conclusions:
* The creature has been in the area for at least 10 years
* It is not particularly aggressive except when frightened at close range but has not apparently harmed anyone, but has caused many frights
* It has appeared as early as 4 pm in the swamp to the back of the house, but is usually seen or heard at night.
* Many of the residents in the same street and those across the valley have had encounters or experiences with the creature. Local aborigines are familiar with yowies in the area
* The footprint is rounded with a large sole pad and a strongly elevated arch, with a quite narrow heel. The shape and arrangement of toes suggests that the creature is more like an ape than a human.
* It moves incredibly rapidly.
* It seems very curious.
* It has taken scraps of food left out by Neil.
* Local police have been involved in stake-outs in the area for many weeks after disturbances by the creature
* Despite complicated efforts to photograph it, it still manages to evade photographers. It has been recorded with noise-activated cassette recorders. It has dismantled automatic recording and photographic contraptions set up high in trees by Neil
* Activity lately around Neil’s house has been minimal


Some comments, such as the time of day it has appeared, suggest that where it sleeps is not very far from this street. Despite its incredible running speed, it can be conjectured that it either sleeps actually within the valley bounded by XXXXX Rd and XXXXX Rd, or down the valley towards XXXXXX, within the fenced off area.


Future reconnaissance trips should be focussed on this valley, making passes up from the cleared powerline area to the houses, and perhaps downstream towards XXXXXX. Some time could also be spent on the road past the gate at the end of XXXXXX Rd.


Should the creature become very active again in this area, more night-time vigils could be set up to encourage it to visit this area. If a pattern can be established, then more chance of taking footage of it is likely. If it can be lured to take food from near Neil’s home, then a pattern there could also be set up and some means of capturing it could be devised. If it can be trained into a rough schedule of appearing in a particular place, then a tranquilizer gun could be used to sedate it for capture.


The Yowie phenomenon takes on a peculiar air after this trip. Many people have been laughed at for saying they pursue yowies. However, countless eyewitness accounts cannot be easily discarded. The Yowie undoubtedly exists, whatever it is. Neil postulates that it is probably a kind of large ape-like primate, unknown to modern science, maybe a pongid. Its evasive character prevents capture or well documented encounters (photographs, videos etc). It is expert at navigating the bush and hiding. It is incredibly strong and fast. Even armed with cameras, most close-range encounters with the creature are so terrifying that the observer apparently acts out of self-preservation before thinking to take photographs.


Proving the existence of these creatures to the community at large would require nothing short of physical proof such as a body. For this to occur, some kind of capture would be necessary.


A plaster cast of the footprint made by Neil: