The origins of the yowie (also "Yowie-Whowie" and yahoo) may lie in a mythological character in native Australian Aboriginal folklore. This creature's characteristics and legend are sometimes interchangeable with those of the bunyip. According to some writers, reports of yowie-type creatures are common in the legends and stories of Australian Aboriginal tribes, particularly those of the eastern states of Australia.
Origins of the term
The origin of the term "yowie" in the context of unidentified hominids is unclear. Some nineteenth century writers suggested that it simply arose through the aforementioned Aboriginal legends. Robert Holden recounts several stories that support this from the nineteenth century, including this European account from 1842;
Another story, collected from an Aboriginal source, seems to confirm the creature as a part of the Dreamtime.
“ The natives of Australia ... believe in ... [the]Yahoo ... This being they describe as resembling a man ... of nearly the same height, ... with long white hair hanging down from the head over the features ... the arms as extraordinarily long, furnished at the extremities with great talons, and the feet turned backwards, so that, on flying from man, the imprint of the foot appears as if the being had travelled in the opposite direction. Altogether, they describe it as a hideous monster of an unearthy character and ape-like appearance. ”
On the other hand, Jonathan Swift's yahoos from Gulliver's Travels, and European traditions of hairy wild men, are also cited as a possible source.
“ Old Bungaree a Gunedah aboriginal ... said at one time there were tribes of them [yahoos] and they were the original inhabitants of the country - he said they were the old race of blacks ... [The yahoos] and the blacks used to fight and the blacks always beat them but the yahoo always made away ... being ... faster runners. ”
Nineteenth Century eyewitness accountsIn the 1870s, accounts of ‘Indigenous Apes’ appeared in the Australian Town and Country Journal. The earliest account in November 1876 asked readers; “Who has not heard, from the earliest settlement of the colony, the blacks speaking of some unearthly animal or inhuman creature ... namely the Yahoo-Devil Devil, or hairy man of the wood ...”
In an article entitled “Australian Apes” appearing six years later, a Mr. H. J. McCooey, claimed to have seen an "indigenous ape" on the south coast of New South Wales;
McCooey offered to capture an ape for the Australian Museum for £40. According to Robert Holden, a second outbreak of reported ape sightings appeared in 1912. The yowie appeared in Donald Friend's Hillendiana, a collection of writing about the goldfields near Hill End in New South Wales. Friend refers to the yowie as a species of bunyip. Robert Holden also cites the appearance of the yowie in a number of Australian tall stories in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
“ “A few days ago I saw one of these strange creatures ... on the coast between Bateman’s Bay and Ulladulla ... I should think that if it were standing perfectly upright it would be nearly 5 feet high. It was tailless and covered with very long black hair, which was of a dirty red or snuff-colour about the throat and breast. Its eyes, which were small and restless, were partly hidden by matted hair that covered its head ... I threw a stone at the animal, whereupon it immediately rushed off ...” ”
Contemporary accountsYowie reports have continued to the present day with the trail of evidence following the pattern familiar to most unidentified hominids around the world – i.e., eyewitness accounts, mysterious footprints of hotly-disputed origin, and a lack of conclusive proof. Some recently reported yowie incidents claim that the death and mutilation of household pets, such as dogs, are the result of yowie attacks. Other people claim that the animals' deaths can be attributed to attacks by wild animals such as dingoes.
Rex GilroySince the mid 1970s, paranormal enthusiast Rex Gilroy, a self-employed cryptozoologist, has attempted to popularize the Yowie. He claims to have collected over 3000 reports of them and proposed that they comprise a relict population of extinct ape or Homo species.
- ^ Robert Holden (2001) Bunyips; Australia’s Folklore of Fear. P. 69. National Library of Australia, Canberra. ISBN 0642 107327
- ^ Tony Healy and Paul Cropper (2006) The Yowie: The Search for Australia's Bigfoot, p.6. Anomalist Books, ISBN 1-933665-16-5.
- ^ Anon.(1842)"Superstitions of the Australian Aborigines:The Yahoo" in Australian and New Zealand Monthly Magazine, Vol 1, No 2, February 1842. Cited in Robert Holden (2001) p.47
- ^ William Telfer in R.Mills (ed)(1980) The Walladabah Manuscripts:Recollections of the early days, p.55, cited in Robert Holden (2001) p.76-7
- ^ See Robert Holden (2001) pps.39-49
- ^ Australian Town and Country Journal, 18 November 1876, p.811, cited in Robert Holden (2001) p. 70
- ^ Australian Town and Country Journal, 9 December 1882, p.747, cited in Robert Holden (2001) p. 75
- ^ Robert Holden (2006) p.76
- ^ Friend, Donald (1915-1989). A collection of Hillendiana: comprising vast numbers of facts and a considerable amount of fiction concerning the goldfield of Hillend and environs. Sydney: Ure Smith.
- ^ Robert Holden(2006) p.77-79
- ^ "Yowie may have killed puppy", "ninemsn", 2009-04-21. Retrieved on 2009-04-21.
- ^ Tony Healy and Paul Cropper (2006) p.13
- ^ Shuker, Karl P. N.. "The Alien Zoo". In search of prehistoric animals; Do giant extinct creatures still exist? (1 ed.). Blanchford. p. 189. ISBN 0 7137 2469 2. "Rex Gilroy... collected over 3,000 sightings of a giant hairy creature sighted across the continent."
Below, some historical documents representivng Yowies:
|Australian Wildman, 1790|
Jonathan Swift’s “Gulliver's Travels” (1726) includes a subhuman race called the Yahoos. Hearing the aborigines' fearful accounts of this malevolent beast, nineteenth-century European settlers probably applied the name Yahoo to the Australian creature themselves. Sometime in the 1970s, the term "Yowie" supplanted “Yahoo," for reasons that remain as mysterious as the creature. One possible origin of the newer name is the aborigine word youree, described as a legitimate native term for the hairy man-monster. The Australian accent could easily contort "youree" into "Yowie." The word "Yowie" was also apparently a slang term for the Orang-utan in Victorian England.
- The Yowie is described as being very similar to Bigfoot with a height of six to seven feet tall and a thick black or brown fear covering the entire body.
- Yowie (or "Yowie-Whowie") is also the name of a completely different mythological character in native Australian aboriginal mythology folklore. This version of the Yowie is said to be a bizarre, hybrid beast resembling a cross between a human and an ape with big red eyes on the side of his head, big canine teeth and large fangs. It emerges from the ground at night to eat whatever it can find, including humans. This creature's characteristics and legend are sometimes interchangeable with those of the bunyip.He is bipedal but has been seen running on all four legs at times.
PlaceThe Yowie has been reported primarily in New South Wales, the Gold Coast of Queensland and in the wild bush country of the Moehau Range. In New Zealand, the North Auckland area and the West Coast are its favorite playground.
Sightings and Reports
- Reports of ape-like Yowies go back as far as the 18th Century. The mid to late 19th Century saw a wealth of sightings, most describing a large, gorilla-like creature (albeit usually bipedal), which lived in remote mountainous or forested regions.
- The earliest published reference to the word in its current usage is in Donald Friend's Hillendiana a collection of writing about the goldfields near Hill End in New South Wales. Friend refers to the "Yowie" as a species of "bunyip", an Aboriginal term used to describe monsters said to dwell in many Australian rivers and lakes.
- The first recorded sighting of a Yahoo by a European came in 1881, when an Australian newspaper reported that several witnesses had seen a large baboon-like animal that stood taller than a man. In 1894, another individual claimed to come face to face with a "wild man or gorilla" in New South Wales bush. A 1903 newspaper printed the testimony of a man who said he watched as aborigines killed a Yahoo, which he said looked "like a black man, but covered all over with gray hair."
- In 1912, George Summerell was riding on horseback between Bombala and Bemboka when he saw a strange creature on all fours drinking from a creek. The animal rose up on its hind feet to a height of seven feet and looked at Summerell. Then it disregarded the horseman, finished its drink, and peacefully walked away into nearby woods. The following day, Summerell's friend Sydney Wheeler Jephcott rushed to the scene of the sighting and discovered an abundance of handprints and footprints. Jephcott described the footprints as humanlike but huge, and having only four toes per foot. He said he made plaster casts of the tracks and turned them in to a local university, but there is no record of a scientific analysis being rendered.
- In 1971, a Royal Australian Air Force helicopter carrying a crew of surveyors landed atop Sentinel Mountain, a remote and inaccessible peak. Much to their surprise, the team discovered fresh footprints in mud, much larger than human footprints, in a place where no known biped could possibly be present. Yowie sightings continued steadily throughout the '70s. In 1976, backpackers in New South Wales reported seeing a five-foot female Yowie whose fur stank to high heaven. Also in New South Wales, Betty Gee reported seeing a giant creature covered with black fur outside her home in 1977. Shortly thereafter, her fence was knocked down and large footprints surrounded the scene. A man in the Gold Coast city of Springbrook said that a"big black hairy man-thing" appeared before him while he while chopping wood in 1978. "It just stared at me and I stared back," he said. "I was so numb, I couldn't even raise the axe I had in my hand."
- In 1997, a woman residing in Tanimi Desert was awakened at 3 a.m. by a horrible animal-like noise just outside her bedroom window. When she went out to investigate, she was confronted with an unbearable stench that sent her into the dry heaves, and she saw a seven-foot hairy creature tear through her fence as it made a hasty retreat. The next day, police discovered a number of giant footprints and a somewhat shredded irrigation pipe that had seemingly been chewed upon.
- Self-proclaimed Australian cryptozoologist Rex Gilroy has attempted to popularise the scientific term Gigantopithecus australis for the yowie.[verification needed] He claims to have collected over 3000 reports of them and proposed that they comprise a relict population of extinct ape or Homo species. There is, however, no evidence that Gigantopithecus ever existed in Australia.
- Researchers have likewise scoured Australian aboriginal mythology for evidence of the ape-like Yowie (as oppose to the hybrid creature described above), but definitive references to anything remotely similar are few and far between.
- Friend, Donald "Hillendiana", 1956, Ure Smith, Sydney
- Gilroy, Rex and Heather . Giants from the dreamtime : the Yowie in myth and reality. Katoomba, N.S.W.: Uru publications, 379 p.. ISBN 0957871600.
- Healy, Tony and Cropper, Paul The Yowie: The Search for Australia's Bigfoot, November 2006, Anomalist Books, ISBN 1-933665-16-5.
|The Enigma of Kow Swamp|
Abstract of an article to appear in the Cryptozoology Review :
Recent discoveries relating to the presence of Homo erectus in Java during the late Pleistocene are summarised. The implications of their presence in relation to the colonisation of Australia are explored. A description of Kow Swamp and a brief history of the 'archaic' human fossils discovered there are presented. Is there any relevance to the present day legend of the "Yowie" the article indirectly hints at? Well now, that's the $64,000 question really ...
In Search of Australia's 'Archaic' Humans .
Back in May, 1999, I travelled to Kow Swamp to take some pictures and have a general look around. The story of Australia's "archaics" has me so thoroughly intrigued that I have been collecting the original papers relating to the discoveries and I wanted to view the actual sites for myself. Read the attached article, linked below, to see what I've got so far.
Let me assure interested parties that my approach was strictly on the basis of "looking but no touching". While I have the greatest respect for aboriginal Australians and their ancient culture, I think the question of whether the people found buried here can truly be said to be the ancestors of local indigenes is highly doubtful. However, certain lobby groups appear to have so claimed them and I have no special desire to buy into the argument.
Kow Swamp lies in northern Victoria near the town of Cohuna on the Murray River. It is a large, roughly oval shaped, body of fresh water which supports a rich population of water fowl. Thick marshes make its northern end impenetrable. A snake's idea of heaven, by the look of it. The surrounding country is open farmland, flat as a billiard table from horizon to horizon : we're standing in the Murray River's flood plain after all. The only high ground visible in any direction is Mount Hope, a rocky outcrop a few miles to the south west of Kow Swamp.
The lake's level is maintained by Taylor's Creek, which supplies water from the Murray River: The creek has been extensively reconstructed by irrigation earthworks. Water is drained from the swamp by means of irrigation channels at its western and northern sides and, after supplying irrigation to farms, is returned to the Murray River. Virtually the entire length of the Murray, from Albury to the South Australian border is an irrigation district. The river's water is used and re-used before it reaches the sea.
Why here? We made the trip up here because, beginning in the 1920's and culminating in the 1970's, a series of remarkable palaeoanthropological discoveries were made on the shores of this swamp. Before the coming of Europeans, the Murray Basin supported, by hunter gatherer standards, a dense population of Native Australians. These people are, of course, fully modern humans, Homo sapiens sapiens, the same as the European immigrants. Naturally, aboriginal grave sites are to be found in many places along the Murray.
However, burials have been uncovered in many sites around south eastern Australia whose occupants appear to possess a cranial morphology reminiscent of a much earlier species of humanity, Homo erectus. The remarkable thing about these people is the recent dates attached to such burials: anything from 13,000 up to 6,000 ybp. It means that there was a population living in southern Australia up until comparatively recent prehistoric times who appeared to have retained traits deriving from an ancient human forebear1.
Moreover, the oldest accepted dates relating to the occupation of Australia by modern humans, Homo sapiens sapiens, appear to be in excess of 50,000 years1. Thus we have a paradox here : the "archaic" humans of Australia would appear to be younger than the "moderns".
This is the enigma presented to us by Kow Swamp.
Who were these people? What was their relationship, if any, to Homo erectus? One school of thought holds that they merely represent one end of a spectrum in the morphology of modern aboriginal people. Maybe. That did not seem to be the opinion of the palaeontologists who first described them. Times change. Perceptions accommodate to new realities. I don't really want to get into a political bun fight : go to the link below, download the images and just stand back and look at them. Modern?
Another, even more perplexing, question is - could any of them still be around? Hell, not around Kow Swamp, that's for sure, but ... somewhere? Is the story of Homo erectus and these mysterious archaics truly over? More on that below.
With the help of Thorne's and others' articles1, I located the original dig sites without difficulty. The irrigation bank, below which one of the tool sites is located, has been greatly cut away by wave action. Many large logs have been thrown up on the shore. Obviously, the lake can present quite a different face from the placid aspect it showed us on our visit. Not surprising : the water is shallow and the surrounding country is flat, offering no protection from strong winds. This water body is deceptively tranquil, I'd say. A fishing excursion in a small boat could quickly turn deadly.
In 1975 Wright described excavations performed near the mouth of Taylor's Creek which yielded quartz artefacts in association with the "KS14" burial site. The area has since been greatly rearranged by wave action, exposing large numbers of quartz and granite stones. It was possible to triangulate the original TC 3/1 to TC 3/5 locations following Wright's directions. Many stones had been revealed by wave action. To my untrained eye, the one shown here appeared to be have been artificially worked and possessed of a cutting edge. But whether this or any of the others represented a genuine microlith I'm not really qualified to judge.
Besides, although Wright shows that the pieces were worked at the site, the question of whether they were worked by the same people who buried their dead there is less certain. That means we have no clear proof that Kow Swamp type people were in command of a lithic technology comparable to their "modern" counterparts who inhabited the same district.
Out of Africa?(See NOTE #1)
It is, I hope, a part of general knowledge that the first hominid to make it "out of Africa" was Homo erectus, the type specimen of which was collected in Java in the late 19th century. H. erectus remained a stable form for about a million years. The most recent known survivors held out till a mere 27,000 ybp in islands off the coast of Timor. About 200, 000 ybp, the Neandertals, Homo sapiens neanderthalensis appeared. They are supposed to have have arisen from H. erectus and formed a distinctive group specifically adapted to tolerate the harsh conditions of ice age Europe. The most recent known Neandertal remains date to about 28,000 ybp. [Untrue.Readers of ths blog will have seen purported Neanderthal remains ranging right up to the 1800s]
African Eve ... (See NOTE #1)
If the molecular biologists and the story told by our mitochondrial DNA by are to be believed, about 150,000 ybp, a very special woman lived somewhere in Africa. In her life she may have suffered trauma and heartbreak for all her people and all her people's children died. Well, so one possible scenario goes. But she, and at least some of her children did not die out. They lived on, they went forth from Africa and their descendants took possession the Earth. They are us, Homo sapiens sapiens, and that woman alone was the Mother of our race.
Thus it was that, a mere 30,000 ago, three distinct species, as distinct from modern day races, of humanity inhabited the Earth. However by 10,000 ybp, at the transition from the Pleistocene to the Holocene era, only one kind of human remained : Homo sapiens sapiens, modestly the "double wise man". By the beginning of the Holocene we had spread to all land masses on the planet, save for Antarctica, and, in a few places, were beginning to experiment with farming.
What happened to those others, to our cousins left behind?
For, it seems to me, something truly extraordinary took place at the close of the Pleistocene. The great Ice Age ended, the glaciers melted, seas rose by hundreds of metres and flooded the land. Animals such as mammoths, sabre tooth tigers, diprotodons, the giants which are collectively called the Pleistocene Megafauna, almost all died. And quickly too. All continents felt the holocaust, some catastrophically, others less severely. In North America, the extirpation of the megafauna took place in less than 1000 years, a blink of an eye, geologically speaking. Perhaps even quicker, for the resolution of the fossil beds and C14 dates don't allow us to discriminate more finely.
It's held by some that our forebears out competed, out hunted, out fought and replaced the others, the primitive, slope-headed, beetle-browed, dim-witted ape-men and women who could not compete, who were unfit in the darkest Darwinian sense.
The fact that our own direct ancestors are usually heroically portrayed as high browed, white Anglo-saxon types, if not Protestant then at least blond and Teutonic looking, is taken as a matter of course. Like Aylar and Jondalar in Jean Auel's Clan of the Cave Bear novels. Agreeable flattery regarded as only proper by the self satisfied victors.
The Pleistocene Extinctions But ... what if it's not true that we inherited the world because of our superiority? What if, instead of our agency, the extinction of the others, along with the megafauna, was due to a global climate catastrophe? In that case, we may owe our presence here, today, not to our having the right stuff but to mere good luck. To a few wanderers in the wilderness who, through pure chance, were spared and were able to outbreed the decimated remnants of the cousins.
Admittedly, inheriting the family estate because our brothers and sisters got hit by a truck is rather less flattering than the traditional hero-battling-mammoth scenario. Still, the sheer randomness of the survival stakes is put forward as a serious consideration by respected authorities on evolutionary theory such as S.J. Gould.
The problem of the lost megafauna is two hundred years old, the question of the ape men somewhat less, and the literature, by now, is BIG. I'm not about to contest the various arguments : the interested reader is referred to Quaternary Extinctions3. Suffice it to say, if was only a cosmic lucky dip that saw us prosper, then it's not true that the demise of the others was preordained. They may not have been "unfit" at all. Maybe even, heretical thought, it was a case of the relatively unfit who got lucky while the more deserving got the chop?
The Archaics ...
In palaeoanthropology there exists a loose end : a class of prehistoric people for whom no fancy Latin name has been assigned. They are a class who, by reason of their morphology, appear to stand somewhere between modern humans and H. erectus. And yet they are neither. Nor are they Neandertals. They are the archaics. (NOTE: The appellation Homo heidelbergensis has been gaining in popularity as an inclusive species name for archaic humans.)
The Multiregional Theory of human evolution holds that modern humans arose from H. erectus stock independently in various regions. These palaeontologists hold that the archaics represent a transitional form leading to the same result everywhere. Of course, this is patent nonsense : evolution simply doesn't work that way.
The Single Origin school holds that humans arose at a particular time and place and, from there, spread around the world. The theory draws strong support from studies of the human mitochondrion and has come to be better known as the Out of Africa theory. The molecular biologists claim to have genetic evidence that no interbreeding between modern humans and pre-existing populations of Homo took place as our kind spread to the Earth's four corners. That means the earlier humans must have been displaced and made extinct without issue.
Some palaeontologists, on the other hand, see traces in bones that genetic intermingling did occur. They see the archaics as part of such evidence. Although they adhere to the Single Origin Theory, they take the same artefacts as the Multiregionalists and draw diametrically opposite conclusions. But this is a road down which I shall go no further. See NOTE #1 below.
Could not a few of the others have survived into more recent times? Actually, they were more than cousins, those H. erectus people: they were, in a sense, our parents. Some of them, after all, gave rise to us. Could we and they have interbred? Did some of our kind have children by some of their kind? Would not the fruit of such a union leave identifiable bones in testament? Are such hybrid bones to be found? Would we call such a being an archaic human?
Well, yes. Maybe. Possible hybrid remains are to be found in several places around the globe. One, not so well known, archaic 'homeland' appears to have been southern Australia1. See my article in prep for the Cryptozoology Review for a list of references.
It is clear that, in comparatively recent times, Australia was inhabited by two distinct types of human, one modern looking, the other archaic. Moreover, it now appears more than possible that the Australian continent was colonised by both H. sapiens sapiens and H. erectus1. Could the Australian mainland have seen the hybridisation of two species of Homo to produce the results we see at Kow Swamp and elsewhere?
Archaic Humans Still Living?
More intriguingly, could any such people still be extant? The Kow Swamp remains date to about 13,000 - 9,000 ybp1. The ones from Willandra date to around 6,000 ybp. That's well into Holocene times.
Are there any discoveries with a more recent date than these? It appears there are.
In the 1970s a paper in a French language journal indicated that remains of "archaic" humans found in New Caledonia were a mere 300 years old2. That is to say, it now appears there is documented evidence that archaic humans lingered on into modern times. The question must therefore be asked : if only three hundred years ago in New Caledonia, why not elsewhere up till the present? (I haven't heard how solid the C14 date is on this one yet. If any reader knows more, by all means speak?)
Obviously, the survival of "archaic" humans into the present day, possibly a separate species arisen from intermarriage of our own kind with H. erectus would be of extreme scientific interest. It would also carry the heaviest ethical burden in terms of our behaviour towards them, should they in fact be found still to exist.
Yowie = Living Archaic Human?
OK, let's ask it. Do Yowies exist? Could the so called Yowie be a relict archaic human, possibly a being we know as Homo heidelbergensis? (See NOTE #3 below.)
All I'll say is that a scenario like that is about as unlikely as it's possible to get. This side of the completely impossible, that is. On the other hand, check out the links below. All I know is that sightings of a large, hairy biped in Australian forests are regularly communicated to the general media and to web sites like mine. Inconveniently, not all the reportees can be written off as drivelling ratbags. Tracks are also regularly reported and photographed.
All I will hazard is that if a seven or eight foot tall, hairy dude suddenly popped outa the bushes in front of you, while you were strolling along minding your own business as they say, how would you later describe the event?
So why trouble to write this up if it's all a load of malarkey?
Well, I guess, you never know. Serendip. The Australian region is the only place where scientifically attested remains of relatively recent date have been found which just might have something to say about the unknown hominid phenomenon, a la Bigfoot, the Yeti and the Yowie. The idea outlined here provides the only (more or less!) workable mechanism whereby such a thing could come to pass.
OK, it's a big leap in the dark, (almost) completely unfounded, scientifically dubious (extremely!) and (almost certainly!) utterly ridiculous. All this I know already so please - don't bother to point it out.
But just remember this : if in the unlikely event it ever turns out there really is something to the Yowie legend - you read it first while on the Quest forThylacoleo. Staking my claim is all.
- Australian Hominid Research
- See the attached Article in prep for the Cryptozoology Reviewfor a, more or less, complete list of references relating to Australian archaics and the settlement of the continent by H. sapiens and, possibly, H. erectus
- Stone Artifacts from Kow Swamp, with notes on their Excavation and Environmental Context. R.V.S. Wright, Archaeology & Physical Anthropology in Oceania, Volume X, No. 3, October 1975, pp 161-180.
- 300 yo archaic
humans? l'Homme de Peu: un squellette
"archaique" a Mare (Nouvelle Caledonie). M.J. Dubois, Bulletin de la Societe
d'Etudes Historiques de Nouvelle Caledonie, 27, 1976, pp 34-36.
Click here ARCHAICS.ZIP for a scanned set of JPEGs (ZIP, 600K) of
the article. Copyright is retained by the relevant authors and/or
publishers.NOTE: My thanks to Michel Raynal for alerting me to this
NOTE #1 : When I get the time, and if anyone presses me, I may write up something about multi-regionalism vs Out of Africa. But, really, there's no need. Much has already been written so better leave it lie? NOTE #2 : A book that definitely should be on your shelves is Quaternary Extinctions: A Prehistoric Revolution, Paul S. Martin & Richard G. Klein, eds. University of Arizona Press, Tucson 1984. Available from Amazon.
NOTE #2A : One that I'd recommend for an overview of human evolution is The Fossil Trail by Ian Tattersall. Available from Amazon.
NOTE #3 : The appellation Homo heidelbergensis was, I think, proposed by the noted palaeoanthropologist Ian Tattersall as a catch-all species name for those hominids dating from after about 500 kybp who are neither H. sapiens, nor H. neanderthalensis nor H. erectus. In other words for the archaics. The trouble is that the term is then inclusive of beings who, in all likelihood, were the ancestors of modern H. sapiens, as well as others who assuredly were not. It is a group that shows a lot of variability for a single species. Rather too much I'd say. There is also the time frame of half a million years to take account of.
For example, the Jebel Irhoud 1 cranium may well belong to an ancestral human. But what about utterly weird looking creatures such as the Petralona specimen? At a date of possibly 400 kyb, it can't belong in the sapiens line, if the Out-of-Africa school is correct, and it can't represent a hybrid between sapiens and erectus either. A line of erectus morphing into neanderthalensis maybe? Whatever the case, it's obvious that archaics dating from before, say, 150 kyb don't represent sapiens/erectus hybrids. If outside Africa they can only be be representatives of populations diverging from erectus stock. Diverging into what, though? Not modern sapiens, that's for sure.
On the other hand, what can we say about archaics who date from after the time when H. sapiens were in the world? Those who lived more recently than about 150 kyb that is?
MORE REFS :
Multiregional Evolution: the Fossil Alternative to Eden. In: The Human Revolution: Behavioural and Biological Perspectives on the Origins of Modern Humans, edited by P. Mellars and C.B. Stringer. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh. pp. 62-108.
Wolpoff, M.H., A.G. Thorne, J. Jelínek, and Zhang Yinyun 1994 The Case for Sinking Homo Erectus. 100 Years of Pithecanthropus is Enough! Courier Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg 171:341-361.
Hawks, J., S-H. Lee, K. Hunley, and M.H. Wolpoff 2000 Bottlenecks and Pleistocene Human Evolution. Molecular Biology and Evolution 17(1):2-22.
Wolpoff, M.H., J.D. Hawks, D.W. Frayer, and K. Hunley 2001 Modern Human Ancestry at the Peripheries: A Test of the Replacement Theory. Science 291:293-297.
This work is copyright. Copyright is retained by artists whose works are displayed herein. Persons whose works are quoted are in no way associated with the opinions or hypotheses expressed herein. Apart from any use permitted under the Copyright Act, 1968, Commonwealth of Australia, and any or all succeeding Acts of Parliament or Regulations or International Treaties or Covenants pertaining thereto, no part may be reproduced by any process, or any other exclusive right exercised, without permission from Debbie Hynes. Copyright © 1999 to Debbie Hynes. All rights reserved. URL : http://www.thylacoleo.com
Occultopedia entry on Yowies:
Alternatively known as Yoser, Tjangara, Yay-ho, Koyoreowen (southern Australia), Jimbra, Jingera, Turramulli, and Lo-an (western Australia).
Yet another cousin of the Bigfoot, this time from down under.
Reports of a Sasquatch like creature are also numerous throughout Australia, ever since European settlers first entered the continent. Before the coming of the settlers, Yowie sightings were made by the Aborigines and remembered in their folklore.
An earlier name for the creature was 'Yahoo', which according to some accounts was an aborigine term meaning "devil", "devil-devil" or "evil spirit." More likely, the indirect basis for the name was Jonathan Swift, whose Gulliver's Travels book (1726) includes a subhuman race named the Yahoos. Learning of the aborigines' fearful accounts of this malevolent beast, nineteenth-century European settlers in all probability applied the name Yahoo to the Australian creature themselves. The term "Yowie" stared to be used in the 1970's, apparently because of the aborigine word 'Youree', or 'Yowrie', apparently the legitimate native term for the hairy man-monster. One can easily assume the Australian accent could distort "Youree" into "Yowie."
Sightings of the Yowie have taken place mostly in the south and central Coastal regions of New South Wales and Queensland's Gold Coast. In fact, according to local naturalist Rex Gilroy, the Blue Mountain area west of Sydney is home to more than 3,200 historical sightings of such creatures. In December 1979, a local couple (Leo and Patricia George) ventured into the region for a quiet picnic. Suddenly, they came across the carcass of a mutilated kangaroo; moreover, said the couple, the apparent perpetrator was only forty feet away. They described a creature at least ten feet tall, and covered with hair, that stopped to stare back at them before finally disappearing into the brush
Jonathan Swift's Yahoos from Gulliver's Travels (Possibly intended to be placed where Australia actually is, the geography is vague and could also mean South Africa or South America) This is the description from Wikipedia:
A Yahoo is a legendary being in the novel Gulliver's Travels (1726) by Jonathan Swift.
Swift describes them as, filthy and with unpleasant habits, resembling human beings far too closely for the liking of protagonist Lemuel Gulliver, who finds the calm and rational society of intelligent horses, the Houyhnhnms, far preferable. The Yahoos are primitive creatures obsessed with "pretty stones" they find by digging in mud, thus representing the distasteful materialism and ignorant elitism Swift encountered in Britain. Hence the term "yahoo" has come to mean "a crude, brutish or obscenely coarse person".
American frontiersman Daniel Boone, who often used terms from Gulliver's Travels, claimed that he killed a hairy giant that he called a Yahoo.
Below, two illustrations of Swift's Yahoos.
Below, a couple of stills from "Yowie" videos
by jim vanhollebeke 2002
The controversial Pintubi-1 skull of Australia (pictured above) is a paradox of paleoanthropology. As a hominid fossil, its so young that it has been assigned to a tribe that survived into the last century. A modern aboriginal skull. Yet its morphology could be described as archaic. The skulls history is shrouded in mystery (not unlike others from the down under). Even without documentation, its age and Australoid identity are indisputable. The man it inhabited lived An anthropologic paradox very recently (in paleo-terms), likely in the 1800s or later. It is in perfect condition and shows no signs of antiquity. The skull was discovered or obtained around 1905 near the lower Darling River in New South Wales, Australia. Beyond that, all we are able to determine is that it is said to be a large adult 50 year old male from the Pintubi tribe.
The last of the Pintubis (also called Bindaboos) surrendered their nomadic Stone Age life styles in the 1960s. They were probably the final example of unaltered stone age culture in Australia. They were an incredible people who could live under the most unlivable conditions ever encountered by humanity. Their culture, simple at first glance, was incredibly complex as was their intimacy with their surroundings.
Scientific speculation of Australian aboriginal ancestry has lately gotten bogged down with the Out of Africa vs. Multiregional Evolution debate. Almost universally accepted is the Out of Africa theory which states that fully modern man emerged out of Africa only 100,000 years ago, spreading across the globe and wiping out the (obsolete) archaic humans. Out of Africa insists that early human species such as Homo erectus and Neanderthal became extinct - evolutionary dead ends - and had nothing to do with the development of Homo sapiens. That we are, therefore, all descended from this recent wave of African humanity.
The not so popular multi-regional counter theory suggests many regional pockets of gradual evolution throughout the old world with emerging races or groups of humanity - groups that would remain closely related through constant migratory or cross fertilization. This globular gene flow would keep the entire group together as it evolved over millions of years.Employing the multiregional scenario for the origin of the Australians, scientists have used fossils to demonstrate a continuity beginning with Asias classic Java man through Ngandong (Solo Man), Wadjak and on to Austalias present aborigines.
Much of the evidence for tracing them back to South East Asia and all the way back to the extinct Indonesian archaics has been the cache of recent fossils in Australias Kow Swamp locale. They were initially described as very reminiscent of Javan Homo erectus. But a strong case was made of the likelihood that artificial deformation was responsible for their seemingly robust and primitive appearance. Even though many of the specimens did NOT show signs of deformation, they all became tainted with the label and were relegated to an area of relative unimportance. The fact that these Kow Swamp bones were estimated to be only 20-30,000 years old added to their seeming incongruity, the vintage being much too young.
And of course, a sensitivity to racial considerations made the subject all the more difficult if not taboo.
Only recently has sensational evidence come to light that may force scientists to re-examine this issue and tilt the scales on this human evolution debate.
Briefly these developments are:
- In the last couple years, it has been established that the Solo River (Ngandong,Java) variety of late Homo erectus may have survived to as a mere 30,000 y.a.(years ago) in Java. It had previously been thought to be extinct for a hundred thousand years or longer. This prompts the revelation that Homo erectus and Homo sapiens could have existed on Earth (and in the same region) simultaneously.
- Prehistoric cave paintings have been discovered at Australias Jinmium . Some tests indicate they might be 120,000 years old. Australia had previously been thought to be inhabited by humans for perhaps 40,000 years.
- Traces of what have been perceived to be man made fire have lately been documented and dated at 100-150,000 years.
- New regional testing of human mitochondrial DNA has indicated that the oldest sequences or versions of the human gene are coming out of Asia and Australia (not Africa as expected) with dates of 200,000 years ago.
The sum of these addendums would indicate human habitation in Australia before the wave of African humanity could possibly have gotten there. It also indicates that Homo erectus may be the first sea farer by forging the strait from Asia to Australia ( if Man inhabited Australia 200,000 y.a., Homo Erectus was the only model available!).These stated developments are not fully tested but are certainly sending a buzz through the paleo-anthro community.
All this, coupled with the fact that occasional Kow Swamp characteristics are still observed in some present day aborigines lends credence to the argument that the multiregional S.E. Asian ancestry scenario has renewed validity. The evidence is intriguing.
The subject skull, modern in age, yet archaic in structure is a relevant example and deserves the following brief description.
Even if a pathological oddity it would demand attention but an anthropologist at the University of Michigan assures us that this is not the case and that this specimen isn't that unusual.The present proprietor of Pintubi-1 (Canovan Researchs designation) for study is not known. An excellent cast was supplied by Bone Clones Inc. (http://www.boneclones.com/) for this description.Description: Excepting its missing teeth, the skull is complete and quite robust. Quite long and somewhat low, its general measurements include a total length of 8 ¼, by 5 ¼ in width, and a height of 8 ¼. The moderately low vault has a marked frontal slope with a well developed saggital keel along the midline. Despite the dramatic contours, there is no hint of artificial cranial deformation. Although cranial capacity remains unmeasured, the vault appearance doesnt indicate anything of obvious note with the possible exception that it appears large. A nearly unbroken but fairly well developed supraorbital torus is very evident. Its development and prominence is complete over the nasal area (medially) but has a more gracile lateral portion. Also notable is the distinct nuchal torus (occipital bun) at the rear area of neck muscle attachment. Measured horizontally, it is a good 3 ½ and very pronounced with much expansion at the center. Above the torus is a well defined groove. There is some thickening and angulation at the temporal lines. The pentagonal shape of the vault from the rear is quite remarkable. This same view does not show an obvious maximum vault width at the top or at the bottom but callipers give a slight edge to the bottom (5 vs. 4 ¾).
Top view indicates a well defined post orbital constriction (calipers indicate 3 5/8 front vs. 4 ¾back).
Orbits are quite square and nasals are recessed at base as in typical australoid morphology. The zygomatic flare is very wide and pronounced. And the nasal aperture is notably broad.
The face is large, wide and forward projecting (prognathic) with very large maxilla. The palate measures 2 7/8 in width x 2 ¾ long (roughly equivalent to pithecanthropus IV). By comparison, our (pictured) typical Euro-male sample measured 2 3/8wide x 1 ¾ long. All teeth are exceedingly worn but massive. The molars are exceptionally huge. Most upper teeth are present. They include all 6 molars, the 2 right pre-molars, left canine (massive but worn at line of occlusion), 1 lateral right incisor heavily worn, and 2 partial but heavily worn central incisors. There does not appear to have been any diastema (gap) between canine and incisor.
Mandibular (lower jaw) teeth consist of all 6 left and right molars, 1 left rear pre-molar, and 1
right) canine. All intact and all radically worn at occlusion. All four lower incisors are absent. In both lateral views, there is an obvious gap between the third molar and the front of the ascending ramus. Ramus of mandible is moderately wide but somewhat gracile when considering the robusticity of the general skull. Mental eminence (chin) is moderately weak with minimal forward projection.
Although we are describing differences that might seem to approach speciation, we must remember that these are differences in grade only.
Affinities suggested by these descriptions are all Homo sapiens, to be sure. Let no misinterpretation be made here.
There is, however, enough variance from the norm to suggest some carry-over morphology from earlier or archaic anscestry. A continuity or link to the past, as it were.
The link might be inferred to the influence of robust hominids of late Pleistocene Asia. The obvious candidate for this backward probe would be the aforementioned Homo erectus Soloensis of Ngandong, Java.
In a previous investigation, I was able to inspect casts of 2 calvarias - a 20,000 year old Australian aborigine (WLH-50) and an Indonesian (Ngandong, Java) Homo erectus Soloensis and was amazed at their nearly identical proportions.A picture is worth a thousand...
This same Javan Ngandong sample will be shown in the photo section for comparison to Pintubi-1.
The photographs are the meat of this essay. They are the evidence that allow the reader to make his/her comparisons and judgements.
And so ...
Is this skull an argument for gene flow and continuity pointing back to ancient Java?
It would seem so for this writer.
It is hoped that the scientific community will fully recognize the data discussed here.
Perhaps an official and full description of Pintubi-1 can be published.
We are graced by a unique, endangered, and valuable people in once isolated Australia.
They have always deserved better. As they return to their dreamtime, one would hope they finally receive recognition and dignity.
http://www.canovan.com/HumanOrigin/PINTUBI-1/PINTUBI-1.htmBates, Daisy : The Passing of the Aborigines, 1938, London:John Murray
Baker, John R. : Race, 1974, Oxford University Press, NY
Barnes, Dan, CNN : Recent Dates for Javanese Homo Erectus. Internet Internet:
Coon, C.S. : The Origin of Races, NY: Knopf, 1962
Day, Michael H. : Guide to Fossil Man, 1986, University of Chicago Press
Dubois E. : The Proto-Australian Fossil Man of Wadjak, Java. Koninklijke Akademie van Wetenschappen te Amsterdam B 23:1013-1051
Howells, William W.: The Pacific Islanders, NY, Scribner, 1973
Jones R., Stringer C., and others : BBC-Horizon, Out of Asia (Programme Transcript)
Lockwood, Douglas: The Lizard Eaters,(Pintubi culture), Cassel Melbourne, 1964.
Thorne, AG and Macumber P (1972) Discoveries of Late Pleistocene Man at Kow Swamp, Australia. Nature 238:316-319
Tindale, N.B.: N.B. Tindale's Aboriginal Tribes of Australia (1974)
Vanhollebeke, Jim: Kow Swamp, A Counterpoint. 1998 Internet article:
Vanhollebeke, Jim: Australia's Unique Survivors. A Photo Essay.
Wolpoff, Milford: Paleoanthropology, 1980, Alfred A. Knopf, N.Y.
Wolpoff, Milford H., 6th.: Journal of Human Evolution Vol. 39 No.1, 7-2000, An Australasian Test of the Recent African Origin Theory Using the WLH-50 CalvariumAn excellent and extensive glossary of terms is provided by ArchaeologyInfo.com