Putitive Nandi Bear Skull from a sale of the effects of an African estate. Please note that it is plainly marked as saying "Tanzania" as the place of origin right on the skull itself.
American Brown Bear Skull for Comparison
Message #425 of 6785
Tue Jan 16, 2007 4:19 pm
Dave Francazio wrote:
...But honestly I don't see how the evidence for the Nandi Bear points to a chalicothere.
Captain Hichens says that the Nandi Bear howls. (and has a distinct howl)
Although we will never know if the chalicothere of the Pleistocene howled, we can suspect it didn't since one more closelys associates howling with canines rather than ungulates.
The Spoor of the Nandi Bear-"there is a body of evidence that this astounding beast leaves a pug-mark with six pads and six claws showing on each paw "
Chalicothere have three toes, not 6.
Also, descriptions of the Nandi Bear do not match the reconstruction in Janis' article. Hichen describes the Nandi Bear as similar to a "lioness, later, a side-view of its head gave the impression of a snout, the head being very large, while the beast stood very high forward, 4 ft. 3 ins. to 4 ft. 6 ins. at the shoulder. "The back," they say, "sloped steeply to the hindquarters and the animal moved with a shambling gait which can best be compared with the shuffle of a bear. The coat was thick and dark brown in colour."
Now the Chalicothere depicted in Janis' article is larger than this and is not similar in body shape to a lioness. It seems more likely that they are describing a variation of hyaena. When she mentions the tail, i think she is talking about a long fluffy tail which Saint Peter's "wolf" does have. Although Captain Hichens makes no mention of a tail, another explorer Geoffrey Williams explicitly says that the creature had no tail.
Chalicotheres are also herbivorous and do not seem particularly fierce. Yet, Hichens does state that the Nandi Bear has the tendency to "to lie up in trees and, waylaying natives passing on the track below, to reach down a hairy paw and rip open their skulls." This reminds me of a leopard bringing its prey up into trees.
The only real piece of evidence that links the Nandi Bear with the Chalicothere is the sloping back. Correct?
Most sightings of the Nandi Bear seem to be at night which would make it nocturnal (making it harder to catch.) Now do leopards attack villages at night?
Here is what I have for characteristics of the Nandi Bear:
4'-5' tall at the shoulder
Walks With a shuffle
Six Pads and Six Claws in the Spoor.
[Presumably the marks of six pads and six toes indicates a composite track with the mark of the hind foot stepping into the print of the forefoot-DD]
Nandi Bear's Track
Message #426 of 6785
Tue Jan 16, 2007 5:09 pm
Dale Drinnon wrote:
Actually, I do not consider the Chalicothere a good
match for the Nandi bear. When the native said "that
is the Chemosit you are describing", "Chemosit" is
about the same as "monster, or even "Boogeyman".
I have seen the alternate account where 5 claws are
mentioned, and in fact I recently posted a message on
the subject which mentioned a track with three claws
on it (but like a big dog's pawprint)
Personally, I do see evidence for an ASIATIC
Chalicothere as Janis says, but the curious thing is,
it may have survived in Africa and then went back to
Asia as she suggests. This is the "Clawed horse"
type, and yes, that does sound better (you will notice
that I was using the Moropus "Big Hyena" bodyshaped
chalicothere as my reference there because that was
the more recent ASIATIC type.)
As to the Nandi bear itself, I think that the big
shortfaced hyend that Shuker suggested is a strong
candidate. But as I also mentioned recently, one of my
photo searches turned up what was said to be a recent
BEAR skull from Tanzania, and that made it also possible
to say once again that we really are talking about a
BEAR as a candidate.
Best Wishes, Dale D.
Quote Message #380 of 6785, Thu Jan 11, 2007 8:41 am
On one of my photo searches I found what was presented as a bear
skull from Kenya[Actually Tanzania, and the photo still retains the record that it was posted on December 15, 2006-DD]. This basically set me to thinking that Heuvelmans had been arguing all around the obvious solution, that the Nandi Bear actually WAS a bear. Certainly the first description by Geoffrey
Williams in 1905 sounds exactly like a bear, and the tracks are
closer to bear tracks than anything elser, although somewhat
schematically drawn. The tracks at theMagadi railway were also
backed up by a report by Hickes also sounds more than unusually close
to a bear.
It is also tempting to draw a parallel between the relationship of
the actual reports/the animal itself and the exaggerated stories told
about the Chemosit To the Europeans' actual experience of bears as
contrasted to the stories of Bogey Bears (Bugbears)Furthermore, it
fights with its forepaws and takes swipes at people with those big
claws that can rip the tops of their heads open: no other candidate
comes close to matching that behavior.
In Roman times, bears like typical European brown bears were
evidently known and reported in Ethiopia. The Khodumodumo of the
Transvaal in South Africa also seems to be related to the Nandi bear
(On The Track, page 259 of my edition)And its tracks, like Hichen's
tracks described just prior to the reference, are foot-wide FOREPAW
prints with long nonretractile claws: this would almost have to be a
big bear's forepaw, since, as the witnessed noted, no lion ever had
tracks like that. (Hichen's tracks were partial and reported as three-
toed, but also as "Spade-shaped and turned-in, a bearlike trait" The
claws were two inches long at least) So there is some reason to
suspect that if it IS a bear, at one point in Historical times it
ranged down the entire length of East Africa.
Saying this, it is not necessary that ALL the "smaller bearlike"
reports are of dark-colored ratels: they could really also be the
younger Dubas.["Duba"=Bear in Arabic and hence in Swahili]
Zoo Bear, Comparable to the Oldest Nandi Bear sightings.
The original site where I got the photo is still up but unfortunately it is apparently mined: my computer refuses to go there because of the threat of infection by viruses. But I did find reference to the discussion as it had been going on at one of the Cryptozoology discussion boards:
Subject: Re: Brown Bear in Africa?
From: Mngwa posted Sun, Nov 13 2005, 9:12pm
Thanks. I’m having trouble making out individual teeth. I stuck your pics in Photoshop and had too much interference from pixellation to achieve greater detail. If I’m making the teeth out right, however, it appears that there are only 3 or 4 teeth (molars and premolars) visible in the upper skull and I can only discern 2 or 3 in the bottom. The premolars also appear to be highly developed. This would be consistent with a lion’s dentition pattern of incisors 3/3, canines 1/1, premolars 3/2 and molars 1/1, for a total of 30 teeth and the development of shearing premolars for a carnivorous lifestyle. Brown bears have less-developed, flatter premolars and a dentition pattern of incisors 3/3, canines 1/1, premolars 4/4, molars 3/2, for a total of 42 teeth. Note, there has been some variation in number of premolars documented among individuals of Ursus arctos, but a bear would still have more teeth than a lion. The dental formula can be determined by dividing the skull in the middle, and starting at that symmetrical midpoint, count the teeth moving backwards. Each type of tooth is counted individually, with top teeth being the number in front of the slash. I can easily make out the incisors (3 top/3 bottom) and the canines (1 top/1bottom) from your original picture. You could finish the equation yourself simply by counting the top and bottom teeth from the canines (not including the canines) backwards on one side. If you have 7 premolars and molars, it’s probably a lion, 11-13 and it’s probably a brown bear.
Does the jawbone separate from the top of the skull? If so, how about a picture of the top portion, like you’re taking a picture of the roof of the mouth? I wanted to get a look at the bullae. Felids have large, divided bullae, while ursids have smaller ones. I can’t make out the bullae from the pics you’ve posted.
Subject: Re: Brown Bear in Africa?
From: Barrett posted Sun, Nov 13 2005, 11:15pm
Thank you for your input. I,ve posted the pictures you requested. I hope they are sufficient. Sharon
Subject: Re: Brown Bear in Africa?
From: Mngwa posted Tue, Nov 15 2005, 8:01am
Exactly what I wanted to see, I'm comfortable saying that it is indeed a bear skull. Lion skulls average in the 14" range, give or take depending on which expert or source you quote, so I initially thought it was a bear. Then I was cross-referencing my literature with various websites, and stumbled across a site that discussed some large lion skulls over 16", and 17 3/4" didn't seem quite impossible, especially with a possible origin in Tanzania, where there aren't supposed to be any bears. I won't ask for any more pictures now, Sharon! :)
Quoted from your post below:
...the skull was originally part of an estate sale. It was reported that the signing of the skull took place in Africa. The identifacation as being a lion skull was probably assumed; related to its African origin. We ~ having reason to believe it is from Africa due to the estate having other African artifacts.
Interesting, I'm assuming this estate sale was here in the states, and not in Tanzania? Do you know anything about the individual whose estate you acquired the skull from? That may tell you a lot. To be perfectly honest with you, I have to wonder if at some time during the history of the skull the date and location were added to con the unsuspecting. Throw it in with a few African artifacts in place of a real lion skull, I suspect the average art/artifact collector wouldn't know the difference. Then again, I tend to be pessimistic about human nature.
There are several other ideas about how a bear skull ended up in Africa, or at least coming from Africa, posted over the course of the thread. You've been quiet on the matter, what is your take on it?
Best wishes, Dale D.