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Sunday, 12 February 2012

West Indian "Devils" [Yahus]

I was doing research on Megafauna extinctions and I came across this reconstruction of a Puerto Rican ground sloth. Despite that name, it seems to have spent time both in the trees and on the ground. In life it was supposed to be a few times larger than the living sloths and about the size of a small ape like the Siamang, and standing about thrree feet tall upright. It was a small Mesonychid ground sloth. In older posts about surviving groundsloths I mentioned that several of the West Indies forms survived up into the time of the European colonials because the Europeans ate them-we find their bones in European middens, which are recognisably different than the native ones and include introduced species such as domesticated swine.

In my opinion this small form is what is reported as a "Dwarf" or "Wildman" on many of the West Indies and apparently even on Bimini, where it is called by names that are variations on "Yahus" or "Yehos", said to translate as "Devils" and said to be an African word used by slaves. Such reports are commonly of small apelike creatures about three feet tall but armed with large claws. There are reports on them also on some of the larger islands such as Cuba, Hispaniola and Trinidad: and I have reason to suspect they are at the base of some "Chupacabras" cases.

This was the first reconstruction I saw of one that did not include the tail. That would be important because the reports I have heard never mention any tail either. Some of the larger islands also mention a larger form of persisting groundsloth, one similar to a smallish bear or about twice the size of this one. Those reports would include ones from Cuba definitely, and are possible elsewhere but I have no direct confirmation of anywhere else. The larger ones correspond generally to Oren's version of Mapinguari as a groundsloth although in that case the more apelike creature has a better chance of matching the reports. However, I do not rule out the presence of the "Bearsized" creature in the Amazon rain forest, it is just a trickier propsition there because of confusion with other Cryptids.

Best Wishes, Dale D.
Source: George Eberhart's Mysterious Creatures, Articles "Yahoo" "Yeho" "Mapinguari" and others.

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