Posted by: Loren Coleman on April 23rd, 2006
Is Manimal More Man Than Animal? by Dmitri Bayanov © 2006 International Center of Hominology Moscow, Russia
It is said that the significance of a scientific theory can be measured by the time it impeded scientific progress. Let’s hope the “ape model” theory won’t go down in history as very significant in this respect. Still it plays a major part in causing the Bigfoot research community to turn the blind eye to the Carter Farm case and the book 50 Years with Bigfoot: Tennessee Chronicles of Co-Existence.
In my opinion, after this book business as usual is not on the cards for hominology. The idea that the North American homins may be people is coming full circle, from the reports of J. W. Burns and Albert Ostman of Sasquatch in British Columbia to Janice Carter Coy’s story of Bigfoot in Tennessee. Should the idea be confirmed, all our books will turn into short introductions to the subject, while 50 Years with Bigfoot will become the first text-book in hominology. Admittedly, its drawback and limitation are in the fact that the authors are lay persons, not scientists. Let’s hope that a second or a third text-book will be authored by diplomaed hominologists. In the meantime many thanks should go to John Green for publishing Albert Ostman’s story and to Mary Green for publishing the story of Janice Carter Coy.
While mainstream science is turning its back on hominology, primatologists lost no time in altering the meaning and taxonomic level of such useful terms as “hominoid” and “hominid”. “When scientists use the word hominin today, they mean pretty much the same thing as when they used the word hominid twenty years ago. When these scientists use the word hominid, they mean pretty much the same thing as when they used the word hominoid twenty years ago. (…) If you’re more confused now than you were before, you are just about where you should be. We scientists really need to clean up shop in this area” (Thomas M. Greiner, Associate Professor of Anatomy/Physical Anthropology, “What’s the difference between hominin and hominid?”).
But this muddle of terminology doesn’t concern the problem we’re discussing here. And the banter about “naked apes” and “hairy apes,” mentioned by Loren Coleman in his book, is good only for fiction, not science.
There are two notions and terms in science, which have not changed their meaning so far: “human primate” and “nonhuman primate”. Russians and Americans are human primates, chimps and gorillas are primates nonhuman. The clear question, in need of a clear answer, is this: What kind of primate are such homins as Bigfoot — human or nonhuman? My answer is this: If they have a language as mentioned by Albert Ostman and described by Janice Carter Coy, they are definitely human (let us recall that back in the 18th century Linnaeus proclaimed two kinds of man: Homo sapiens and Homo troglodytes). I would hold this true even if the words of their language are largely borrowed from Homo sapiens. How this could have happened is another question and mystery.
If they don’t have what can be called human language, then they must be nonhuman primates on the threshold of humanness. This judgment is based on the independent evidence of those who claim to have seen or even interacted with Sasquatch, and dared voice their unpopular accounts and opinions even if they are at loggerheads with the prevailing opinions and theories of those who have never seen these hairy bipeds.
Hominology came into being in a no-man’s land of science between zoology and anthropology. It has been shifting ever since from the zoological side of the area to the anthropological side. Accordingly, there is reason for hominologists to be shifting from cryptozoology to what could be called cryptoanthropology. Frankly speaking, I’ve always felt that the partnership between hominology and cryptozoology is a marriage of convenience rather than of love and mutual understanding. It has been good for cryptozoology and, under the circumstances, good for hominology, but for the latter not good enough. And this because the partnership relegated hominology to pure zoology, concealing its paramount anthropological and philosophic aspects. The International Society of Cryptozoology and its good journal let hominology down by completely ignoring hominology’s major asset, the Patterson/Gimlin film, and one of its major problems, the Iceman. This was so because the Society and its journal were fully focused on “mere animals” and zoology, while the majority of academic cryptozoologists found it too risky for their reputations to plunge into hominology. What world science and humankind itself badly need, without realizing it, is The International Society of Hominology and its journal, Current Hominology.
Finally, let me remind you of these words by Grover Krantz: “It might be argued that we don’t really know enough about Sasquatch behavior to be absolutely certain about this judgment as to its animal status. But if we are in error, isn’t it imperative that we find out as soon as possible?” (Big Footprints, p.12) .
Find out how? By killing one of them? No way! To find out the truth as soon as possible we would need a repeat of the Ostman adventure, but with an anthropologist, says Dr. Jeff Meldrum, in the shoes of Albert Ostman.
© 2006 Dmitri Bayanov International Center of Hominology Moscow, Russia