Sasquatch Coffee


John Green: Bipedalism in Higher Primates

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on February 9th, 2013

John Green, legendary sasquatch researcher and author of “Sasquatch: The Apes Among Us”, sent the following out by email yesterday:

“Although it appears to have been overlooked by all media for several years the material presented below will inevitably become one of the greatest news stories of the century.

———————

Sometimes it pays to be not a scientist.

Dr. Aaron Filler, in his 2007 book “The Upright Ape,” presented ample evidence that all higher primates have been bipedal, walking upright on two feet, for over 20 million years.

You don’t have to be a spine surgeon, which Dr. Filler is as well as being a PhD anthropologist, to see that a fossilized lower back vertebrae from an African site dated at 21 million years is almost identical to the corresponding vertebrae of a modern human.

Although there are fossil bones, and fossil footprints, showing that primitive higher primates throughout the ages have walked upright, and there are no fossils that suggest that any were quadrupeds, scientists who have been taught, and teach, that human ancestors invented bipedalism after they came down from the trees and split off from the chimpanzees do not seem able to get the message.

In a special edition of Scientific American dated Winter 2013 and titled “What Makes Us Human” none of the 16 authors showed any awareness of Dr. Filler’s book, and several had things to say based on the old mistaken consensus.

But are not chimpanzees quadrupeds? They are plainly trying to be, but they can not really do it because they have the spines of upright animals. With their backs at an angle of about 45% they get around very well using the knuckles of their hands for front feet but they can not ever be normal quadrupeds because their spines do not have the proper attachments to keep them from buckling under load in a horizontal position.

And what Dr. Filler does not say, even though he has presented the facts that establish it, is that there is now no shred of evidence that recent human forbears ever lived in trees.

To quote something that Dr. Filler does say, most eloquently: “In questioning and rejecting scientific orthodoxy, no mass of credentials will convince a spurned scientist that he or she should give way and accept that they have spent a career believing, teaching, and publishing in error.”

——————

Two thirds of Dr. Filler’s book presents an historical overview and then outlines a new look at the origin of species which will undoubtedly be controversial, but the material regarding the origin of human bipedalism contained in the last two chapters is simple to understand and rock-solidly based on physical evidence.

And an interesting sidelight to the proof that all higher primates have been bipeds:

Until perhaps as recently as 100,000 years ago there lived in China, as established by three fossil lower jaws and a thousand fossil teeth, a giant ape twice the size of a gorilla. Since as a higher primate it must have been upright it matches perfectly the huge, very heavy, manlike footprints which human ingenuity is unable to duplicate, and the immense hair-covered bipeds that thousands of people claim to have seen in Canada and the United States.

It follows that the many people who investigate Bigfoot/Sasquatch reports need to realize that their quarry isn’t likely to be some unknown creature sure to be a close human relative because it walks upright, but a proven animal that lived near the land bridge to North America and that already has a scientific name, Gigantopithecus blacki.”

~ John Green

About Craig Woolheater
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster.


15 Responses to “John Green: Bipedalism in Higher Primates”

  1. Sebastian Wang via Facebook responds:

    I still don’t think that one can predetermine the origin of bipedalism based on fossil spinal columns. I think all Pleistocence Hominoidea were all transitional species between arboreal and terrestrial adaptation. It is extremely dangerous to generalize the whole superfamily with primary bipedal locomotion.

  2. Sebastian Wang via Facebook responds:

    Using Carl Zimmer’s (1998) example, Ichthyostega and Ambulocetus both had very similar body plan and they were both transitional species; however, they had very different origins. It is exactly how chimpanzees were used as an example in the article; it was not a good indicator of the origin of bipedalism. Without further discovery, we must not assume Gigantopithecus as bipeds.

  3. Fhqwhgads responds:

    Spine? Filler had better talk about the foot and pelvis, too, if he wants to be taken seriously. Does he? Has anyone read this book?

    If apes have been walking upright for 20 million years, why would they still have divergent big toes? Why do WE still have pinkie toes? We have fossil footprints of both humans and australopithecines; are there (credible) human-like fossil footprints before these?

    “In questioning and rejecting scientific orthodoxy, no mass of credentials will convince a spurned scientist that he or she should give way and accept that they have spent a career believing, teaching, and publishing in error.” This sounds suspiciously like a self-description (“spurned scientist”?), and unless Filler’s book addresses the foot and pelvis of apes, that’s exactly what it is. It is the great temptation of every academic to believe that his thesis is the pinnacle of human civilization, the key that unlocks the mysteries of the cosmos — to think, for example, that because the one part of the anatomy you firmly understand is the spine, nothing else need be considered when tracing the evolution of apes.

    “Sometimes it pays to be not a scientist.” OK, at a literal level, this is true. Engineers get more pay.

    Unfortunately, that is not what John Green meant. Instead, he was was displaying the weird, schizoid, love-hate relationship cryptozoology has with science. This was the hate side of the relationship, the side that acknowledges that whatever cryptozoology is, it ain’t science.

    So why does Green tell us that Dr. Aaron Filler is a Ph.D. anthropologist? [Note: not paleontologist] It’s to establish Filler’s credentials. This is the love side of the equation, the credentials-envy side of the equation, the Darren-Naish-is-one-of-us side.

  4. corrick responds:

    Whether Aaron Filler’s theories in his 2007 book “The Upright Ape,” are quack or genius is open to debate.

    However, Green most certainly doesn’t advance his own Gigantopithecus/Bigfoot theory with a quote like this.
    “…but a proven animal that lived near the land bridge to North America and that already has a scientific name, Gigantopithecus blacki.”
    -John Green

    The closest to the Bering Strait land bridge in Asia where Gigantopithecus remains have been found is in Hubei Provence, China. By land that’s about 4,500 miles away, about the same distance as between Detroit and Honolulu. Not exactly what I’d call “near.”

  5. Megatherium responds:

    I’m no primate scientist but looking at the existing evidence we have for bigfoot – I see bigger differences than similarities between Giganto and bigfoot. In Bigfoot sightings? Especially in the facial area? More human than primate. (One reason so many hunters who encounter bigfoot can’t bring themselves to shoot at it.) Giganto looks more like an an overgrown ape to me – at least from the the artistic interpretations – and from the skeletal examples and / or recreations we have of the extinct representatives of Giganto. This also doesn’t replicate what we think we know about bigfoot, its behavior, or for that matter locomotion. The more I read witness reports – especially in the excellent book such as The Hoopa Project – the more I believe we’re looking at a remnant or offshoot of a Neanderthal (or similar). The intelligence the creature demonstrates, possible vocalizations indicating advanced communication, believed to be nesting or protective structures and the overall elusiveness I think further testifies to the closer link to primal human than Giganto.

  6. DWA responds:

    Don’t want to say much about this. But I do want to say:

    We don’t really have much more evidence for the conventional hypothesis than we have for the one under discussion here. The history of anthropology is basically the gradual chipping away of Humans Are Image-of-God by, well, facts. The fossil record gives us no particular reason to believe Filler’s wrong, any more than it convinces us Filler’s right.

    (The aye-aye isn’t Image of God? Um, you are gonna need to prove that.)

    I’ve never been a sucker for the Giganto theory. It smacks too much – actually, it is – what we always do with the fossil record: this is all we have so it’s all there is. I would tend to think – and might bet lunch money – that sasquatch’s lineage hasn’t been turned up yet. There might be a link or two but we sure don’t have the recent links, IMHO.

  7. dconstrukt responds:

    question to you guys…. how can it be giganto when the DNA evidence is supposed to say otherwise?

  8. DWA responds:

    Erratum.

    I said “We don’t really have much more evidence for the conventional hypothesis than we have for the one under discussion here.”

    Really, we don’t have any more. The conventional hypothesis is an interpretation of an incomplete record. As are so many.

  9. DWA responds:

    “Unfortunately, that is not what John Green meant. Instead, he was was displaying the weird, schizoid, love-hate relationship cryptozoology has with science. This was the hate side of the relationship, the side that acknowledges that whatever cryptozoology is, it ain’t science.

    “So why does Green tell us that Dr. Aaron Filler is a Ph.D. anthropologist? [Note: not paleontologist] It’s to establish Filler’s credentials. This is the love side of the equation, the credentials-envy side of the equation, the Darren-Naish-is-one-of-us side.”

    Well, there are a lot of us who wish crypto would start acting as a science…and start screening out, with extreme prejudice, “skeptical” “theories” that are backed by no evidence.

    I wonder (I may try this) how long I could last on a solar-science website repeatedly posting “the sun is a heat lamp! Stars are a ridiculous concept!” or on a particle-physics website yelling “I am not made up of ‘particles’. See? (with attached video of me poking myself in the arm. Look! Solid!)

    Yet we are still tolerating, on crypto websites, the obscene non-theorem that a kneeling elk made the Skookum cast, and the never-ending search for the first piece of evidence – 45 years now! – that the Patterson-Gimlin film was faked.

    When we start shutting that stuff down as trollery, crypto will start being a science.

    Not before.

  10. DWA responds:

    “If apes have been walking upright for 20 million years, why would they still have divergent big toes?”

    Um, some do. Some still need those divergent big toes to do what they do with them: climb trees. They’re good-enough for the bipedal locomotion those animals do. No “reason,” therefore, to change a model that works.

    The fossil record, now, has several animals that did away with divergence. The evidence supports the continued existence of at least one more.

    “Why do WE still have pinkie toes?”

    Probably the same generic reason we have a uvula and an appendix. Don’t help that much. Don’t hurt. Evolution isn’t about perfection; it’s about good-enough. I’m not volunteering to try walking without my pinkie toes.

    “We have fossil footprints of both humans and australopithecines; are there (credible) human-like fossil footprints before these?”

    Yet, you mean? That this specific support doesn’t exist for the theorem doesn’t invalidate it. Scientists intelligently speculate all the time. And in this case, the spine is fruit for some intelligent speculation.

  11. DWA responds:

    dconstrukt:

    “question to you guys…. how can it be giganto when the DNA evidence is supposed to say otherwise?”

    Well, this is one of crypto’s problems: not sorting out the science from the, er, Ketchum.

    OK, fine, we don’t know what she really found yet, and at this rate we never may. But the idea that these are people, or human hybrids, is something that most if not all of the serious researchers consider unsupported by evidence. When I have seen such assertions, I have considered them generally naive. I mean, you may have seen a sasquatch. But unless you are a primatologist, I’m not going to take your word for it that it was human, particularly when you base it on the foot or nose shape, or the animal simply displaying some sign of intelligence that, by ape standards, is not so far-fetched.

    Giganto is certainly supported by more evidence than we have seen yet from DNA (which won’t be conclusive until it comes from an identified type specimen).

  12. dconstrukt responds:

    DWA… thanks for the answer.

    guess we need more evidence/proof?

    i guess one thing is sorting out the facts from the hearsay… especially since some of the evidence can be (and has been) hoaxed…. and a lot of the evidence really doesn’t follow any type of scientific protocol.

    really wonder if anyone will solve this in our lifetime.

  13. DWA responds:

    One of the best reasons to get the scientific community full-time involved in this is to do that sorting out. A lot of stuff remains to be done, including figuring out which of the competing theories are best supported by evidence.

    In my opinion, if a trained scientist gets a position before the public – as is his obligation as a scientist – it is the obligation of the scientific community at large to address the position, and either refute it with evidence or add it to the canon of what we know. We have such a case here; and the scientific proponents for sasquatch are another case.

    Filler’s expertise is sufficient to establish the position as legitimate. Now it must be determined whether other evidence supports it. If nothing can be found…well, it is fossils we are talking about. 95% of extinct primates left nothing. That we have found.

    Yet.

  14. dconstrukt responds:

    DWA … thanks for the reply…. yes…

    seems like it would be hard to find any remains in the locations these things are supposed to live in.

    I mean… do we find bear bones frequently? (dunno, i’m asking)

    I think they showed on tv that a carcass would disintegrate in like 2 weeks or a month… maybe less…. so that could explain why no bones or remains… i mean that would probably be more difficult to find that a living one…. and we know how difficult that is.

  15. Fhqwhgads responds:

    “Um, some do. Some still need those divergent big toes to do what they do with them: climb trees. They’re good-enough for the bipedal locomotion those animals do. No “reason,” therefore, to change a model that works.”

    Yes, they’re good for climbing trees. They’re not very good if you generally go about on two feet, which is my point. Apes can, if they need to, get around on their legs alone, but that does not make them bipeds. A human can hop around on one foot if he needs to (I wonder if a chimp or gorilla could?); for that matter, some people can walk on their hands, and people with no legs can be surprisingly mobile. It’s obviously not what we’re adapted for as a species, though.

    “The fossil record, now, has several animals that did away with divergence. The evidence supports the continued existence of at least one more.”

    I know what you mean by the 2nd sentence, but I’m not biting on that debate.

    The question is not about several “animals” (I think you mean species of hominid, or at least of ape), but about how many lineages. Sure, australopithecus and paranthropus had feet very much like ours — but they are not just hominids, they are hominins. If you know of a non-hominin ape with feet that are like ours, I’d be interested in knowing the species name.

    Setting aside Bigfoot (which, if it exists, still has an unknown lineage), our nearest surviving relatives do not have feet adapted to walking or running long distances on two feet.

    ““Why do WE still have pinkie toes?”

    Probably the same generic reason we have a uvula and an appendix. Don’t help that much. Don’t hurt. Evolution isn’t about perfection; it’s about good-enough. I’m not volunteering to try walking without my pinkie toes.”

    I don’t think so. They don’t contribute much to our feet now, as you appear to admit, but they still get jammed, stumped, broken, and otherwise damaged. I did a number on my small toe just a few months ago that came just short of breaking it; on the savanna, this would have been a serious disadvantage. Of course you’re right that evolution has its priorities, but if our ancestors had really been walking upright for 20 million years, I would expect the foot to be somewhat more optimized.

    “Yet, you mean? That this specific support doesn’t exist for the theorem doesn’t invalidate it. Scientists intelligently speculate all the time. And in this case, the spine is fruit for some intelligent speculation.”

    We are not talking about a theorem. Theorems are rigorous math. We are talking about amateur speculation. I am not a professional expert in primate evolution; neither are you; neither is Filler.

    But your answer is, “no”. This would have been useful evidence in favor of Filler’s idea, but there’s nothing here he can point to. So all he’s got is his interpretation of the spine. At least the aquatic ape theory had more than one piece of evidence.

    Here’s the thing: If you’re going to overturn the dominant theory, you have have a better overall fit to all the data than that theory. New evidence really helps, but even that can’t be the only thing that is considered. Filler does not appear to do that. I’ve looked at the table of contents of his book, and it doesn’t even address important considerations like the spine and pelvis. That means that even if his conjecture is CORRECT, it is not VALID. Even if what he has is an acorn, it doesn’t change the fact that he is acting like a blind squirrel.

    “Yet we are still tolerating, on crypto websites, the obscene non-theorem that a kneeling elk made the Skookum cast…” Excuse me, but Loren just left because he was tired of being blamed/credited for what appears on Cryptomundo. Are you now claiming to do what he didn’t? DWA is as meaningless a combination of letters to me as Fhqwhgads is to you, but you do not appear to be an owner of this blog. It’s not your call what is tolerated and what is not, any more than it is mine.

    As for the “kneeling elk”, that’s a total red herring, and you know it. I’ve never said that, even in a thread where it would have relevance. This is not such a thread.



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