Sasquatch Coffee


More on the New Primate Species

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on May 12th, 2006

When this new species of African monkey was initially reported, it was in the May 20, 2005 issue of Science Magazine. Initially, it was thought to be a new species of mangabey and was given the name "highland mangabey". As Loren posted earlier here on Cryptomundo, it has now been classified as a new genus, not a new species of mangabey.

I found some very interesting information in that article when I initially read it last year.

Kipungi

Africa’s newly discovered species of monkey, the highland mangabey, Lophocebus kipunji. Note the characteristic broad, upright crest on the animal’s head and non-contrasting eyelids. The artist’s reconstruction is drawn from research video taken by C. L. Ehardt in Tanzania in the Ndundulu Forest of the Udzungwa Mountains and in the Southern Highlands.
Credit: Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation

During interviews in January 2003 in villages around Mount Rungwe, we heard rumors about a shy and atypical monkey known as Kipunji (kip-oon-jee). The local Wanyakyusa have a strong oral tradition based on both real and mythical forest animals, and validation of these rumors was protracted. We first observed an unusual primate during biodiversity surveys on Mount Rungwe in May 2003, but because of the terrain, thick secondary forest, and the animal’s cryptic nature, sightings were infrequent and poor. It was not until December 2003, during work in the contiguous Livingston Forest, that the monkey was clearly observed and recognized as a new species of mangebay.

Hmmm…this sounds somewhat familiar. An animal unknown to outsiders, but familiar to the natives…

The discovery of this new monkey was made by 2 groups of field researchers working independently at 2 sites 370 kilometers apart in southern Tanzania. 

The number of individuals in each of the two populations of this species is undoubtedly very small; no live individual should be collected at this time to serve as the holotype. 

Main Entry: ho·lo·type
Pronunciation: ‘hO-l&-"tIp, ‘hä-
Function: noun
1 : the single specimen designated by an author as the type of a species or lesser taxon at the time of establishing the group
2 : the type of a species or lesser taxon designated at a date later than that of establishing a group or by another person than the author of the taxon

The total population was estimated to be between 250 to 500. In fact, as incredible as it sounds, the scientists used a photograph of an adult male as the holotype.

Kipungi

What, science didn’t require a body to describe a new species?

I used this example in the "Pro-kill vs. No-kill" debate at the Southern Crypto Conference in June of 2005, when I was on the panel with 2 other members of the TBRC, Gino Napoli and Daryl Colyer. Were were debating against the "Pro-kill" side, consisting of Jim Lansdale, Bobby Hamilton, Chester Moore Jr. and Kriss Stephens.

I was scoffed at, because it was just another variation of an existing species of monkey. Certainly nothing like Bigfoot. 

This blog entry is not about the people, nor the groups involved. It is about the idea that a species could be accepted by science on merely photographic evidence. Let’s keep the comments in line with that thought.

How did it come to pass that it was discovered not to be a mangabey, but it’s own unique species you ask?

The new African monkey, whose discovery was reported in Science almost precisely a year ago, was originally placed in the genus Lophocebus, commonly known as mangabeys. Rare and shy, it was identified only by photographs.

But then a farmer trapped one and it died and scientists could get a close look, including doing some DNA testing.

So while it only took a photograph to get it recognized, it did take a body for it to be classified correctly. 

Video depicting the highland mangabey in its native Tanzanian forest habitat.

 

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.


27 Responses to “More on the New Primate Species”

  1. scmarlowe responds:

    Primate prejudice at work here?

    The story is a bit different than the Bili Ape’s. Skeletal remain evidence sat on a shelf for over 100 years — having been mis-ID’ed as a abberition of “Lowland Gorilla”.

    Dr. Shelly Williams pronounced it a potential new species, but DNA work done by the Henry Doorly Zoo now suggests that the animal is a subspecies of chimpanzee (Pan troglodyte schweinfurthii) that is unusually inbred.

    Oddly, the animal’s foot prints have a similarity to those of the Malaysian Ape now in the news.

    Unlike other chimps and bonobos, the Bili is known to make vocalizations at night as it has no fear of predators and nests on the ground unlike it’s aborial nesting Pan troglodyte relatives.

    No less a valid cryptid find, the bi-pedal Bili Ape was once called the “Ngoloko” and considered to be a Bigfoot-like creature.

    Although a body became available as a holotype, as was the skeletal remains, it only took photography, dung, and sightings by qualified scientists to make the species determination and classification.

    Another no-kill success.

  2. twblack responds:

    Interesting thing here. The post said it was a rumor of an unkown Monkey. But with Mr. Chow he states he has concrete photo evid. He staes their has been a group watching and protecting them for 11 years. And I think something said about DNA testing might be wrong on that one. That is more than a rumor in my view. If you read the below statement That is all everyone on the blog chat is wanting is to see the PHOTOS! It is human nature to not like to be patient. If you read some of my other comments I hope the wait is worth it. But I do feel if Mr. Chow and Co. was not ready to show “ANY KIND” of proof that he should have stated we think we have discovered a new crypto type aminal and we are in the process of getting more data to prove this. And we will talk again when we have it. But to come right out and say hey we got 14 photo’s that are authentic and been watching them for 11 years now and oh by the way I have no proof to show you untill The book comes out. What did he and just about everyone else think would happen here? We would just say ok and ask no questions about these creatures he claims to have solid evid. of that everyone has been trying to find for “YEARS”. I am in no way trying to start an argument here and I hope someone understands what point I am trying to make here. Because I hope Mr. Chow has the last word and we all can say it was worth the wait. But you have to admit his claims are “HUGE” and right now even questionable becuase of the lack of Evid. he has came fourth with. Yes I understand he does not own the photos? That prob. brings up a few more questions. I will prob. be strung up from a tree and that is not what I am trying to do here. I hope someone out their sees my point and maybe agree with a little bit of it anyway.

    This blog entry is not about the people, not the groups involved. It is about the idea that a species could be accepted by science on merely photographic evidence. Let’s keep the comments in line with that thought.

  3. Ranatemporaria responds:

    The issue here with proper scientific description, I think, is as I have said previously, questionable integrity. A taxonomist has very little to gain in the way of financial reward from discovering a new but standard primate species, apart from respect and admiration from other biologists. Many hoaxers and fraudster realise the notoriety and potential cash in finding a “Bigfoot” type semi-mythical or hominid creature are vastly superior. It is for this reason there are so many Bigfoot organisations and so few internationally famous entomological organisations. The lay person doesn’t worry themselves with the thought of new beetle species. The fact is there are more un-described beetle species than ones known to science. As a result evidence from ‘Non-scientific’ research sources is often dismissed straight away as a grab at fame and fortune, even when they may be totally legitimate.

  4. scmarlowe responds:

    In the case of the Malaysian “Bigfoot”, much ado has been made about Chow releasing the available photographs.

    I’m surprised that no one has observed that the Malaysian photographer isn’t the only person in Johor who owns a camera. Certainly, others have an opportunity to take pictures of their own. (Especially if they’ve been studying the animal for 11 years).

    I’ll say it again, “Me thinks that there is something rotton in” Kuala Lumpur.

    As far as buying a book on the subject is concerned, I’ve arrived at a point where I’ll wait for a reviewer to spend the bucks to read it first before I’ll run out an drop a fin or two myself to satisfy simple curiousity.

  5. DWA responds:

    To me it’s like this.

    1. Africa has lots of monkeys.

    2. We know this (just like we know there are tons of unidentified beetle species).

    3. What’s a new one? Maybe a surprise to scientists. But to most of us, c’mon, admit it, a bit ho-hum.

    4. Monkeys are Kind of a Known Thing. Which means that the standards of proof are looser than they are for, say, a plesiosaur loose in the 21st century. Or a ten-foot bipedal ape. Both being reported by nonscientists, keep in mind.

    Scientists protect their turf. THEY’LL discover the relict hominids, thenkyewveddymuch. If the Patterson film had been taken on a SCIENTIFIC expedition, well, Bigfoot would have been a recognized species for almost forty years now.

  6. Chymo responds:

    “What, science didn’t require a body to describe a new species?”

    Uh, no. They had unquestionable evidence of other kinds, such as photographs. Naturally people would scoff at this analogy, it’s a bad one.

    We have no real solid evidence of the existance of Bigfoot. The closest we have is the body cast. That’s it! Everything else is open to question or interpretation. If an acredited primatologist logged a sighting of Bigfoot, then we’d be getting somewhere.

  7. DWA responds:

    “Uh, no. They had unquestionable evidence of other kinds, such as photographs. Naturally people would scoff at this analogy, it’s a bad one.”

    Actually, Chymo, as I explain in the post right above yours, it’s a GREAT one.

    Photos unquestionable, eh? Well then, there’s unquestionable evidence of Bigfoot: tracks that have never been debunked in spite of intensive analysis, and a FILM, for petesake, of an animal so clearly discernible that its SEX can be identified, at a distance! Try THAT with a kipunji.

    Unquestionable. That is, unless it’s questioned. At which point my post (and your last sentence) come into play.

    The difference between the kipunji and Patty? WHO collected the “unquestionable” evidence. That’s (almost) it.

  8. scmarlowe responds:

    I might add that we had a professional who pronounced Bigfoot genuine. His name was Dr. Grover Krantz.

    The problem here is that the animal in question isn’t a “lower species”. Many humans are threatened to think that there’s something out there with equivalent intelligence — albeit lacking the technology.

    Then, there’s also the profit motive. Bigfoot translates to Big Bucks.

  9. DWA responds:

    Oh.

    Grover Krantz, one of the leading Bigfoot proponents, was a physical anthropologist at Washington State University.

    Jeffrey Meldrum, one of the leading current Bigfoot proponents, is a biologist. another anthropologist, by the way.

    The Patterson film has been considered unquestionable evidence by, among others, Meldrum; Krantz; and the sitting Chief of the Chair of Biomechanics, USSR Central Institute of Physical Culture, Moscow. Time doesn’t permit me to continue the list.

    The Skookum Cast is considered unquestionable evidence by Dr. Daris Swindler, professor emeritus of physical anthropology, University of Washington. Again, I could go on.

    So, you’re right. For both the kipunji and Bigfoot, sounds like we have unquestionable evidence!

  10. lamarkable responds:

    Taking philosophy out of the equation and looking at this situation, it becomes apparent that this issue revolves around Consensus, Distinctions, Probability and Verification. What constitutes verification that something exists or not in the absence of everyone being able to do so directly? In this case, photographic evidence is a source of contention. Who, Why and How is taking the photograph. Photographs can be easily manipulated. I can do this with reasonable results at home. Probability-We have all seen woodpeckers, at least enough folks have to make a safe critical assumption that they exist. So if a pink woodpecker is photographed, we already know woodpeckers exist. It is probable that this is a variant. If I take a photograph of a pink woodpecker that is demonstrating the ability to mow my lawn-that is an exception to the probability of this occurring. Evidence? Will a photograph prove a woodpecker is cutting my grass? I don’t think so. Distinctions-categorization are based on reliable clichés and consensus which in turn arise from verification. Observers need to be certified by a consensus of qualifications that are agreed upon and verified by both traditional science and independent researchers. Once a sighting is made it is reported to a governing body that has no axe to grind and they send a team of pre-certified observers. Otherwise-it all goes round in a catch 22 lunacy of cross purposes. Everyone has a stake in this for the sake of what’s being observed. As ecological pressures increase-it is a safe predictition that in comparison to years past- unknown species will be popping up all over the globe. Time is running short.

  11. Ranatemporaria responds:

    Yes I agree. So what is solution? There are a lot of amateur cryptozoologists and very few taxonomists looking for Bigfoot. This means often most findings come from ‘questionable’ sources. Just by admitting your a cryptozoologist, in many cases you are immediately discredited. Either, we start to move cryptozoology in the fields of science, this may mean paying little attention to ‘questionable’ evidence, and dealing with good evidence as any other scientist would…(journals, consultation with other credible sources and the like), or im afraid the term cryptozoology will become a hindrance when it really shouldn’t be. As I keep saying there are more un-described species than described ones and that is more or less biological fact!

  12. lamarkable responds:

    Rantatemporia:

    I think all sides need to move toward the middle where there is an abundance of common ground. I have seen the UFO “community” (I use that term more conceptually than it exists in reality) expending an enormous amount of potentially productive energy debating essentially theoretical evidence that in of of itself verifies nothing as to a very simple question. Consequently, they give a strong impression of eccentric characters arguing among themselves about what constitutes evidence on a topic that owes its deplorable reputation to its most ardent backers. There are some “who will believe any old tale.” There are some who would not believe they are in danger unless their pant leg was on fire. Between them is the vast majority of people who are not polarized as the advocates are, but in listening to both sides- those with an open mind come away with a strong impression that lunatics are at war and neither side has credibilty because they have no middle of common ground holding them together as a whole. Crptozoology is at a crossroads at the edge of an age of great discovery. The challenge is with themselves and not their subjects.

  13. Sergio responds:

    Also of note, it was his examination of the Skookum cast that tipped the scales, so to speak, for Dr. Swindler. As I understand it, he had been reticent publicly to even engage in conversation regarding the subject of a large hidden primate in North America. He now asserts that a large unidentified and undiscovered primate made the heel impression in the Skookum cast.

    It probably didn’t hurt that Dr. Swindler is professor emeritus; a guy like that can pretty much think and say whatever he likes and doesn’t have to worry about it too much.

    By the way, there have been quite a few scientists who claim to have had sasquatch encounters. I know several personally.

  14. fuzzy responds:

    WOW! What a great Blog!

  15. Chymo responds:

    My dear fellows! You have fallen upon me like a barbarian in your midst!

    There is no question in *my* mind that what you say is true, gentlemen; I am certain that Bigfoot exists. However, I am not so foolish as to believe that this has been unquestionably proven to the majority of the public or science by the Skookum cast, the inumerable genuine footprint casts, hairs, scat, et al.

    In every case, a sufficiently reasonable explanation can be put forward to account for such evidence, or, if the evidence is too hard to explain such as the skookum cast & prints showing dermal ridges , scientists can simply ignore it as ‘anomalous’ with the excuse that they need more examples to verify. This blinkered approach can carry on ad nauseam, refueled by each new generation of traditionally educated scholars.

    While under normal circumstances, these pieces of evidence, along with the huge body of witnesses, would be more than enough to have a solid scientific investigation into the new species underway, but with Bigfoot, there has not been one single scientific expedition, unless I am mistaken. Why?

    Because the damn thing is *bizarre* and flies in the face of everything we have been taught. It’s not just a shaking of the theories of anthropology & prehistoric primatology, but science as a whole. Accepting the existance of Bigfoot would be to many people like throwing open the doors of belief to all sorts of things.

    The existance of Bigfoot threatens peoples’ view of reality. It frightens them, both as a spectral archetype from the unconscious, haunting them in dreams, as well as an affront to human superiority and knowledge in flesh & blood.

    In order to prove the existance of something so fundamentally groundshaking to so many fields of science as well as ‘common sense’, we need very good evidence indeed. Bones. Tissue. Teeth. A skull. 100% clear & definitively genuine film. There’s no getting around it, but we simply haven’t got that.

    Bigfoot is a very extraordinary creature, and without this precious evidence, it will continue to be viewed as a fairy story by everyone, much to the detriment of all involved, sadly.

  16. MattBille responds:

    The kipunji case has a couple of interesting aspects.

    Keep in mind that there is no single authority establishing a universally accepted list of species. A new species is sort of gradually accepted when most of the interested scientists accept it. A few qualified scientists have accepted the PG film, but most have not (or have kept silent.) Accordingly, you may think it’s unfair, but it’s still true that you can’t call sasquatch an accepted species.

    The observer does matter. If Grover Krantz had taken the PG film, it still might not be accepted, but there definitely would have been more scientists willing to look carefully at it.

    The other thing is that the writer of the press release describes this as the first new monkey genus in 83 years. That distinction requires discounting the new genera of monkeys Dr. Marc van Roosmalen has named in the Amazon. Van Roosmalen’s work has not been universally accepted, as some zoologists think he’s too quick to create new species based on surface differences. Some of his species have definitely entered the ill-defined world of “accepted” species, but others have not. (I’ve no idea what the actual scorecard is.)

    In the case of the kipunji, one prominent taxonomist, Dr. Colin Groves, has urged his fellow scientists to be cautious about accepting the identification as a new genus, questioning whether enough DNA analysis has been done to prove this. Even that pronouncement can itself be questioned, though, because there’s no agreement on what degree of difference in DNA establishes a separate species, let alone a genus.

    We will settle for this: a large, distinctive new primate has been discovered. It’s one more reminder that we are a long way from knowing all the creatures of the Earth.

  17. DWA responds:

    “My dear fellows! You have fallen upon me like a barbarian in your midst!”

    No we haven’t. And that’s the kind of thinking (and acting, for sure), that, on a site like this, we want to avoid. Because it’s all about evaluating evidence that, well, hasn’t yet managed to shake the paradigms of conventional science. Differences of opinion on this are routine. We have to accommodate the opinions of others, and fearlessly share ours without belittling theirs. (Pssst BTW: The OR “sas shot” is NOT A DEER!!!!!!!!!
    :-P)D )

    As kipunji vs. Patterson shows, who took the “photographic holotype” matters. A helluva lot. My experience with this has told me, if the kipunji were our bigfoot, that would be a man in a monkey suit sitting on that branch. “Look at the hands! Clearly human…! And you can do that tail in fX…” But nope, a scientist took that photo….um….er….we think….and suddenly it’s a holotype.

    What I love about all the updates here, particularly about every single move over in Malaysia, is that you can’t find anything on this anywhere else. It’s news to me!

    We are sailing dangerous seas, but as someone else has said on this site, we may be about to strike land. As we continue to eat the planet for our own so-called needs, the new species could be about to start coming out of the woodwork.

    An open mind makes us ready.

  18. shovethenos responds:

    everyone-

    Mr. Chow has clearly stated that he doesn’t have the rights to the pictures – the photographer does. So this is really outside his control. I think he has been nice in giving people connected to this site the “inside scoop” and even guiding Peter Loh’s courtroom sketch-quality drawings. I don’t think its productive or very polite to bash him, seeing as how he seems to be doing everything in his power to feed quality information to us. I realize its difficult to be patient and wait for the breakthrough that’s said to be coming, but that’s the best course. (I also think it’s a good idea to temper one’s expectations, because a lot of expected breakthroughs seem to fall through in this field.)

    Chymo-

    A trained primatologist had an encounter with Orang Pendek. I don’t know her qualifications, but there doesn’t seem to be a rush to accepting the existence of that cryptid since then. In fact another poster stated recently on another thread that someone with academic credentials tried to submit a journal article on Orang Pendek and was basically suppressed as well.

    So I tend to think that with the more “fantastic” cryptids – i.e. anything large or anything that would qualify as a member of the ape family – the “mainstream” scientific community would have to be virtually beaten over the head with very strong evidence. Basically, the equivalent of a Barbara Walters interview.

  19. Ranatemporaria responds:

    shovethenose:

    Im not sure anyone, and certainly not everyone has been “Bashing” Chow here. The debate was simply one of accepted validity of similar evidence from what seem like only subtley different fields – BF versus kipunji.

    And still I see the persistence of a “us” vs. “them” mentality and terms like “mainstream science”. Surely this only acts to ostracize those who seek credibility.

  20. MattBille responds:

    If the reference above on the orang-pendek is to Debbie Martyr, she is a travel writer and conservationist – extremely brave and dedicated, but not a primatologist.

    Dr. John MacKinnon of the WWF once spotted what he thought might be the footprints of an unidentied primate of the orang-pendek type, and he meets anyone’s criteria for an expert witness, but he didn’t photograph or cast the prints, so the enounter remains a mystery.

    Someone on this list claimed he knew qualified biological scientists who had seen sasquatch. OK, who are they? (Matt Johnson is a psychologist, which gives him reliability points, but does not make him a primatologist.)

    To get back to the original point, while there are only a couple of degreed experts actually looking for sasquatch, establishing the species without a body will take more than we need for a new monkey in Africa. It will take a combination of expert witnesses and good video evidence taken by, or in the presence of, experts who have no stake in it.

    Read Gallagher’s book, The Grail Bird, on the ivory-bill. Solid sightings by experts were dismissed. It took expert sightings plus a video to get the rediscovery announced, and there is still a strong backlash from equally qualified experts saying the rediscovery was error and wishful thinking.

    So even photographic/video evidence, unless from a source that is not affiliated with cryptozoology, is unlikely to be enough. That means, if sasquatch exists, the only things that will prove that to general scientific satisfaction are a tissue sample and/or video from a disinterested yet expert source (for example, if biologists out documenting the Oregon bear population were to film one and be willing to stand up and say so.) Even if one presumes the critter is real, it may be a very long spell before the right kind of proof comes in.

    Matt Bille

  21. Ranatemporaria responds:

    Sadly very true and well put Mattbille, ever thought of going into writing?! lol

  22. scmarlowe responds:

    Points are well taken. But you are forgetting an important part of the scientific method.

    Peer review may be seen as a “backlash” or even hostile, but it is an essential part of the process.

    The final phase of the over-all process is the integration of knowledge into a consensus among professionals — even then, there will be refinements or even “competing” theories before something becomes accepted (somewhat universally) as fact.

  23. shovethenos responds:

    My mistake on Martyr, for some reason I was under the impression she was credentialed. I was trying to find the recent comment stating that a credentialed scientist had tried to publish something on Orang Pendek recently and was suppressed and couldn’t find it. Does anyone remember what thread that comment was on?

    Peer review is a valuable scientific tool, but not when groupthink and various agendas prevent certain ideas and evidence from even being reviewed.

  24. sschaper responds:

    I would recommend to anyone who hasn’t read Thomas Kuhn’s seminal _The Nature of Scientific Revolutions_, to do so.
    While science is a very useful tool, scientists are humans and subject to the same social pressures and behaviors as other humans.

    Recently, ‘mobbing’ behavior is becoming part of the sociological vocabulary. This is a term taken from biology, such as when crows ‘mob’ an owl. A member of faculty who doesn’t fit in, who doesn’t conform, who is some how eccentric, or foreign, or outside the envelope, will suffer all kinds of petty harassment, leading up to false charges if necessary, in order to be expelled from the faculty.

    Scientists face this. Any university professor with some time on the job, will be very sensitive and effective in navigating these treacherous waters.

    As a result, not refuting a new monkey in Africa, is a much less risky business than showing any indication of taking north American apes or plesiosaurs seriously. IIRC, Jane Goodall once indicated interest in North American Apes, but then pulled out. It is not unreasonable to suppose she became concerned that showing up and becoming a participant, would seriously damage her scientific reputation, and the chance to receive grants to continue her research.

    It isn’t so much that scientists are biggoted, but that they are -scared-.

    That is why extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence – it isn’t a rule of logic, it is contrary to the rules of logic, but it does fit the nature of human behavior.

    Which is why capturing or even shooting a north American ape is necessary, and photos, track casts, faeces, and hairs of undetermined primate origin are not enough.

    I’m hesitant on shooting because we don’t know how intelligent they are, some have reported the feeling that they would have committed murder if they’d fired.

    Capturing though rather more difficult, is I think safer, with such a small population that killing might lead towards extinction. We can calculate the body weight, extrapolate on primate metabolism, and have a reasonably appropriate dosage.

    Normally, observing a colony would be better, but if they are solitary, like most orangutans, then that becomes non-feasible.

    If they exist. The Bili ape required a great deal of evidence, and wasn’t really accepted until it was declared a chimp – something already well-known to exist.

    The ivory-bill is another example. Even with observation and photographs by credentialed experts, it is still widely rejected in the ornithological community.

  25. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    Billi apes are “just chimpanzees” but the Bonobo get seperate billing, some folks still don’t accept the ivory bill but they probably would with DNA, the king cheetah didn’t exist, then it did, then it was “just” a mutation, the kipunji was a new type of mangabey, now a new genus, etc., etc., ad nauseum.
    The thing is, 50 years ago, the kipunji would have been described as a mangabey and the Billi ape might have been more than just an inbred population of chimps.
    But today genetic fingerprinting is the mark of authentification. Even if we feel the “no kill” route is ideal, science (and human desire to categorize) will eventually demand physical and genetic evidence to accept any new species fully.
    I feel that, at the very least, any well financed expedition (were it to materialize) should include a tranquilizer gun and material for obtaining a clean biopsy for genetic identification.

  26. Mnynames responds:

    Great comments, all.

    Did you ever get the feeling that traditional taxonomy is straining under the limitations and shortcomings of an out-dated system? We say species in just about every sentence we speak, yet we still can’t adequately agree on a definition of what one is? Some say that it is a species if it can only breed with itself…well, that would mean that there’s no difference between Lions and Tigers, which is clearly nonsense. Heck, there’s a fish that breeds only with a related “species”, using their males to stimulate the production of an egg that is genetically-identical to its mother. How do you classify that? It CAN’T breed with itself (All females), but it exists.
    Now, I’m not one to say we need to chuck the whole system out, but a revamp does seem overdue. Some scientists HAVE actually suggested replacing it (The International Society for Phylogenetic Nomenclature), which has placed them in a defensive position. My understanding of their Phylocode is that it appears much more like a revamp, placing genetic similarities above traditional physical ones in importance. None of this, of course, helps our case much at all.

    Lamarkable, you mentioned the “us” or “them” polemic within Ufologists and other groups. It seems to me that even though the majority of the beliefs of the population lie well within the middle ground, we only ever hear about the fanatics at both extremes, regardless of topic. America has become polarized, or at least that’s the impression one gets from the news. Not to get too off-topic, but do you think the radicals just shout louder than the moderates, or is it more the case of the media over-simplifying issues by only talking with the totally yes and totally no people?
    Craig, Loren, etc., you’ve all certainly had plenty of experience with representatives from the media, both good and bad, I’m sure, it would be interesting to hear your take on it…

  27. MrInspector responds:

    Personally I’d like to tranq a Bigfoot, and give him a physical. Film the whole thing, take multiple samples and put a tracking collar on him. Just like any other endangered species. No one seems willing to commit those kinds of resoursces. Even the Bigfoot researchers seem to think spending nights and weekends in the woods is going to turn up bigfoot. Give me the cash if he’s out there, I’ll bag your monkey for you.



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