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The Curious Case Of The Orang Ikan

Posted by: mystery_man on October 26th, 2012

Merbeings. Whether you believe they are possible are not, it is undeniable that half human/half fish beings are a recurring theme around the world and across cultural divides. There is an interesting case that was reported by Japanese soldiers from the Kei Islands of Indonesia in 1943.

The Kei Islands, also known as the Kai Islands, are located in the south-eastern part of the Maluka Islands of Indonesia. The Kei Islands cover a total area of around 555 square miles and are famous for their beautiful beaches and unspoiled scenery. It was in this gorgeous island paradise of postcard perfect, pristine white sand beaches that a most peculiar and mysterious case occurred.

In 1943, Japanese soldiers stationed with a surveillance team on a small, remote island within the Kei island chain reported seeing strange creatures in the water that were said to have limbs and a face somewhat similar to a human, but a mouth like a carp. These creatures were described as being around 150 cm tall, and having pink skin, as well as prominent spines on their heads. Unlike classical mermaids, these merbeings did not have fish tails, but rather two arms and two legs.

On several occasions, these beings were seen cavorting about near beaches or in lagoons. In one case, two of the odd creatures were spotted playing in a lagoon, and another was reportedly seen swimming near a beach in a manner similar to a human doing the breast stroke. One report was told by a startled soldier who recalls seeing one of the creatures on a beach one night. At first the soldier had thought it was a child until it turned around and he could see in the moonlight that its facial features were not quite right. The creature quickly ran headlong into the water upon being seen and did not resurface.

Although the Japanese soldiers were deeply perplexed by these sightings, these creatures were not unknown to the indigenous people of the islands. When asked about them, villagers in the vicinity told the Japanese that they were known locally as the Orang Ikan. In Malay, Orang means “human” and Ikan means “fish,” so we have something akin to “man fish.” The villagers said that they were sometimes even caught in nets and that if another was captured in such a fashion, the Japanese would be informed.

One evening, the sergeant of the surveillance team, a Mr. Taro Horiba, was summoned by the chief of the nearby village. It was announced to Horiba that an Orang Ikan had been found dead on a beach earlier that day and the body was available for viewing. The sergeant was dumfounded by what he was to find sprawled out upon the grass at the chief’s home.

Horibe described the dead creature as being around 160 cm long and possessing a head of red-brown, shoulder length hair, and spines along the neck. The face was said to be quite ugly, with human-like and ape-like features; a low, short nose, a broad forehead, and small ears. The lipless mouth was wide like that of a fish, specifically described like that of a carp, and filled with tiny, needle-like teeth. The creature’s fingers and toes were long and webbed. Horiba also reported that there was some sort of algae attached all over its body.

Sergeant Horiba, although having sighted the Orang Ikan himself on several occasions, could not fathom what it was that he had seen at the chief’s home. There was no known creature residing on the island that could have possibly accounted for the dead creature he had witnessed, and the sight of the carcass had deeply disturbed him.

Upon returning to Japan, Horiba told of his experiences and urged zoologists to go investigate the phenomena, but no one took him seriously. The fact that he had taken no photos did not help his cause, and in the end he was mostly ridiculed.

What is it these soldiers were seeing? What was that carcass at the chief’s house? Could there have been a real animal behind this case? The local villagers certainly seemed to think so, so here we have a classic case of an ethnoknown animal coming to the knowledge of baffled outsiders. It does not appear that these mysterious merbeings can be merely attributed to the wild imaginings of the foreign Japanese in a strange land under harsh conditions.

There is really no hard evidence available, but let’s take a moment to explore some possibilities.

Many merbeing sightings have been attributed to misidentifications of dugongs or manatees. Dugongs, although rare, were once found all over the Indo Pacific and could very well have existed in the areas of these Indonesian sightings. However, it seems unlikely that dugongs could be the culprit behind the reports of the Orang Ikan.

Dugongs do not have two arms and two legs like Orang Ikan were reported to have, and it does not seem that a dugong’s face could be misconstrued as being all that human-like. Villagers would also have likely been able to make a distinction between any dugongs in the area and a merbeing. It was most definitely not the body of a dugong that sergeant Horiba described seeing at the village chief’s house.

What else could these strange creatures have been?

When pondering this case, I cannot help but notice the resemblance between these Orang Ikan and some other types of aquatic, ape-like beings that have been reported elsewhere. The Thetis Lake Gillman that was sighted at Thetis Lake on Vancouver Island in 1972, for instance, seems to share some Orang Ikan characteristics, as does the Pugwis merbeings of Native American lore.

Thetis Lake Monster

The Thetis Lake Monster above was drawn by Harry Trumbore for The Field Guide of Bigfoot and Other Mystery Primates.

Thetis Lake Monster

Newspaper version of the Thetis Lake Monster.

Pugwis and the Thetis Lake Monster, like the Orang Ikan, are creatures that feature prominent spines or spikes on the head, two arms, two legs rather than a fish tail, webbed fingers and toes, and generally appear to be amalgam of ape and fish features. Could the Orang Ikan reported by the Kei Island natives and Japanese soldiers have been a similar sort of creature to these other cryptids?

One possibility is that all of these accounts have their basis in some sort of unknown primate that diverged long ago to adapt to an aquatic or semi-aquatic life. We could certainly expect such a primate to evolve some of the aquatic features mentioned in relation to the Orang Ikan, the Pugwis, and Thetis Lake monster. It is likely that an aquatic adapted ape-like creature would look more like these creatures than the classical mermaid image of a perfect human torso upon a perfectly fish-like tail.


The Loveland Frog (two images above) also seems reminiscent of these ape-like Merbeings, as does the Kappa from Japan (below). Could the Orang Ikan be related to those cryptids, in some fashion?

The particular location of the Orang Ikan sightings also leads me to speculate on another possibility. The relatively recent unearthing in Indonesia of the fossils of Homo floresiensis also known as “Flores Man” or “the real Hobbit,” shows us that there was once a previously unknown type of pygmy hominid found there. It is not known what the specific range of Homo floresiensiswas, and it seems possible they could very well have inhabited other Indonesian islands in addition to Flores island.

klyver flores3

Professor Richard Klyver’s sketch of the Flores woman.

Is it possible that these Flores hominids were also present on the Kei islands,and at some point adapted to a more aquatic habitat in this geographically isolated environment? It is thought by some researchers that Homo floresiensis may have had its small size due to island dwarfism, which is one possible adaptation to cope with limited resources in an island ecosystem. It seems possible that such an isolated population could have adapted in other ways as well.

Perhaps an isolated population of Homo floresiensis on the Kei Islands could have dealt with the same kind of geographical pressures by at least partially adapting more aquatic lifestyle to take advantage of coastal resources there. Coastal areas provide rich potential for food resources, so it does not seem completely unfeasible that a primate or early hominid in a remote habitat could have perhaps evolved along these lines. It is certainly interesting to speculate about.

Could an aquatic adapted population of Homo floresiensis or some sort of primate explain these Indonesian merbeings? Or was it something else?

Whatever they were, the Orang Ikan presents a curious and little known mystery that has never been satisfactorily solved.

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14 Responses to “The Curious Case Of The Orang Ikan”

  1. DWA responds:

    The more things like this I read, the more puzzled I get.

    About us, not them.

    Evolution has played myriad strange and amazing tricks. We see many of them around us daily, and many more populate the fossil record, with more likely to come.

    Why couldn’t something like this have evolved? In the ocean, with no one much visiting island chains like this, and not looking for things like this when they do, why couldn’t this be only one of a number of such creatures that remain undocumented?

    Really, there’s no reason. One might almost expect it.

    And …well, how did the Yowie get to Australia? Maybe one possibility hasn’t been discussed yet.

  2. corrick responds:

    mystery_man
    Always interesting, thought-provoking posts.
    Afraid I can offer no likely identification, but at least I can contribute some information.
    You asked, “Could an aquatic adapted population of Homo floresiensis or some sort of primate explain these Indonesian merbeings?” My short answer is no. The Kei islands are all surrounded by deep water and none has ever been connected to any other land mass for at minimum the past 125,000 years. Anyway, the whole idea of merbeings has hardly been embraced by any mainstream scientists The aquatic ape hypothesis largely championed by Elaine Morgan is, pardon the pun, dead in the water.
    While I have no reason to doubt Taro Horiba or his story, I do wonder how much the details may have changed in all the re-telling over the past 70 years. Certainly the soldiers saw something unfamiliar to them, but as to what we can never be certain. Fun to speculate though.
    Like to add that except for some diehards, the Thetis Lake monster is now widely accepted as a hoax. And I’ve done extensive research on the Loveland Frog sightings by the two policemen. In my opinion, a great grey owl. Great horned owl also works, but not nearly as well.
    Actually I will take an educated guess at the identity of the Orang Ikon. In 1943 as is today, the Japanese are despised by all other eastern Asians and that certainly pre-dates WWII. I doubt the Kei islanders were very pleased with their Japanese visitors. Also keep in mind that other than Taro Horiba’s testimony as to what he viewed at the chief’s home there are no other close observations.
    So what is the home stomping ground for Jenny Haniver’s? The islands of Indonesia! I offer no suggestions as to what methods or animal they used to show Taro Horiba a “real” Orang Ikon. Who knows, maybe they got two bags of rice and a six-packs of asahi beer for their effort. Sort of reminds me of the Canvey Island monster account that most people now think were anglerfish.
    Best I can do. Great post.

  3. mystery_man responds:

    Corrick- Thank you for your good input and feedback. I will give you some thoughts on some of the things you’ve said.

    As far as the Kei Islands being connected to any landmass, well, the same can actually be said of Flores island. Flores Island has long remained isolated, with no land bridges for the ancestors of Homo floresiensis to cross. Even when sea levels were at their absolute lowest, Flores island was still separated from the mainland by 24 km (15 miles) of water. Not so far, but far enough to prevent a stroll over. This suggests that in addition to their already documented tool use and evidence of using fire, Homo floresiensis were possibly able to cross sea barriers as well, perhaps by using some sort of primitive rafts.

    Is that what happened here? I’m not sure. However, we can see with Flores island that a lack of connection to any large landmass did not effect these creatures’ ability to inhabit this island. Did water depth make any difference? How much did distance matter and how much water would they have been able to successfully navigate? These are answers I’d like to have before completely writing off as impossible the idea that something like Homo floresiensis or their ancestors could have spread out to other islands.

    As for the idea of primates displaying aquatic adaptation, I was not really talking about the Aquatic Ape theory. I am talking about simple evolution.

    Coastal areas are rich in resources, and we have a long natural history of animals adapting to take advantage of these resources. Of course we have whales and pinnipeds, but we also have relative newcomers like the sea otter, which has adapted to an aquatic lifestyle quite recently in terms of evolutionary timescales.

    Animals can and do adapt and evolve to take advantage of these coastal resources. Why couldn’t some sort of primate or even early hominid do the same? Is there something special about primates that says they would not adapt to such environmental pressures? Of course not. That’s my point.

    Here is an example of one way something like that might come about. I’m sure I don’t need to explain this to you, but for the benefit of other readers who may not grasp it, I will.

    Let’s use a primate as an example. Any will do. Off the top of my head, right now there are populations of Japanese macaques that are known to forage for food in coastal areas, wash their food there, and even frolic in the water. This is a good place to start because they are already frequenting coastal areas.

    Let’s say one day, one of these macaques sees a nice juicy shellfish or something in the water and decides it wants that. It jumps in, grabs it and eats it. It’s good. It wants more. In fact, other macaques want in too, so they start copying the behavior. Before long you have these macaques jumping in the water to collect this food source on a regular basis. Over many generations, you might get one that can hold its breath a little longer, or has a mutation that somehow makes it able to swim a little better, allowing it to get more of this food.

    Fast forward a bunch of generations. By now, these shellfish have become a prime food source, so these more efficient swimmers have mated more frequently, passing on these genes to future generations. After many, many generations, you have macaques that are able to swim better, dive better, hold their breath longer, they could potentially display all sorts of aquatic adaptations.

    This is of course just a simple example, and there would be all kinds of factors involved, but there is nothing magical or particularly special about this scenario. It is simple evolutionary principle. This sort of thing has already happened before with many species.

    My thoughts on the matter here are, and what I was essentially saying, was that it could happen with some sort of primate just as easily as it could with a mustelid or any other type of animal. We have no real record of this ever happening with primates, and yes the Aquatic Ape theory has largely been debunked, but that does not mean that a primate adapting to aquatic environments could or would not happen. Whether it has actually happened or not does not change the fact that nothing about evolutionary theory says it can’t or shouldn’t happen with a primate.

    Animals adapt to their environments regardless of whether they are primates or anything else. So my question remains that if the environmental pressures of the Kei islands warranted it, could some sort of primate have evolved somehow to take advantage of coastal resources by evolving physical adaptations geared towards accessing coastal food sources? Yes, it is certainly possible. Did it in fact happen here? I don’t know.

    It would only have to even be partial aquatic adaptations to account for Orang Ikan sightings, and probably would be since they were seen on land as well. I am not saying that is what the case was here, but some kind of primate that has adapted to swim for its food is not an impossibility in the slightest. That was simply one avenue of speculation based on real evolutionary principles and known natural history of other similarly adapted animals.

    Your Jenny Hanniver hypothesis sounds pretty sound to me. I can see that being the case with the body that was shown to Horibe. I think it is a very interesting idea you have there, and is quite a reasonable conclusion. However, that still would not explain the live creatures that were being sighted by the soldiers and Horibe himself. I still wonder what it was they could have been seeing.

    I think the problem with these World War II accounts is that these sightings were made by people under stress. These were soldiers there to wage war, not scientists there to document and analyze. These mysteries were just a distraction from their primary objective. It seems that there is a good chance we could see misidentification, mistakes, exaggeration, maybe even full blown fabrication.

    Considering that no one ever went back there to follow up, these wartime accounts remain anomalies. It sure is fun to think about it though.

  4. DWA responds:

    mystery_man: nice post.

    Then of course there’s the crab-eating macaque, which has also adapted to include coastal resources in its diet.

    The stress under which soldiers operate raises more than one question. Since none of us – and no one Horiba and his men contacted back in Japan – were there, we have to consider this:

    Why would someone come back home and report something like this if they hadn’t experienced it? Why not just settle for being a war hero? I’ve certainly never had a hallucination of depth or length to begin to come close to matching it. And I’m willing to bet few if any functioning people ever have.

    Although there could be something to the Jenny Haniver theorem – although the description of the dead specimen sounds more than detailed enough to cast doubt on that – once again, as you point out, that doesn’t in any way begin to explain the live ones they saw.

    We don’t know, and who knows if we ever will.

  5. mystery_man responds:

    DWA- Right. It seems like if it was indeed a Jenny Hanniver, then it must have been a rather well done one in order to completely fool this trained sergeant.

    There is also the possibility that the body shown was some sort of FeeJee mermaid type gaffe. For readers who don’t know, this is basically a fake creature that is an amalgam of parts from several different animals.

    To be sure, some of these FeeJee mermaids were extremely well crafted. Many specimens were so well done that is was nearly impossible to see the seams where the various parts were attached, even under close scrutiny. In fact, the Japanese were long known for their exquisite craftsmanship of FeeJee mermaids, to the point that even naturalists of the day were sometimes fooled. It is possible that such an object might have fooled Horibe as well.

    I do wonder if the villagers of this island would have the capabilities or the motive to fashion such a flawless, well-made gaffe of this sort, though. FeeJee mermaids of this sort were expensive and highly prized in Japan, with only a small number of craftsmen able to make such realistic ones. I wonder if the villagers be able to do this or want to go through the trouble just to mess with the soldiers.

    Of course, even if the body was fake, we of course we have the sightings of live creatures to contend with.

    As for Horibe, whatever he saw truly disturbed him. He went through great efforts to implore scientists to go back and investigate. Whether he really experienced these things or not, the fact remains that he was freaked out about something he had seen.

    Alas, as you say, we may never know what was going on here.

  6. mystery_man responds:

    Then of course we also do not know how good a look Horibe got of the body in question. It seems that if he saw it close enough to discern perceived algae on its body, then it must have been fairly close. That algae reference is actually a pretty weird detail, I might add.

  7. DWA responds:

    M_m: exactly. It sounded like a good close-up review. Maybe details have even been lost in the passing down.

    Choosing years of ridicule over life as a war hero is a choice that …well, I’m not dismissing anything when someone made that choice. Particularly when I wasn’t there.

    Didn’t say it specifically, but great points you made about evolution. It does what it does. It’s not about perfect, it’s about good enough. Aye-aye and tarsier and gorilla and us: primates.

    There’s room for much in a range like that. And we have evidence, experts estimate, for about five percent of it.

  8. corrick responds:

    While Flores is much closer to other islands once connected to large land masses than those of the Kai islands you make an excellent point. In 2012 any animal can now appear virtually anywhere, yet history is littered with animals that appeared and were documented far outside their then supposid geographic boundaries and zoologically known as “vagrants.” I’m a huge believer in historical “vagrants” so I’m embarased. Point, set, match to you.
    You do understand that the Hundreth Monkey effect has largely been discredited?
    Funny you should mention Japanese macaques. I researched the “Dover Demon” almost ten ten years ago. Based on the descriptions and appearance my best guesses were either a barbary ape or a…Japenese macaque! Dover, btw, is a very affluent suburb close to Boston. University, hospital city with an early 70′s rich counter culture. A stretch, but more likely than an alien or a creature from native american folklore. I think.
    Back to the Orang Ikan.
    Comments:
    “it must have been a rather well done one in order to completely fool this trained sergeant.” Which implies he was educated and not easily fooled. How do you know this? Have you personally interviewed him? Anecdotal evidence only, but in 1970 I was promoted to Sergeant after only five months in the Army. And I was still 18. How trained and smart do you think I was then?
    “that villagers of this island would have the capabilities or the motive to fashion such a flawless, well-made gaffe of this sort…”
    How do we know this “gaffe” was well-made or flawless?
    “FeeJee mermaids of this sort were expensive and highly prized in Japan, with only a small number of craftsmen able to make such realistic ones.” Meaningless. Different culture, different values. And again I must add, Indonesia is the historical home for Jenny Hanivers.
    But you are a smart guy so you already know my main point. That nothing except original source material matters. Ten years, twenty years from now if this event is ever cited in a book in the English language it’s not unlikely Taro Horiba might be described as an officer and zoologist.
    And anyway, the body and sightings don’t need to be of the same creatures. Only in the mind of the beholder…Taro Horiba

  9. mystery_man responds:

    Corrick- The Hundreth monkey effect is irrelevant, and is not my point at all.

    The Hundreth monkey effect is more the idea that after a certain critical mass, if you will, the behavior will instantly jump to other populations. The information spreads from one group to all related groups, even across geological boundaries. In fact te original research described it as behavior jumping across to nearby islands.

    The idea that some critical number is reached when a behavior mysteriously “jumps” to other groups is of course questionable, but the concept that animals can learn through repetition and observation has not been called into question or discredited. It is actually well documented and established animal behavior. Surely you are not denying that animals, in this case primates, learn behavior from each other at all?

    Many animals do share information between themselves as well as learned behaviors. In the case of primates, this is not any strange phenomenon, but rather interaction between highly intelligent animals. Chimpanzees even display passed down behaviors that some might even say resemble a form of culture.

    Anyway, I was not talking about the Hundreth monkey effect at all and it as no bearing on anything I’ve said. I was not even really focusing on learned behaviors. My example was meant to focus on the evolution of species to adapt to environmental pressures and how this might happen. Many species have adapted to in just this way to aquatic environments. I would hope you are not implying primates are somehow special or exempt from this.

    As to our good sergeant, indeed I do not know for sure what happened. I was not there and of course I did not interview him. I have no idea, and you are right that only the original report matters.

    Unfortunately the original report does not give much to work with. We only know that he saw it close enough to see apparent algae on the body, that it was no species that he had ever seen, that it exuded a smell, that he truly believed it to be real, and that it deeply disturbed him.

    I would add that different cultures and different values don’t really equate to different abilities to be fooled by a fake or different perceptions of what looks real. It either looks like a real animal or it does not. It is either a fake crafted to the point where it fools the viewer into thinking it is an actual animal or it does not.

    I don’t think my point of high quality craftsmanship of the Japanese concerning gaffes is meaningless. Many FeeJee mermaids found their way throughout the world and many were made by people in other countries. Do you know which were consistently held up as of the best quality and the most realistic under even close scrutiny? Ones made in Japan. These were highly thought of outside of Japan as well, and many of the most famous ones were traced back to Japan.

    I meant to illustrate that the best quality fakes were made in Japan and that it was not easy to do. Only a handful of craftsmen were known to do such good quality fakes. Differences of culture or not, in order to make a gaffe that can fool even a trained naturalist under scrutiny (as they were known to do back in the day), you have to have some level of skill.

    This was a well known skill in Japan, and the fakes manufactured there were highly regarded. If it looked like a real animal and fooled droves of people, it invariably turned out to be of Japanese origin. I have researched and written several articles on this matter. Do you know if this was this a skill known in the Kei islands? Do you know for sure that they were able to craft such gaffes?

    True, maybe it was not a well made fake, but if it was a fake, then it sure was well made enough to scare Horibe. It must have been at least decently made to have such an effect, I would say. A soldier at war could have been completely taken in by badly made fake to the point that it frightened him and haunted him for the rest of his days, I suppose, but I wonder about that.

    I think you have pretty good point about the difference in what was sighted and what was seen in the purported dead body. They may be totally unrelated. That is a good question and I wonder how closely the two matched. I don’t have enough information to say.

    Anyway, thank you for your good input. It is good to attack these things from all sides and you have a good, critical approach. I only wish I had more on this account to work with.

  10. mystery_man responds:

    corrick- I also meant to mention that if it came down to a gaffe made from various animal parts or a Jenny Hanniver, I would go with Jenny Hanniver in this case. I’m not sure of the islander’s gaffe making abilities, but as you say, Indonesia has a rich history of Jenny Hannivers and under the right conditions they could be rather realistic and frightening looking.

    I also suppose that if the sergeant was not familiar with many animals or such constructed fakes, one could potentially appear to be something quite mysterious. I do not know what the exact viewing conditions were, only to say he seems to have gotten a good look at whatever it was if he indeed saw “algae” on it.

    Anyway, I am not opposed to the idea that what he saw was fake. I do think that without knowing just what kind of person Horibe was, it is hard to say just what he saw or what quality of fake would have that effect on him. He could have been so stressed at the time that a dead dugong could have scared the pants off him. Who knows.

    I am just looking at the options. Don’t get me wrong, Jenny Hanniver is not an unreasonable hypothesis in my opinion. Heck, for all we know, the story is highly exaggerated or even fabricated. Like I said before, this was not his objective, he was a soldier, not a scientist, and he was likely under a great deal of duress being far from home in wartime.

    The potential for an unreliable account seems to be high.

  11. corrick responds:

    Don’t misunderstand me. Learned behavior by animal species is pretty much Zoology 101. It is with the non firsthand teaching jumping part of the Hundreth monkey effect I take exception. And it’s not just questionable, but shown to be false. From Stephen Gould on down…your pick, Just junk science ESP imho.

    One last thing on the Orang Ikon story which I feel is illustrative of how important it is to try and understand the history, the geography, the knowledge of the people involved, etc, etc, before trying to make guesses about any unidentified animal sightings.

    Case in point. Taro Horiba’s eyewitness testimony from the chief’s home is the strogest, most detailed, intriguing evidence for the Orang Ikon. And even if still alive, I have no doubt that Taro Horiba would pass any polygraph test.

    But consider this. The sighting took place in 1943 on an obscure small island. Outside maybe a small gasoline driven generator at the Japanese command post what other electricity existed there? Zero.
    Horibe describes his one and only close-up view of the creature as when one EVENING he was summoned by the chief of the nearby village and viewed it, “sprawled out upon the grass at the chief’s home.” By candlelight? Torchlight? Full moon?

    On some of your other posts, just from my POV for what it’s worth. You might be on to something about introduced large crayfish in Japan. If there is any Japanese wolf DNA left, dog wolf hybrids would seem by far most likely. I know too much about pinnipeds. The Japanese sea lion is definitely extinct. RIP.

    Again, I appreciate all your article posts. They are always well-written, researched and it’s refreshing to read posts from an author who understands the the importance of critical thinking. Look forward to reading more.

  12. mystery_man responds:

    corrick- You’ll get no argument from me on the Hundredth Monkey Effect. It is not just your opinion, it is junk science. “Questionable” is my diplomatic wat of saying “bunk.” Anyway, it is totally irrelevant to my point. I was in no way referencing it or advocating it in any way and I’m not quite sure why we are even discussing it. Hudredth Monkey has really absolutely nothing to do with anything I’ve said or any of the principles I was trying to explain.

    I was trying to use an albeit very simplified illustrative example of how a geographically isolated population of animals, in this case primates, might evolve to their environment, in this instance adapting to take advantage of a new food resource that may lead to the evolution of aquatic traits. I am not in any way talking about non firsthand teaching or spontaneous transference of knowledge to other populations across boundaries or really anything whatsoever to do with the Hundredth Monkey effect.

    As a matter of fact, I am saying the exact opposite in that this would be an isolated population of primates evolving in this fashion over time to their own unique environment or to access new resources. This is one of the very cornerstones of speciation. Sometimes this works out with terrestrial animals going aquatic or vice versa, and primates are not exempt from these principles. An aquatic adapted primate is really no less a biologically sound possibility than an aquatic anything else, of which we have many.

    This was what I was getting at. I do not wish to have my example misconstrued as anything other than what it was meant to be. I’m not talking about Hundrdeth Monkey or any other such hogwash. This is really a quite simple concept I was attempting to illustrate in my example. I’m talking about simple evolution 101.

    It doesn’t really matter to any great degree anyway since we have no evidence whatsoever that this has occurred on the Kei island and it is really just speculation on possibilities, not a formal hypothesis on the matter. However, it is not some magical, outlandish notion that could never possibly happen. It has happened with other animals. Maybe it did with monkeys in this habitat and if it did here’s how something like that may have happened. If that did happen, then sure enough that maight just look like something in the reports for the Orang Ikan. That was my gist.

    As for the body that Horibe witnessed, I think you are perhaps onto something with the Jenny Hanniver. The viewing conditions were at night and probably far from ideal, Horibe was no doubt under duress, a lot of things could have contributed to a false identification. In addition, I suppose it is true that it would not have to necessarily be a good Jenny Hanniver or other fake, just good enough. How good was good enough to fool Horibe to such a degree? Was it indeed a fake at all? Sadly, we don’t know and probably never will.

    As for Japanese sea lions, well… yes they are probably extinct. However history has surprised us on too many occasions with the reappearance of animals that were proclaimed definitely extinct by people who knew too much about them or all about them for that to really be such a 100% sure thing. Extinction is a tenuous classification.

    In the case of the Japanese sea lion? Yes, most likely extinct, I think it probably is, but history has shown us on many notable occasions that nature has a way of overturning statements like definitely extinct. RIP..

    Anyway, I appreciate your input on these things, and it is valued. I find your questioning, critical approach to be refreshing and you often make very good points. I am glad you enjoy my articles and appreciate the feedback.

  13. corrick responds:

    mystery_man
    My apologies. Think we both agree that the Hundredth Monkey Effect, when closely examined is nothing more than, junk science, voodoo science or pseudoscience. Whatever. And similar to the Aquatic Ape hypothesis. But can’t deny their popular appeal though. .
    Anyway, never read anything you’ve written that makes me think we disagree on basic zoology or animal evolution.
    Moving on. One last thing on the Orang Iknon. Horibe had one good look , but under what we might surmise were less than ideal viewing conditions. And what he saw stunned him. One might fairly ask, why didn’t he return the next day to view it under better conditions? Maybe the villagers said the corpse began to stink so they thre it back in the ocean.. Or? Who knows? I’m an Occam’s razor kind of person so the Jenny Hanniver idea works best…for me.
    About the Japanese sea lion. Among mammals, marine ones particularly have historically demonstrated an ability to bounce back from man’s best attempts to exterminate them. Guadalope fur seal, e.g. Still, all seals “haul out” to breed. And northern fur seals are not exactly unknown in northern Japanese waters. Like to believe, but…
    Think it’s time to close this post. Look forward to your future ones.

  14. mystery_man responds:

    Corrick- Yes, I hope we are on the same page now with what I was saying with regards to zoology and evolution.

    I think you make a very good point about Horibe going back and viewing the carcass again. I’ve often wondered that myself. Why wouldn’t he if he was so sure that what he saw was real? Why wouldn’t he go back and check it out if it had disturbed him so much, or for that matter take any kind of evidence away from the encounter?

    Maybe he tried and the corpse was gone, but I think it probably boils down to what we’ve already established; that it was wartime, he wasn’t a scientist, and this wasn’t his mission. Maybe he wanted to go back and take a look under better viewing conditions, but his duties prevented him. He wasn’t there for studying animals, and probably had his plate full with other responsibilities.

    He may very much have wanted to. You were a sergeant, and I’m not sure if it was during wartime or not, but I’m sure if the locals showed you something that scared you silly, you’d want to take another look if it was at all possible. However, you’d probably have other duties to attend to and it might be that that carcass you saw would have to remain sitting there eating away at the back of your mind.

    In the end, as much as this may have disturbed him, Horibe had a job to do, he was there to wage war, not study mysterious animals. This was likely just a diversion and a distraction from his true objective.

    What did he see? What would he have seen if he had gone back to see it again in better conditions? I wish I knew.

    Anyway, this has been a great discussion. This is why I post these things. I want people who have an interest to question things, put out their own ideas, to offer insights. You have done a fine job of that. I want people to give input, consider this stuff, and to throw in their two cents as you have done here. If I have made you or anyone else think deeply on these issues at all, then that is fulfilling to me and makes it worth it for me to keep writing about these mysteries.

    I appreciate you taking the time to come out and discuss this. I thank you for engaging me on this and for your good input.



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