Sasquatch Coffee

From Russia, With Love: Dr. Meldrum Comments {Update}

Posted by: Loren Coleman on October 13th, 2011

Today, Dr. Jeffrey Meldrum, Associate Professor of Anatomy and Anthropology and Adjunct Associate Professor of the Department of Anthropology at Idaho State University, is on a flight back from Russia, after attending events arranged in Moscow and Siberia by Russian hominologists. Before he left, he passed along to me his insights regarding some news items reported here previously. (Other related postings about the international media and the conference are here and here.)

Vadim Makarov (International Cryptozoology Museum collection)

Meldrum writes:
“The conference aspect of this enterprise has been a reasonably productive effort overall — illuminating at the very least. The ‘expedition’ which was supposed to be nothing more than a field trip to visit some sites and get a feel for the surroundings, turned out to be something quite different in the minds of the organizers, placing the invitees in a rather awkward and uncomfortable position. But yesterday, I spent the day with Dmitri Pirkulov and Vadim Makarov, one of the new generation of credible researchers and one of the old guard. I was permitted to examine and make molds of several footprint casts. For me this was one of the highlights of the experience here!”

Here is yet another version of what happened on that “field trip” to the cave.

Meldrum sends this along for October 13th: “A point of clarification. The Cave site is near Tishtagol in the Kemerov District. This is not eastern Siberia, but rather south central Siberia, near the western border of Mongolia. It is in fact quite near the site of the recently described Homo denisiova.  The DNA analysis of this species places it outside H. sapiens and H. neandertalensis, or as the sister group to the latter.  However, an associated molar is quite large, on par with australopithecine dentitions, which is quite interesting.  Although the evidence encontered in the cave on this field trip was not reliable, in my opinion, I hope the attention brought to the cave will promote archeological exploration there soon, possibly shedding more light on the Denisova hominid and any relation it may have to reports of relict hominoids in the region.”

Meldrum Speaking at IUS

Dr. Jeffrey Meldrum Lecturing

Additionally, with reference to this posting, “Exaggerated Snowmen Claims Not Good For Cryptozoology,” skeptic Benjamin Radford sent in the following comments publicly to Facebook (which were then imported to Cryptomundo), going beyond my point and taking to task cryptozoology overall:

“‘Exaggerated claims’ and hoaxes tend to make up the bulk of what passes for cryptozoology…I have three shelf-fulls of books on cryptozoology FILLED with exaggeration.”

In response to my call for some critical thinking regarding Radford’s own exaggerations against cryptozoology, Ben Radford replied:

“I’d agree with you that there are many cryptozoologists who do not make exaggerated claims, but if you’re talking about the bulk of crypto literature, I’d say exaggeration (often of evidence) is more common than not.”

Specifically, addressing these comments, Jeff Meldrum gave me permission to share his rebuttal:

“Tell Benjamin that unless he has at least looked into the facts of a new event, he should hold his peace, to put it politely. As I have criticized him before — he needs to learn to discriminate between the academics who are trying to go about this rationally and the amateur enthusiasts collectively, which encompasses a wide spectrum of reliability. The comment referring to his bookshelf is like relying on creationist literature for information on evolution!”

To which, Ben Radford replied publicly, again on FB:

“Huh? What is Jeff complaining about? All I said was that cryptozoology is rife with exaggerated claims. I wasn’t referring to Jeff at all… in fact the only researcher I mentioned by name was Grover, and I gave an example of one of his exaggerated claims.”

The specific object of all this discussion at the conference is, of course, the population of Siberian Snowmen in eastern Russia:

This Siberian Snowman (illustrated above), which was individually named Mecheny by the eyewitnesses, is the Harry Trumbore drawing from Loren Coleman’s and Patrick Huyghe’s The Field Guide to Bigfoot and Other Mystery Primates.

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.


15 Responses to “From Russia, With Love: Dr. Meldrum Comments {Update}”

  1. PikeBigfoot responds:

    It is people like Dr. Meldrum who have open minds and let the scientific facts speak for themselves that give this field the much deserved credibility it needs.

    In regards to Ben Radford, he should remember that one can’t speak for all and that many, more often than not, can’t speak for a few.

  2. BUKWASBOO responds:

    Everyone must remember that Radford along with a couple others is a PROFESSIONAL Skeptic. It’s what he does and how he gets his name out there, he’s the skeptical “go to” guy right now, so we should just keep that in mind.

  3. Hapa responds:

    Dang, Meldrum laid the smackdown!

    I’m glad he is speaking out about this expedition, and what it entailed. I wonder if the Yeti track or tracks in question will show any signs of dermal ridges and other evidence of legitness (even if it doesn’t, its a very, very, very unlikely possibility that someone faked it out in the Siberia wilderness, for crying out loud!).

    Hope more is forthcoming

  4. bigfootsdad responds:

    I agree with Dr. Jeff Meldrum’s statement concerning Benjamin Radford’s overall criticism about cryptozoology. Mr. Radford states, “I’d agree with you that there are many cryptozoologists who do not make exaggerated claims, but…” But what? This is precisely what Dr. Meldrum is trying to emphasize to Mr. Radford. Be discerning in your analysis Mr. Radford and differentiate between the amateurs and the professionals/scholars and their claims. As Loren states about Radford’s comments that he went “beyond my point and (took) to task cryptozoology overall.” Oh wait, then Mr. Radford would have to admit and address that there are cryptozoologists making legitimate claims.

    To clarify [above], when I quoted Mr. Radford as saying, “I’d agree with you that there are many cryptozoologists who do not make exaggerated claims, but…,” the “you” he is referring to is Loren Coleman and not Dr. Jeff Meldrum, as may have been inferred.

  5. bigfoots responds:

    + 1 @ Dr. Jeff Meldrum’s comment

  6. DWA responds:

    “I’d agree with you that there are many cryptozoologists who do not make exaggerated claims, but if you’re talking about the bulk of crypto literature, I’d say exaggeration (often of evidence) is more common than not.”

    So?

    Anyone with a science degree (whoops!) would know how to handle this situation:

    STICK TO THE CRYPTOZOOLOGISTS WHO DO NOT MAKE EXAGGERATED CLAIMS.

    The others are obviously saying nothing worth listening to. Listen to the ones who are.

    Would you take every single sci-fi comic you’ve ever read into account in determining the feasibility of the projects on NASA’s plate at the moment? Of course not.

    So why take every single babble or drivel that anyone professing any kind of interest or expertise in cryptozoology has uttered or written as being the core of cryptozoology?

    If I call myself a physicist and write 100 pages on the topic – much of which would have perforce to consist of random ball scores – do you stand me next to Einstein when evaluating physics as a science? Apparently Ben would.

    This is where the scoftics show the essential intellectual bankruptcy of their position. Rather than focus on the solid scientific treatment of the evidence practiced by such as Meldrum, they just say: Gad, look at all this fluff. None of it makes any sense! It relieves them of having to do any intellectual heavy lifting at all; and the public’s general ignorance allows them to get away with it.

    Glad I could clear that up. See? Easy.

  7. Redrose999 responds:

    Jeff said it better than I could. Way to go dude!

  8. muircertach responds:

    Nice words, but there still exists no evidence. In these modern times, when we have technology that seemed unbelievable only 20 years ago, how is it that still not one clear photo or video exists? With the millions of hunters in North America alone, still not one body? I would love for bigfoot to be real. But sadly, I just no longer think its possible.

  9. Sadoronak responds:

    Muircertach writes:

    Nice words, but there still exists no evidence. In these modern times, when we have technology that seemed unbelievable only 20 years ago, how is it that still not one clear photo or video exists? With the millions of hunters in North America alone, still not one body? I would love for bigfoot to be real. But sadly, I just no longer think its possible.

    No evidence? Footprint casts, body impression casts, hair and DNA evidence amount to nothing? So what then? Shall we give up looking? Ignore future eyewitness accounts and hope they all just stop suddenly?

  10. DWA responds:

    muircertach:

    You sound as if your hopes and dreams have been dashed.

    This isn’t about hope. Or dreams. It is about evidence, of which there is LOADS. The incredible volume of consistent evidence for hairy hominoids is the only reason this site interests me.

    (OK, there’s lots of other stuff that does. But that is why I came here, and why I stay.)

    I have explained why there’s no proof so many times here (search the bigfoot threads and look for DWA) that I won’t go into depth again. Suffice it to say that too many in this discussion don’t understand the difference between evidence and proof, which is:

    Proof is evidence that science says is proof.

    Period.

    And when science does not want to see something it can be incredibly hard to get them to see it.

    The technology is irrelevant. If you are not going into the woods with the specific purpose of getting a clear, undisputed photo of a bigfoot (or a mink, fox, coyote, wolf, bear, wolverine, etc.) you won’t. Period. Some dude totin’ a cellphone may get a pic

    (and people have this),

    but it won’t prove anything.

    I’ve never ‘hoped’ and never been ‘sad’ about anything in this field. (Except that some cryptids may go extinct before science confirms them.) It’s exciting, and more exciting every year. The evidence continues to build, a monster pile that someday science may choose to stop ignoring.

    Cryptomundo does not exist because of people’s desire to believe. And that’s not why Meldrum – a scientist, remember? and one of the best in a directly relevant field – is on this case.

    It is the EVIDENCE.

    When you see a site called Unicorns: Believe! that has this many hits, and this many blogs, look me up.

    The evidence says: these animals are probably real, and it’s probably only a matter of time until everyone knows it.

    And that is all that counts.

  11. Greg102 responds:

    I find it quite suspicious and how convenient that they go to visit the cave just for a “field trip” observation, and lo and behold there is a hair, footprint, bedding, and tree marking. It’s like they hit the motherload of evidence. Wow that is quite convenient, especially with news reporters and journalists along for the ride. They call it a yeti hair, but has there been any tests of it? Obviously the legitimate guys like Meldrum and Bindernagel got sucked into this 3-ring circus. Anything Igor Burtsev is involved with I take with a grain of salt. I’m not saying he is a hoaxer, but he is very gullible (carter farm claims in TN), and he could’ve been hijacked by some other Russian researcher who planted some of this evidence, and Burtsev believes hook line and sinker! As far as Radford is concerned, we have to wake up and realize all cryptozoology is “exaggerated” claims. Bigfoot hasn’t been proven to exist scientifically, so any evidence for his existence is exaggerated. Sorry but the “holy grail” of footprint is the cripple foot, but Krantz didn’t take into consideration the back story and Ivan Marx who is the hoaxer of all hoaxers was involved with that and it’s obviously he is the one who hoaxed those footprints. Anyone who reads all of the facts of that case can come to that conclusion easily. Just google it, and you will find all of the background material on the cripple foot and how they were discovered, and all of the facts, and then the cripple footprint comes into focus as worthless in my opinion. So in conclusion, we have to keep looking for “real” evidence, so as to not be seen as exaggerated as i do think its possible sasquatch is out there, but he is not in that Russian cave that’s for sure!

  12. schrodingercat88 responds:

    I don’t think we should be attacking Radford or any skeptic. The field needs skeptics more than those who believe any claim without substantiating evidence; that only discredits the field. As a famous skeptic once said: Our minds should be open, but no so much that our brains fall out. I’m in the scientific field and I know things can get ugly amongst scientists. This is not a case of “missing link” scenario where whatever evidence is found, some fundamentalists will still claim we cannot “prove” evolution. Rather it is the opposite. Yes we have footprint casts, eye witness reports, etc., but we do not have substantiating evidence. I may sound like the skeptic I am, but we cannot make such a claim without solid biological evidence. Some chide skeptics by saying we are not convinced until we see a body. Why is this said in such condemnation? Why does one believe so strongly without it? As a scientist, it is no problem for me to say this is intriguing evidence, but also as a scientist, I have to refrain from saying it is an absolute.
    The job of a scientist is to gather data, analyze, and present the evidence. This is what both Meldrum and Radford are doing. However we must avoid saying: we have a footprint, therefore so-in-so exists. I’ve spoken with Radford personally and I think he would agree that he is not trying to discredit anyone, but offer other explanations and warnings for those going into the field. If we believe any blurry blob taken by a witness to be strong evidence, we are failing as scientists.
    To be credible, the data has to take all variables into consideration. Failing to do so is not science, it is willing suspension of disbelief. Radford is merely pointing out that much exaggeration occurs in the field and as cryptozoologists, we must be wary of such claims. We cannot add merit to the field without discrediting some fanciful claims.
    Jeff Meldrum is an excellent cryptozoologist and scientist. He deserves to be one of the most well-known cryptozoologists. Radford also. There needn’t be personal attacks against either.

  13. red_pill_junkie responds:

    I know this is rather immature of me, but I like that last pic of Meldum because he seems to be thinking “keep it up, bub, and you’re gonna have a close encounter with THIS!” ;)

  14. muircertach responds:

    I have yet to see any DNA evidence. You can have all the sightings and casts in the world. It does not change the fact that in a limited area not one body has ever been produced. The technology does matter. With the amazing advancements in photography and video cameras why still do we have nothing? Google Earth for that matter,while not perfectly clear,has yet to show anything we are unable to explain. Looking at my own home on there I am able to see my son in the backyard.

    I am aware there are a few very good scientists who look into this. And some do think there is something to it. But even they have nothing solid. It is going to take a body plain and simple.

  15. DWA responds:

    muircertach:

    You’re not going to get any DNA evidence when samples are recklessly thrown out (sometimes by the lab they were sent to), or not even collected by laymen who didn’t understand, or only later realized, their value. These instances are legion in the sas literature.

    When everything on this topic is sneered at, science can’t get a foothold, unless it spends sufficient time in the field. The time that has been spent, total, on gaining evidence, in all the years it has been sought, is less than a couple solid expeditions’ worth. None of these people work together, and so nothing adds up to anything that interests science.

    Until science’s hands-off attitude changes, you won’t get conclusive evidence for the sasquatch if one passes my door every morning at 8:45 a.m. (And I film it, religiously, and put every instance on YouTube. And cast tracks, and send in hair, etc.) This is the fundamental skeptical misunderstanding on this topic: unless science is engaged, you have nothing, no matter how many encounter the phenomenon.

    The Patterson-Gimlin expedition is the only true sasquatch hunt in history. Three days is a field trip. Three and a half weeks, on horseback, in an area of many recent encounters, with solid planning and a clear objective, now you’re talking. Patterson brought back compelling evidence, of several types…that was ignored.

    You will get nothing as long as the scientific mainstream does not take this topic seriously.

    PERIOD.



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