The Dodu: Man Beast of Cameroon – Africa’s Own Sasquatch Part I

Posted by: John Kirk on April 13th, 2006

Some readers may no doubt know of Ivan Sanderson’s delightful book Abominable Snowmen – Legend Come to Life. In this very readable tome, written in Sanderson’s classic Scottish old-school intellectual style, the wily naturalist makes reference to the unknown bipedal hominids of Africa, some of whom were small in stature. Most notable is the Agogwe of East Africa which is really a miniature hominid similar to the Orang Pendek of Sumatra in that it is short, has reddish-brown hair and is rarely seen.

So too is the Séhité of the Cote d’Ivoire, one specimen of which was supposed to have been captured by a hunter and put in a cage. The leading local official was scandalized by this reddish hair covered little man thing and ordered that it to be clothed and sent to the capital Abidjan, by way of Bouaké. Unfortunately there is no record of what happened to the little red hominid.

There is also the unclassified Kalenoro of the island of Madagascar which is said to stand about a metre (3 Feet) tall and is possessed of feet and hands which each only contain three digits. It too is a hairy creature, but has dark hair all over its body. None of these purported hominids is by any means of the stature of the unknown hairy bipeds we know of in North America. Reported sightings of these African creatures are decidedly rare and can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

I was privileged to be part of a group of explorers who were the first white men to hear of the existence of another manlike creature in Africa. My purpose in being in Africa was not to seek hominids, but rather to seek answers to mystery of Mokele-mbembe. It was quite by chance that we stumbled across this unknown man beast thanks to an illustration in Loren Coleman’s book The Field Guide to Bigfoot, Yeti and other Mystery Primates Worldwide.

In November 2000, Dr Bill Gibbons and Dave Woetzel had carried out a reconnaissance in preparation for a full-scale expedition aimed at locating and documenting a Mokele-mbembe. While showing Baka pygmies and Bantus illustrations of the usual suspects thought to be the most likely candidates for Mokele-mbembe. They looked at drawings of apatosaurs, diplodocuses and brachiosaurs, but then, while casually flipping through the pages, they caught sight of a drawing by Harry Trumbore which appears in Loren’s aforementioned book.

They were surprised by the appearance of this creature in a book the white men from far away had brought. They asked Gibbons and Woetzel how they knew of this creature which, they said, was sometimes seen in the general region around where the pygmies encamped in the forest. The white explorers replied this animal was from Madagascar, far from the Cameroon forests and couldn’t possibly be the same creature. The pygmies were adamant that this was the creature knew as Dodu because there in the illustration was the telltale distinguishing feature which was the presence of only three digits on the hand and feet rather than the five found in the primate realm. Gibbons and Woetzel did not really know what to make of this peculiar beast.

It was not until a subsequent expedition to Cameroon that Gibbons would receive a clearer picture of what the Dodu was. You can read more about that in Part II.

John Kirk About John Kirk
One of the founders of the BCSCC, John Kirk has enjoyed a varied and exciting career path. Both a print and broadcast journalist, John Kirk has in recent years been at the forefront of much of the BCSCC’s expeditions, investigations and publishing. John has been particularly interested in the phenomenon of unknown aquatic cryptids around the world and is the author of In the Domain of the Lake Monsters (Key Porter Books, 1998). In addition to his interest in freshwater cryptids, John has been keenly interested in investigating the possible existence of sasquatch and other bipedal hominids of the world, and in particular, the Yeren of China. John is also chairman of the Crypto Safari organization, which specializes in sending teams of investigators to remote parts of the world to search for animals as yet unidentified by science. John travelled with a Crypto Safari team to Cameroon and northern Republic of Congo to interview witnesses among the Baka pygmies and Bantu bushmen who have sighted a large unknown animal that bears more than a superficial resemblance to a dinosaur. Since 1996, John Kirk has been editor and publisher of the BCSCC Quarterly which is the flagship publication of the BCSCC. In demand at conferences, seminars, lectures and on television and radio programs, John has spoken all over North America and has appeared in programs on NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, TLC, Discovery, CBC, CTV and the BBC. In his personal life John spends much time studying the histories of Scottish Clans and is himself the president of the Clan Kirk Society. John is also an avid soccer enthusiast and player.

7 Responses to “The Dodu: Man Beast of Cameroon – Africa’s Own Sasquatch Part I”

  1. Loren Coleman responds:

    Thank you, John, for kindly sharing this story and thus it was incorporated in the new 2006 edition of The Field Guide to Bigfoot and Other Mystery Primates, a sterling example of how such illustrations can be used in the field.

  2. fuzzy responds:

    There are many reports of three and four-TOED Squatch-prints, but I can count the finger-counts on the digits of a Kalenoro’s hand.

  3. One Eyed Cat responds:

    Sanderson’s book you mentioned is in the public Library of my county’s largest city and yes I have checked it out a couple of times.

    What caught my atttenion here is the name of this reported homid as Sanderson talks about reported South American homids with a similar – though not exact same name.
    ah well something else to look into

  4. jayman responds:

    One Eyed Cat, I believe the South American creature is the “Didi”. I think there is a discussion of it in Loren’s “Field Guide…” refernced above.

  5. One Eyed Cat responds:

    Yes Believe that’s it Didi. It just caught my attention the word was the same length and so close to the spelling. Curious.

  6. mark responds:

    Listen, children, while I preach:

    Consider the cross-cultural differences in views about cryptoanimals. Those of European descent or a Euro-derived culture are infected by the dualistic virus that split religion and science a few centuries ago. Rationalism, to them, is a dry and narrow desert in which only a few species of trees can grow. It is the retreat of the s-k-e-p-t-i-c, which is an insult to true skeptics, who are neither cynical nor lazy. The Western mind, unbalanced to begin with, is tilted even more because most of us live in cities or large settlements and have no contact with or understanding of nature.

    But there are three continents where a different mindset prevails, and people are still more tied to the land and accepting of what they see, not prone to questioning their own eyes or others’ eyes due to pseudo-rationalism. The first law of the universe: everything is possible! These people understand this intuitively.

    If you really want to be scientific, ask yourself: why is the human family tree so small and, currently, single-branched? Every other genus has plenty of variations. Where are our cousins? Well, it appears we’ve been doing a good job of killing them off for many millenia, but some are still left, enough to be seen every week in every part of the world. Because our era marks the ascent of sapiens and the possibly terminal decline of our cousins, it’s easy to pretend that they never existed. Maybe we don’t want to admit it. Who ever wants to admit genocide? Why don’t we undertake recovery projects, as we’ve done with the cheetah and the wolf, preserve their habitats, make contact, and give them sanctuary? It will be easy once we simply ADMIT THAT THEY EXIST. O lonely Western man in your desert, I dare you to touch the rainforest!

  7. Mnynames responds:

    Oh he touches the rain forests, my friend, unfortunately, he makes of them just another desert…

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