Myakka And Multiple Models Again

Posted by: Loren Coleman on February 11th, 2011

Alton Higgins recently wrote a detailed critique of the History Channel’s “Bigfoot: A Definitive Guide.” I feel, in general, Higgins is on target.

Myakka Debate

That is with one exception. Higgins wrote: “Coleman…was apparently (I’m guessing) the source of the so-called ‘Myakka Ape’ photos briefly flashed on screen. Their inclusion was an embarrassment to the program, which had enough problems as it was, and served as evidence that the producers did an inadequate job of researching their subject. In a 2004 article, based on conference presentations from 2003, I laid out a number of reasons why I believed those photos should be discounted. The fact that the Myakka affair was given any heed, ‘even after quite explicit evidence has shown it to be a hoax,’ as Jeff Meldrum wrote in 2004, is frustrating.”

Claiming “quite explicit evidence” for a hoax for the Myakka photographs is not grounded in any reality that has ever been proven, firmly demonstrated and published. Where’s the smoking gun? Where’s the convincing evidence of a hoax? Think about it. That is a remarkable claim. No one has proven a hoax was behind the Myakka photos. Period.

Theories, yes. Proof of a hoax, no. Besides, I have no horse in that battle, and continue to say I don’t know what was photographed.

I’ve written about these Myakka photos extensively, including in Bigfoot! The True Story of Apes in America (NY: Simon and Schuster, 2003). You may consult the quick details by merely clicking here.

Myakka Ape

Myakka Ape

Myakka Ape

Making such a claim as Higgins and Meldrum have is on the same level as “claiming” that there is a “man in the suit” playing the Bigfoot seen in the Patterson-Gimlin footage, just because someone “thinks” it looks like there is and someone has a pet theory for the horsehide, er, cowhide, and/or circus gorilla costume that was allegedly used.

Higgins also placed this in the review too: “I did think the panel made some reasonable deductions in proposing that the yeti, mande burung, and yeren all represent the same species, the likely descendents of Gigantopithecus. I also think it’s safe to presume that this was not an issue upon which Loren Coleman, who prefers to think in terms of present-day multiplicities of elusive unknown hominoids (even in North America) was consulted!”

Grover Krantz use to get angry at me because he felt I was undermining the scientific acceptance of Bigfoot/Sasquatch in academia. I disagreed with his position that Science would consider Bigfoot more logical if his position that Yeti, Yowie, Yeren, and Sasquatch were all the same species was preached by everyone. Jeff Meldrum has taken up this same point of view, in the wake of Krantz’s death.

Of course, what Krantz was talking about is not too different from the paleoanthropology in which he was raised. Indeed, those dark days in anthropology when only one species of hominid was thought to have existed in recent prehistoric times is fast disappearing.

Today, it is clear that the prehistoric world of hominoids was concurrently populated by Homo sapiens (modern humans), Homo floresiensis (hobbits), Homo neanderthalensis (Neandertals), Homo heidelbergensis (Heidelberg hominids), perhaps Paranthropus, and now Denisova hominin (X-woman). There is even some indications that Homo erectus survivors lasted longer in some parts of the world than others.

The view of multiple forms of unknown hairy hominoids existing at the same time is not some theory new with me, of course. Long before Mark Hall, Patrick Huyghe, and Loren Coleman took up the cause of multiple answers in hominology, others had walked the walk and talked the talk. Myra Shackley gets some credit here. The Russians have thought this way for decades and certainly both Ivan T. Sanderson and Bernard Heuvelmans were open to multiple types of hairy hominoids being the answers to the diversity of reports.

I still find it simplistic and shortsighted that American Bigfoot researchers continue to think that the “one species” approach is the avenue that works the best. The evidence shows us something else is occurring, and the longer we live, the fossil record reinforces this insight too.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. 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. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

9 Responses to “Myakka And Multiple Models Again”

  1. Ulysses responds:

    I have to agree with Loren on the Myakka Skunk Ape as here are the photos! Read ’em and weep AND prove them a hoax. Yes there are controversies surrounding the photos but looking at the Patterson film , people still do not know what to believe. There it is , all the sciencetists prove by analysis it’s real but there is still that lingering doubt! In the cryptid community I see a lot of division amongst fellow enthusiats and researchers instead of help from one another as it is in the workplace today and everywhere else: The best way to make yourself look good is make someone look bad! From his writings and postings Loren proves day by day to be above all these things and I for one appreciate and cherish this man of moral intergrity and commitment.

  2. Rob008 responds:

    With everything that has be said about the Myakka photos, I still feel that there is to these photos. the animal in the photo does resemble an ape of some sort, but it does not look like a man in a suit. BFRO was too quick to dispell this photos, but they have been known to do that ,unless one of their investigators took the photo. I think more investigating needs to be done on the Myakka photos. We need to find out who took them and where were they taken.

  3. dharkheart responds:

    A photo, or video, of a thing neither proves, nor disproves, its existence. Due diligence is what is required to make an informed decision, one way or the other. I give no credence to someone who says something doesn’t exist on the basis that they don’t believe it exists no matter what their degree or expertise.

  4. DWA responds:

    “I still find it simplistic and shortsighted that American Bigfoot researchers continue to think that the “one species” approach is the avenue that works the best. The evidence shows us something else is occurring, and the longer we live, the fossil record reinforces this insight too.”

    I agree. I also agree that the evidence for the Myakka photos is just like the evidence for “the” sasquatch: it points to authenticity.

    As I said in another recent thread: MORE SPECIES DOES NOT MEAN MORE VISIBLE! If every sighting of a North American hairy hominoid is discounted, there could be ten species and it wouldn’t matter. Many “juvenile bigfoot” sightings include no nearby adult. Why couldn’t those be of a second (or more) species? The current ape roster substantiates this: wherever there is one ape, there is another.

    I also consider the “Giganto hypothesis” overly simplistic. Most sasquatch sightings I am familiar with don’t sound anything like anything I have seen presumed on the admittedly-scanty Giganto evidence. We are finding new fossils every year. Why can’t it be possible that the fossil progenitor(s) of unconfirmed hairy hominoids hasn’t (haven’t) been found yet? Why can’t it possible that it’s something(s) other than Giganto on the currently accepted fossil primate roster?

    As someone who thinks like a scientist, I like to reiterate the following advice:



    No. 1. is precisely the fundamental misstep of bigfoot skeptics: they presume that a comprehensive false positive is supported by evidence, when it is in fact supported by none at all. It is the problem of those bigfooters who seem to think that all the evidence points to one species, when my read shows no reason at all to PRESUME that. It is also the problem with PRESUMING Myakka a fake: my take on the photos is that it was an innocent private individual who saw something odd and took pictures. The story seems to hang together. It’s just like P/G, when you compare them; there’s no reason, i.e., evidence, to PRESUME that this is faked. A scientist’s suppositions, however educated they may be, must be supported by evidence.

    I see the mainstream’s fundamental error in this whole thing to be as follows: since there is no proof, there is nothing to do here, no need to follow evidence. We can just put our hands over our eyes and ears and continue presuming the mundane.

    A host of errors proceed from that one.

  5. Bigfootfinder responds:

    Most Evidence for Bigfoot is Anecdotal evidence.
    (Eye Witnesses, Footprints, Photos, and Videos )

    I would consider hairs of Bigfoot as Scientific evidence.
    If order to Prove the Existence of Bigfoot we would need mire Scientific evidence. As in a Body dead or alive.

    I believe it is almost Impossible to find a dead animal or animals in Forests. (That’s why we have not found any)

    Other Reasons could be they Bury their dead or go off somewhere hard to find and die after a while.

    I Believe it is Possible to capture a Bigfoot without harming him or her.
    But it would be very hard to.
    But it is worth trying.
    But Use a Cage or something else that is very strong.

    One day I plan on trying to capture a Bigfoot in a unharmful way.
    (I will give it multiple tries and it will be attempted in a area that had alot of Bigfoot sightings)

    Mostly likely somewhere in Washington or California.

  6. wuffing responds:

    When I look at published close-ups of the “hand” I see one of the foreground fronds casting a continuous shadow onto background fronds and the spaces between them, which suggests to me that the background is a flat surface. I also see that the shadow is below and to the right of the object casting it. That means the lighting is coming from a point well above and to the left of the photographer – not what I’d expect from a camera with a built-in flash.

    In the skunk ape/orangutan comparison photo on this site one frond casts a shadow upwards onto the “beard” while only a few inches away, down and to the right, another frond has its shadow beneath it. How did she manage to do that?

    When I superimpose one photo on top of the other, using the least cropped versions I can find, I get an almost perfect frame alignment – an unlikely coincidence if the lady was shooting into the dark at something she couldn’t see. It is more consistent with someone using a tripod.

    I don’t want to speculate on how the pictures were made but there are so many things inconsistent with the story that I’m sure that no animals were frightened in the making of them.

  7. Cryptidcrazy responds:

    There is absolutely no proof what so ever, that the Myakka photos have been faked. Do I believe they represent a real photo of a skunk ape? That depends. I believe that it’s a photo of an escaped Orangutan. I always have. The are several species of monkeys and apes that have been illegally released into the everglades and it is an area that these creatures can thrive. If this is what people have been seeing and claiming as a skunk ape, then I guess it is a skunk ape. If people have been seeing some other creature, then it isn’t. This does not, have any impact, when it comes to my belief in bigfoot. I still believe that there is a large, bipedal, apelike creature that roams much of the United States, but mainly in the pacific northwest.

  8. todreynard responds:

    The photos and story are fascinating and a bit confounding, to say the least. The animal does look a lot like an orangutan, but the size and many of the features do not conform with the popular conception of the orangutan. Pondering whether the highlighted digits were fingers or, maybe, toes, I stumbled on Darren Naish’s “Encounters with Giant Orangutans” while searching for images of orangutan feet. Naish quotes from John MacKinnon’s In Search of the Red Ape (Collins, 1974) –
    “I was nearly home when I saw a terrifying spectacle. For a moment I thought it was a trick of my vision. A huge, black orang-utan was walking along the path towards me. I had never seen such a large animal even in a zoo. He must have weighed every bit of three hundred pounds. Hoping that he had not noticed me, I dived behind a large tree. I was in no state to defend myself, or run from him should he come for me, and I could recall clearly the natives’ terrible stories about old, ground-living orangs. I held my breath as the monster passed within a few feet of me and let him get about forty yards ahead before I followed in pursuit. He was enormous, as black as a gorilla but with his back almost bare of hair; Ivan the Terrible was the only name I could think of.”

  9. shadowprime responds:

    Granted – this is totally subjective on my part – but I do think that at some point, increasing the number of large, humanoid cryptids we claim are “running around”, unproven, begins to strain credibility. I understand that this IS subjective on my part – I can’t defend some sort of formula… “ giant hairy cryptid? Sure. Two..okay. Three? Hmm…well…. FOUR? Okay, I draw the line at FOUR!” *S* … but I do feel it becomes a much harder “sell” on an intellectual AND emotional level. Look, if something, or multiple somethings, are “out there”, they are OUT THERE, regardless. Got that. Just saying.. to me, as we up the numbers, it starts to push the “can I buy into this” boundary. For me, for what that is worth….

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