Ce texte a été présenté le 18 mai 2003 lors de la Convention annuelle de
l’ International Bigfoot Society, à Hillsboro dans l’Orégon ( USA ).
Was Homo erectus, assumed to be "our ancestor", in reality a kind of Wildman exhibing aquatic habits ?
What are the exact relationships connecting the Pithecanthropus to us, Homo sapiens ?
And what is the matter with the Neanderthal who formerly populated Europe ?
They are the questions we will try to answer during this talk...
In former publications, I already evoked an aquatic origin for Man, starting from very old [ i.e.,
pre-vertebrate ] marine life forms.
As I emphasized, of course, there was no question of a relationship from the Pithecanthropus ( also
called Homo erectus ), who is undoubtedly more recent ( Plio-Pleistocene ).
As a matter of fact, the Initial Bipedalism Theory I am referring to, claims that gracile
Hominids with round cranium developed from the first bipedal Vertebrates ( 1 ).
Regarding quadrupedal Mammals, as we do know them, they have evolved at later stages. So we can affirm that
Humans are not descended from the Simians. On the contrary, Man is within the starting point towards all other lineages
of Primates issued !
Logically, this reasoning is also for the fossil Hominids with a robust constitution, like the Pithecanthropus
and the Neanderthals...
The lecture, which follows there, is devoted.
For understanding, the audience must keep in mind that the marine habitat I first describe is
of the Earth of Paleozoic Ages : At that time, early Vertebrates ( called "Homonculus" )
were wading bipedally out of the ocean and colonized the continent.
Later on, in the case of the Pithecanthropus, I will evoke a more recent maritime or lake
environment ( Plio-Pleistocene ). In that kind of habitat, the anatomical and structural modifications
towards a robust constitution occurred. It was the origin of Homo erectus.
About LARVAL STAGES
In Zoology, it is often essential to know the appearance of the larva,
in order to define relationships between Animal groups.
Let’s take for example the Crustaceans.
These Invertebrate animals are equipped with a solid armor, and often with claws. One can easily distinguish
a crab ( which has an internal abdomen ) from a lobster ( which has it unfolded ).
But there are also Crustaceans, which have the aspect neither of a crab, nor of a lobster...
Let’s consider the barnacles ( Balanus ) that cover the rocks at the edge of the sea :
One regularly takes them for shells ! Or even, the goose barnacles ( Anatifa ),
which live, fixed on a flexible stalk of floating wood. One can easily confuse them with some mollusks !
But you can find better examples. Parasites of crabs, like the Sacculine, the aspect of which has nothing to
do with that of a Crustacean... Within the interior of the host crab, the parasite Sacculina is but a diffuse cluster,
of which the only proven goal is to reproduce !
Then, what makes a zoologist recognize that all these Animals are related to the common
crabs or shrimps ? Quite easily... while going to inspect their larva, the Nauplius, typical
of the Crustaceans !
Comparison of some Crustaceans
developing the same larval form : nauplius
from left to right : Cyclops ( shrimp ), crab, barnacle, Lepas anatifera
and the parasitical Sacculina ( in black outline ).
A same larval stage ( nauplius ) indicates
a relationship between adult forms although
they don’t really look alike...
On the other hand, a same larva like nauplius
suggests an origin from common ancestors
that were not very different from today Cyclops !
[ after SARRE 1993 ]
As a matter of fact, when the larva reaches adulthood ( we call this
process : ontogeny ), the characters specific to the adults appear. That makes possible to reconstruct
the evolutionary history ( = phylogeny ) of the whole phylum !
We see also on the illustration that the Cyclops has remained morphologically
near to the Nauplius, which is not the case of Barnacles and Sacculine.
Conversely, one can deduce from this sketch that the Nauplius represents an ancient
stage in Crustacean evolution !
What is now valid for the Crustaceans is also valid for other Animal groups, including the
Vertebrates to which we belong...
What was, indeed, the appearance of the marine creature whose evolutionary stage was
comparable with the Nauplius in the Crustaceans ?
Common ancestor’s reconstruction
of the mammals, birds and reptiles
above, from left to right : man, dog, bird, tortoise
below : ancestor’s reconstruction [ Homonculus ]
In the same way as Crustacean larva [ Nauplius ] is considered
to be close to common ancestor,
a marine Homonculus is considered to be an original form in
with most affinity to ’modern’ human anatomy,
whereas quadrupedal mammals, birds and reptiles have developed further specializations !
[ after SARRE 1993 ]
Fig. 2 shows us a reconstitution of the evolution of some Vertebrates. One can see, below,
a marine Homonculus with round big head, asserted to be at the origin of the Vertebrate phylum
( 2 ).
Just like the Cyclops compared to the Nauplius, Man has remained, anatomically and
morphologically, nearest to the original prototype !
On the basis of these considerations, we will now support the thesis that Pithecanthropus
( and Neanderthals ) are in fact post-sapiens Hominids, adapted to a lake or marine environment.
By the same occasion, we will come to speak about Wildmen, like Bigfoot, whose
survival would constitute an argument moreover in our demonstration !
PITHECANTHROPUS or "HOMO ERECTUS"
In the sediments of Pleistocene, dated between 2 million and a few tens of thousands years
ago ( 3 ), one can find almost everywhere in the world the remains of a man with
an anatomical constitution closer to ours, but whose cranium presents a sort of bony visor above the eyes...
Of course, this type of Hominid showed a great variability of forms, in space and time.
From a biological standpoint, this intraspecific diversity is quite normal.
His commonly retained species name is Homo erectus, even if the paleontologists often use
other denominations, such as : ergaster, georgicus, antecessor, heidelbergensis
or "archaic sapiens"... The Pithecanthropus produced several branches which were themselves subdivided ( marine,
lake, forest populations ; hairy and not hairy, small or large individuals, for instance ).
Within the framework of today lecture, I would use the term : "Pithecanthropus",
despite the misleading etymology ( = "ape-man" ; the ape, indeed, is a quadrupedal Primate that
has nothing to see with our present study ! ).
Pithecanthropus erectus is the scientific name given in 1894 by Eugene Dubois, a Dutch army doctor,
after his first discoveries in Java.
One could also adopt the name "Pongoid" ( meaning : showing simian aspect )
forged by my late friend Bernard Heuvelmans and by Ivan T. Sanderson, but this designation had been
originally selected for a specimen of truly Neanderthaloid type ( 4 ). It can also be
confusing as Pongo refers to Apes.
In any case, in the scenario ( Initial Bipedalism ) suggested here,
as well for the Pithecanthropus ( erectus ) and for the Neanderthal ( neanderthalensis ),
it is necessary to note a manifest anteriority of the Humans ( sapiens ) of the gracile form
in the course of evolution.
In other words : Homo sapiens would have preceded Homo erectus...
The PROCESS of DEHUMANIZATION
Regarding now Neanderthal, his features are undoubtedly not "primitive", but rather the consequences
of special physiological adaptations and the result of specialization.
In the Mousterian period, Neanderthal represents a Hominid type existing side by side with our ancestor,
Homo sapiens, in Europe. They co-existed, and then the Neanderthals seem to disappear abruptly.
In the course of the XXth Century, several paleontologists have spoken of a subspecies,
Homo sapiens neanderthalensis ( by the same occasion they gave us the flattering label :
Homo sapiens sapiens, or "twice wise"... ! )
But we shall argue that the Neanderthal type ( corresponding to a real anatomical break )
differs too much from our species. In my opinion, Neanderthal represents even a separate genus
( 5 ). The majority of his distinctive characteristics ( osteological differences,
genetics, general aspect, way of life... ) have a classificatory value, greater than the value of the zoological characters
made use of in Mammalogy for classifying into a separate genus... were it a question of another mammal ( rodent,
ruminant, feline) not belonging to our Hominid family !
We have to consider the Neanderthals and the Pithecanthropus as our cousins :
they are big hairy Primates, with an upright body posture ( obligate bipeds ! ), unlike
Pongid apes who most of time adopt a quadrupedal gait on ground ( knuckle walking ! ).
We are dealing, indeed, with specialized post-human lineages :
Homo sapiens has existed prior to them ! The genealogical tree ( fig. 3 ) shows
us the relationships among recent Hominins : the evolutionary branch to which the Pithecanthropus belong,
started about 2 million years ago, whereas the Neanderthal line is younger, about 500 kya.
showing ( left, yellow ) the common Sapiens lineage during Plio-Pleistocene,
on the right side developing into Pithecanthrope ( orange )
or into Neanderthal ( green ),
who gradually became more suited to water habits,
then returning to a more terrestrial existence in forests !
[ after SARRE 2002 ]
How did these 2 separate species evolve ? What is the "dehumanization"
or "dehominisation" ? ( In Latin, it means : de homine, i.e. "from the Man" )
In 1974 Bernard Heuvelmans, the well-known French-Belgian zoologist gave this name to
a process of specialization which moves species away from the Sapiens lineage.
In this way, dehumanization is a continuation of evolution as far as
not Homo sapiens is concerned,
but of one ( or two ) daughter-species evolving separately !
Skull bone densification [ thickening ]
by comparing Homo sapiens and a neanderthaloid stage
[ median sagittal section ]
Showing the passage from an original kind of skull,
i.e. a round-shaped
and gracile sapiens-skull ( left ),
to a more robust neanderthaloid-skull ( right ),
by thickening of bone structure [ see text ] especially around the cranial sinuses.
[ at right : brown punctuated parts of the skull are indicating bone densification ]
Antero-posterior skull elongation, through a thickness increase in
parietal / occipital / temporal bone tissues.
Densification ( thickening ) of the bone structure around the frontal sinuses, that causes
prominent brow ridges and a sloping forehead.
The nasal bone structure is protruding, because of growth changes and densification all around.
A robust chinless mandible replaces the gracile jaw with chin, typical for Homo-sapiens.
The basal occipital part of the cranium is massive and elongated, but showing no structural difference with Sapiens.
[ after LEROI-GOURHAN 1983, redrawn ]
The fig. 4 shows us two craniums, the one is Sapiens ( left ),
the other ( right ) is of a dehumanized individual ( either a Neanderthal, or a Pithecanthropus ;
we will see the differences further ).
If we compare ourselves with hominians of the neanderthalensis or erectus hypodigm,
we clearly see -in spite of the obvious relationships- that we are NOT completely similar !
While being based on the craniums ( fig. 4 ), the clearest differences are :
A stretching in the antero-posterior axis ; skull much flattened ; forehead very receding.
Orbital arches enormous, forming a continuous ridge.
Facial region very large and projecting.
Base of the nose situated in a deep depression.
Nasal apophysis of the maxillary massive and projecting upwards.
Sub-nasal space is extensive [ sinus ].
Lower jaw strong and chinless.
Base of the cerebral skull as generally in sapiens ; the occipital foramen is situated just as in Man ( the
keystone of the cranial edifice is the base of the skull, formed by the basi-occipital, the basi-sphenoid, and the pre-sphenoid ).
The problem is how to explain these modifications from a gracile
to a robust form have occurred ?
My interpretation is that the bone has swelled, essentially around the skull cavities :
parafrontal sinuses, eye orbits, nasal area, ethmoidal fossa...
So we may explain the immense development of the supra-orbital arches, united into an unbroken ridge,
absolutely resembling the bony visor of the skull of gorillas, for instance !
The maxillaries are strong and massive, and project forward, like the nasal bone. The law jaw is
massive and chinless. Indeed, the presence of a chin is an essential Homo sapiens
characteristic ! It "locks" the sensible part of the junction of the 2 mandible branches, which otherwise would break
or move away...
In dehumanized forms, the robustness of the bone structure itself makes a chin
unnecessary... so this formation progressively disappears !
But you will now ask me the question : why would the osseous structure of the
skull ( and of the whole body ) begin to swell, to thicken and to solidify ?
It must be taken in a global context of densification of the structures. By a mechanism
we do not fully understand, the bones entering in the formation of the cranial cavity grows as demand is made on them
by the brain, in early fetal time. By the 7th month, the relative proportions ( brain - skull )
become approximately fixed. Then, during the four years of life, the brain and cranium grow on
rapidly ( 80 % of volume ).
So the changes in the cranial walls are secondary to those in the brain : it may explain
why Neanderthal, for instance, retained a big head... !
Ossification is done, as ossific fibres spread in a (meso)dermal tissue, thus forming a network
with osteoblasts and bloodvessels.
What we call "osteoblastic activity" is then sensitized by hormones formed in the pituitary gland.
Calcium and phosphorus are provided by the blood circulation. In a normal situation, mineralisation
is stopped when the structure becomes too robust, but if [ whatever the reason ] there is a dysfunction
in the biological mechanism, the superfluous calcium is not eliminated, and it comes to accumulation.
The bone structure, indeed, becomes thicker and heavier !
All this is regulated by enzymes and hormones that depend on genes, but also
on vitamins supplied by alimentation.
We understand here the importance of food in our everyday life ! On the other hand, some deficiencies
may lead to severe modifications, especially in the very sensitive cranium... It can induce the process
of dehumanization !
SPECIALISATION toward a WILDMAN
Human beings like ourselves present unique physical characteristics and mental aptitudes.
We are the product of our genes, but also of our civilization and general background.
Currently, the Earth is populated by about 6 billion people, among which some enjoy a high level of technological
comfort, while others live in the Stone Age... The majority of humans fall between these two extremes.
In the event of major problem, like the unexpected arrival of a large meteorite threatening a collision with
our planet, the high technology portion of Humanity would, it is believed, quickly solve the problem with the means at
our disposal ( rockets, explosives to deviate the course of the "geocroiser", an asteroid crossing Earth orbit ).
In case of in impact, and planetary cataclysm- it is not the Hi-Tech People who will have the greatest chances of survival... but the "primitive" wild people of the deep forests of Amazon and New Guinea !
Now, one can think that this kind of scenario had arrived several times. We know the massive
extinction of fauna and flora in remote times.
In the Solar System, the astronomers count many thousands of "geocroisers", and we have not made the
exact orbital calculation ! We shall also not forget the comets and other objects of small size which,
without destroying a whole zone of planet, can nevertheless cause huge damages by passing through the atmosphere.
I think of consequences which could result in the ozone layer depletion ( which protects us from solar radiation ),
or of disturbances in the terrestrial magnetism.
Already, this prospect recalls in us a recent destructive event in our planet’s history : the
Glacial Age, then the arrival in Europe of the Cro-Magnon people, then the sedentarisation during the course of the
Neolithic era, then the flash of growth in powers of the Humanity in only a few millennia !
We shall not forget that "neolithic" indicates a way of life, and not especially a time
period ( the word itself means "new stone" ). In Europe, the Neolithic era corresponds ( according
to the areas ) to the period between -6000 and -2000 BC, then followed the Bronze and Iron eras.
Admittedly, one always says that with the Neolithic era appears the sedentarisation, while insisting
on a "evolutive step"... But Man sedentarized quite simply because the populations got unceasingly more numerous ! It
became, indeed, necessary to nourish all that beautiful world, who could not live any more of hunting and gathering !
Chronological periods ( Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic ) were thought to a time
when researchers believed that Cro-Magnon evolved physically and intellectually from a Neanderthaloid man !
Even an anthropologist like André Leroi-Gourhan saw, only a few decades ago, an "evolution" in the way
of drawing horses ( -35,000 sober features, till to the perfection of Lascaux, -15,000 ya ). But this
was before the discovery of the Chauvet cave, oldest of all... and yet artistically most elaborate !
As a matter of fact, Cro-Magnon was really a true Man like we. It that time, the Earth ended a great period
of cold, under our latitudes, and it was necessary to start up again !
But there also were certainly zones in the Southern Hemisphere where the climatic conditions had
remained lenient ( we call these areas : refugia ). At any case, in a few millennia, Homo sapiens
is able to develop civilizations... and to proliferate all around the planet, like he does today !
We have evoked the process of dehumanization. In his famous work
of 1974 ( p. 450-451 ), Bernard Heuvelmans spoke of dehumanization as a normal
evolutionary tendency within Hominoids : "a tendency to which only Man in a strict sense would have escaped,
or more subtly, would not have let himself go...".
Already in 1961, the American scientist Ivan T. Sanderson evoked the case of adolescents
who grew in Norway in wet valleys, deprived of sun a great part of the year. They presented prominent jaws, shaggy hair,
short and arched legs, because of deficiencies in vitamins E and D. These teenagers, isolated from
society, gathered in groups, and ate raw small animals they caught ( 6 ).
As a matter of fact, we know now, following French anthropologist Anne Dambricourt
( 7 ), that even a tiny disturbance in the course of the cranio-facial ontogeny
can involve important disorders in the development of face and jaws. These modifications "could be transmittable",
Anne Dambricourt claimed. She told us of "generic memory".
Is this process an extra genetic phenomenon ? Sure, we are far from
a total knowledge of hereditary processes, including acquired features, in the case which occupies us. It would
deal with biodynamic interactions between the pressures of chewing, and the osseous structure of the maxillaries.
As a matter of fact, the facial region is closely connected to
the base of the skull : the whole constitutes a natural articulated unit, inducing
big ’architectural’ constraints !
We already talked about a thickening of bone tissue : calcium
ensured hardness ! If the osteoblasts recycle calcium badly, there is a dysfunction, and the bones
become too dense and too heavy ( because the surplus osseous substance is not degraded ). As we saw,
the whole process is controlled by enzymes, themselves regulated by vitamins and food !
If everything is going well, the genes code the necessary enzymes to maintain the normal gracile structure...
If there is some problem with the supply of vitamins ( like in the case of the Norwegian adolescents ),
all this beautiful machinery gets out of balance... The effects of lack of sun, worsened by forced food deficiencies,
are reflected on the individual in full growth, then induce an usual robustness of all bones !
One can imagine a specialization process now setting on : the acquired
compactness of the skeleton, and the forced elongation of the cranium, could proceed to
dehumanize individuals, and yield some advantages ( in a Darwinian sense of the word ).
That would be : in a semi-aquatic habitat, like in lakes, estuaries and at seashore !
In this hypothesis, Pithecanthropus and Neanderthals developed after catastrophic events
had disturbed the world climate : some populations stayed in the vicinity of the sea or great lakes, because
such an environment offered food and protection... And, of course, in water a large body would be
more easily supported !
The only problem of these Hominian populations would be ( from our point of view )
their increasing dehumanization...
But not to be forgotten : during these periods, Homo sapiens continued to live in protected sunny
areas along the equatorial line !
ADAPTATION or " EXAPTATION " ?
As you did remember, the main aim of this lecture is to recognize that Hominians
of erectus or the neanderthalensis type constituted robust post-human forms which once found
a favorable habitat in edge of sea or great lakes.
In fossil records, indeed, there are many indications for coastal or semi-aquatic habitats :
The famous "Turkana Boy" of Kenya ( 1,6 mya ) was discovered among fossils of the snail Pila ovata,
a Nilotic species that is occasionally reported from the Mediterranean coast of Israel ; so there may have been
an East African inland sea in Kenya at the beginning of Pleistocene.
The recently found Homo georgicus ( 1,8 mya ) lived near the Black Sea.
The erectus fossils of Java were unearthed in vicinity of beaches or in swamps near the main rivers.
Many paleontologists now argue that erectus had reached the Indonesian island Flores ( and then,
Australia ) although there were no land connection was during the Pleistocene ; instead of speaking
of "rafts", I personally would consider that they have swum across...
Also some Neanderthals, like the Saccopastore fossil, were found in river deposits ; even the skull-cap
of Neanderthal ( Feldhofer grotto, near the river Dussel ) ; it was then the discovery of the
Neanderthal Man, whose remains were rescued by Fulrott in 1856 and described by Schaafhausen.
As a matter of fact, erectus and neanderthalensis presented an "adapted"
body for fast swimming, and diving. The enlarging brow ridge could have been an eye-protective adaptation
in a hydrodynamic streamlined skull ! The receding flat forehead, too, can be understood as
an adaptation to water habits and diving.
Hominians had thick bones, and thick bones are typical of diving animals, like walruses,
seacows, babirusas, hippos, and also elephants... !
It is also the opinion of Belgian anthropologist Marc Verhaegen : Homo erectus evolved
diving abilities, and dispersed along the Indian Ocean coasts ( 8 ).
Can we really speak, as far as Hominians are concerned, of an "adaptation to water" ?
As the late Stephan Jay Gould explained : it is an error to claim that a character can be worked out by natural
selection. One should not mix historical origin and utility of a structure ! Thus, the densification
of the bones and the elongated cranium only permitted Hominians to occupy new vital spaces for them : estuaries,
mangrove areas, islands.
To be biologically correct, we shall speak of "exaptation", and not of "adaptation"...
Possible ’snorkel’ function of an upturned nose in water
Showing semi-aquatic hominid floating on water.The wide nostrils are kept open,
as the rest of the body is hidden under water surface.
Such an anatomical feature ( upturned nose ) could have been preserved
in more terrestrial hominids, matching today Wildman sightings
[ in North Pakistan, for instance ].
[ after Heuvelmans’ Homo pongoides, rendition : Francois de Sarre, 2003 ]
Fig. 5 shows us a Neanderthaloid swimming on his back and observing around in the water. The
very large frontal and paranasal sinuses created a form of pneumatisation, helping to keep the nasal region
above surface, for breathing... Indeed, large pneumatisation suggests surface swimming ! At the same time, a kind
of "snorkel" could have developed. As we saw it in fossils of Neanderthal, the nasal bone is consequently projected,
what could reveal an upturned nose, also in terrestrial forms, as Bernard Heuvelmans has emphasized ( in
connection with Minnesota Man ). In the early semi-aquatic forms, indeed, the nose could have
resembled a short proboscis, with upward oriented nostrils, able to be closed under water, like in hippos...
Marine Wildman on the shore
[ artist’s rendition and courtesy : Christian Le Noël ]
In Fig. 6, Christian Le Noel ( 9 ) represented
a waterman at shore, who could be a real Neanderthal, just before populations of his kind have returned to a more terrestrial existence
in Europe ( and possibly elsewhere on the world ).
Initially, the dense bones, short hindlimbs, clumsy body, pneumatisation of the face,
heavy brow ridges, low elongated cranium... are useful specialized features for a semi-aquatic way of life.
Later on, the same characteristics become useful for a terrestrial existence, especially under Cold Age
climatic conditions, as during the Ice Age ( 10 ), or while taking refuge in high mountains
or in deep forests.
Head of Homo pongoides [ in profile ]
with upturned nose
[ artist’s rendition : Alika Lindbergh, in HEUVELMANS & PORCHNEV 1974 ]
The reconstruction by Alika Lindbergh ( fig. 7 ) of the Homo pongoides
could indicate how today living population of Neanderthals are looking like !
PITHECANTHROPUS distinct from NEANDERTHAL ?
I already spoke of distinct ontogenies ( see fig. 3 again ), but undoubtedly the
audience will be curious to know now the essential differences between Pithecanthropus erectus
and Hyperanthropus neanderthalensis ?
When we examine the skulls and skeletons, we certainly notice that erectus had more massive
bones than neanderthalensis. First one had also projecting jaws that gave rise to a kind
of "muzzle" ( prognathism ), whereas the whole face of the second one
was "projected" ( oncognathism ). The average brain capacity of erectus was rather
small ( therefore, still within the natural variability of human kind... ) and his nuchal plane, formed by the
occipital bone was very inclined and angulous ( showing a pentagonal form ), whereas this part of the skull had
an almost circular contour in neanderthalensis.
But if we now consider the osseous structure in itself, there is a significant difference,
from a histological and phylogenetical point of view, between Pithecanthropus and Neanderthals !
This aspect was already studied by German zoologist Franz Weidenreich
( 11 ) : it consists in a noteworthy difference in the way the thickening
of the bones occurs !
In erectus, it is due to the densification of the outer and of the
inner tables of the osseous structure, whereas in neanderthalensis it is due to the densification
of the diploe, an intermediary layer.
That is a big difference, because it suggests that the 2 lineages are not close
relative, and chiefly, that they evolved separately ( see fig. 3 again ) from the beginning of their
branching off from Homo sapiens !
AQUATIC and TERRESTRIAL PITHECANTHROPUS
An artist’s rendition of my friend Robert Dumont from Paris shows us an aquatic Pithecanthropus,
with webbed hands and feet [ fig. 8 ].
Marine Wildman [ erectus ]
[ artist’s rendition and courtesy : Robert Dumont ]
We have emphasized that the very early Pithecanthropus had semi-aquatic habits. Therefore, they
could have colonized coastal regions in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and perhaps in the Americas... Indeed, after they
had become suited to water habits, developing the aptitude of swimming across wide ocean locations, they could
have returned to a more terrestrial existence along waterside forests.
On the other hand, we may suggest that at least a marine evolutionary variety
of Pithecanthropus had continued to live in the ocean, maybe until now.
There are perhaps sketches from Prehistoric ages showing aquatic Pithecanthropus
( fig. 9 ), like the etched bone of the Isturitz cave in Southwest France, aged 15,000 years.
Look at the clumsy body, at the receding forehead, and at the dorsal maned hair ! In my opinion, these 2 females
are swimming... Certainly, available was a good source of game and a food for the Magdalenian People of this region,
living not very far from the sea !
Recent reports, too, suggest that there are still marine Pithecanthropus
( 12 ). As a matter of fact, they could even walk on land, wherever they wished...
Later on, they are capable of remaining hidden in coastal forests. Maybe, some populations of marine
Pithecanthropus are even migrating from the ocean onto the land ( perhaps to reproduce ),
at this time and vice versa...
This could be the case in the Pacific Northwest area ( 13 )
and Bigfoot could be both a marine and a terrestrial creature ( although there are surely local sedentary
populations inland ). This would be an explanation why Wildmen are so elusive...
In my opinion ( and other bigfooters, like John Bindernagel, are
certainly thinking the same ), the best way to observe and to photograph Bigfoot would be to investigate in
archipelagos, like in the Vancouver Island area ( BC ) : There are a multitude of small islands, inlets
and straits, near waterside forest, where Bigfoot could be filmed, for instance when he crosses to reach a bank. It would
be ideal to use a small sailing ship. Of course, that is the work for a single patient man ( a kind
of "scrapper" )... and not for a noisy team of enthusiastic bigfooters, with heavy logistics !
Comparison of the fossil Homo georgicus
with a reconstruction of the Almasty
left : recently discovered skull in Dmanisi ( Georgia )
right : reconstruction of the Almasty, by M.-J. Koffmann
[ after LORDKIPANIDZE et al. 2002, KOFFMANN 1991 ]
Regarding now more terrestrial forms of supposedly still living Pithecanthropus,
we can notice the striking resemblance ( fig. 10 ) between the skull of the new found fossil from Georgia,
called Homo georgicus, and the reconstruction by Marie-Jeanne Koffmann of the Russian Wildman,
called Almasty in Caucasus !
Is the alamas a living pithecanthropus ?
A) Lateral view of alamas head
B) Contour of the skull
C) The probable form of alamas skull
[ by courtesy of Michael Trachtengerts -
Another reconstruction was made quite recently by Russian researcher Michael Trachtengerts
( fig. 11 ), showing the possible equivalence between Pithecanthropus erectus and an unknown
Primate from Tibet, photographed in 1991 by geologist Arkady Tishkov ( 14 ).
If the sighting is really authentic, and if Trachtengerts’ interpretation is correct, it would demonstrate that terrestrial
Pithecanthropus( liketodayin the Himalayas or in the Caucasus ) are capable to colonize high mountains,
a long time after their ancestors had left the sea-shore !
At the end of this study, 3 observations can be stated :
First,we have to form a new opinion on fossil Hominians of robust appearance.
As a matter of fact, we are not dealing with some "ancestors’ of ourselves, but we are dealing
with bipedal hairy ( 15 )Primates,
related to us, but in the same way as today living Gorillas and Chimpanzees !
They constitute separate lineages...
Secondly, the erectus and neanderthalensis hypodigms
are specialized semi-aquatic post-human forms, that are descended from the
genus Homo. They developed their specificity in water, before most of them returned to forests
by following the rivers.
Thirdly, in support of that, many sightings and reports about Bigfoot and other Wildmen
around the world, suggest that they are still linked to watery areas. There also could be some
migrations from the ocean to the land, especially in the case of the Pacific Northwest Bigfoot !
My brief study of the above arguments, from paleontological, zoological and histological views,
puts forward in favour of the existence of still living bipedal Primates, called Bigfoot or Sasquatch
along the Pacific Northwest.
Zoologically, Bigfoot appears to be almost certainly a large variety of the fossil-known
Pithecanthropus, perhaps similar to the Meganthropus, discovered on Java in 1941 by German paleontologist
Ralph von Koenigswald.
In fact, Meganthropus was a giant Pithecanthrope of gorilla size, and in my opinion,
he is actually the fossil Hominian who matches today Bigfoot !
BIBLIOGRAPHY & NOTES
(1) An approach pioneered by Max Westenhöfer ( 1926 ), Serge Frechkop ( 1941 )
and Bernard Heuvelmans ( 1954 ). See :
SARRE, Francois de ( 1994 ) : "The Theory of Initial Bipedalism on the question of
Human Origins", Biology Forum, 87 : 237-258,
University of Perugia ( Italy ).
(2) SARRE, Francois de ( 1992 ) : "Kamen unsere Vorfahren aus dem Ozean ? Über
aquatile Lebensweise des Menschen in den frühen Zeiten
seiner Entwicklung", Efodon News, 11 : 13-15,
Rüsselsheim ( Germany ).
SARRE, Francois de ( 1997 ) : "Were Aquatic Pre-Humans the First Vertebrates to
Enter Land ?", The CFZ Yearbook 1997, edited by
Jon Downes, p. 142-156, Exeter ( UK ).
BRUNET, Thibaut ( 2003 ) : " Etienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, revu et corrigé par la
biologie moléculaire", Bipedia, 21 : 1-11, Nice ( F ).
(3) Along present dissertation, I will make use of the Chronology commonly proposed
by paleontologists, for reader’s commodity ; but we must not forget that each
discovery of fossil men aroused sharp and prolonged controversy among
(4) HEUVELMANS, B. & B. PORCHNEV ( 1974 ) : "L’Homme de Néanderthal est
toujours vivant", published by Plon, Paris.
(5) See my article ( 2002 ) : "About the taxonomic status of Wildman from the
standpoint of Initial Bipedalism", in : CRYPTO - Hominology Special Number 2,
p. 73-78, edited by Craig Heinselman, Francestown ( USA ).
I created for Neanderthal the separate genus Hyperanthropus, meaning "beyond
Man" and suggesting a dehumanization process. In the same way, I proposed for
’Homo’ erectus to apply Eugene Dubois’ original name : Pithecanthropus.
From a zoological point of view, it would be judicious to use ’Homo’ in brackets,
meaning then "originated from". So we got : Hyperanthropus ( Homo )
neanderthalensis and Pithecanthropus ( Homo ) erectus...
(6) SANDERSON, Ivan T. ( 1961 ) : "Abominable Snowman : a Legend come to
Life", published by Chilton Bulk Company.
(7) DAMBRICOURT, Anne ( 2000 ) : "La Légende Maudite ou pour en finir avec le
published by La Nuée Bleue, Strasbourg ( F ).
(8) VERHAEGEN, Marc et al ( 2002 ) : "Aquarboreal Ancestors ?",
Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 17 : 212-217, Putte ( Belgium ).
(9) Christian LE NOEL is the Editor of the French cryptozoological magazine
"Hominology & Cryptozoology" [ 92 rue H. Lacroix, F-83000 Toulon ], and the
author of the book : "La Race oubliée" ( 2002 ),
published by 3 Spirales, Corps ( F ).
(10) RAYNAL, Michel ( 1989 ) : "Le problème de l’Homme Sauvage dans les
Pyrenées et la Survivance des Neanderthaliens",
Bipedia, 4, Nice ( France ), or :
ROCHE, Jean ( 2000 ) : "Sauvages et Velus",
edited by Exergue, Chambery ( F ).
[ about the reconstruction by Jordi Magraner of the
North-Pakistan Barmanu ]
(11) The diagnoses of Weidenreich are published by PELLIGRINI Beatrice ( 1995 ) in :
"L’Eve imaginaire", Payot [ Paris, Genève ].
(12) Robert DUMONT in Bipedia, 21, about a sighting of a marine man off
Terre-Neuve ( Canada ). "Merbeings" or other water Primates, quoting in
mythology or folklore, also include reports like that of the "Sea-Ape of the
Bering Sea", made by German zoologist Georg Steller.
(13) See : CROWE, Ray ( 1998 ) : "The Sea Man - A Salt Water Sasquatch",
Track Record # 76, Hillsboro, OR.
DORST, Adrian ( 2003 ) : "Vancouver Island Sasquatch Activity Increases",
BCSCC Quaterly, # 48, 3-4, Vancouver ( Can ).
See also the story of the so-called "Monster of Conser Lake", near Albany, OR,
in SANDERSON 1961.
On Russian cases, see Dmitri BAYANOV’s book ( 1996 ) : "In the Footsteps of
the Russian Snowman", edited by Crypto-Logos, Moscow.
(14) Arkady TISHKOV published his report in Cryptozoology ( vol. 12, 58-65, 1993-
1996, Tucson, AR ) : "Observation of a Yeti in the Himalayas of the Tibet".
Tishkov took several photographs of an unknown bipedal Primate, at a distance
of about 100 m, and Michael TRACHTENGERTS has blown up and enhanced
these photos ( see in : "Natural and Technical Sciences", # 1, 77-80, 2003, in
Russian, or also : http://alamas.ru in English ).
In 1991, Arkady Tishkov thought of a ’Yeti’ because of the creature’s cone-
shaped head, but it can be that it was the posterior ( occipital ) part of his cranium,
being lifted while the Hominian kept his face looking downward ( no neck was
visible ). The same circumstances, too, may explain the ’pointed’ head of Bigfoot
without having to refer to an alleged sagittal crest ( present in male Gorilla, and in
fossil Gigantopithecus or Paranthropus ).
(15) Hairy or hairless... ? Regarding aquatic ( and also terrestrial ) Primates, the
question about abundant body hair may remain must elusive... We know now
from Genetics that body hair ( or fur ) can disappear and re-appear within a few
generations. Let us think of the pig becoming a boar, or of hairless cats and
Marine mammals are often hairless ( sea-cows ), but they can also be hairy
( sea-otters )...
Another example is that of the Mammoth, which was called by paleontologists
"Elephas primegenius" because he was thought to be the absolutely primitive
form of the genus Elephas... Now, we know that the hairy Mammoth was, in
reality, the last and most specialized of the elephants !
An interesting parallel can be done with the Pithecanthropus, believed to be a
"primitive" Man by mainstream paleontologists...
François de SARRE
- In search of Miocene fossils -
Haag Lake, near Portland ( Oregon )
Photo : Ray Crowe - May 2003
Francois de SARRE, born in 1947 in Saarbrücken-Dudweiler ( Germany ), is a
zoologist and ichthyologist by training, educated at the University
He is President of the CERBI ( Study and Research Centre for Initial
Bipedalism ) in Nice ( France ) ; a Member of the SEI ( Societas
Europea Ichthyologorum ) in Francfort ( Germany ) ; a Member of the
Groupement d’Etudes sur la Bipedie Originelle in Paris ( France ) ;
a Scientific Consultant for the Deutsche Interessengemeinschaft
Kryptozoology in Berlin ( Germany ) , for the Association Française
de Recherche Cryptozoologique in Ligugé ( France ) and for the
Association Belge d’Etudes pour la Protection d’Animaux Rares
in Brussels ( Belgium ).