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Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

DALE DRINNON: The Skunk Ape

It seems that the best evidence is that there exists a sort of native orangutan in the south-eastern United States. Loren Coleman has been by far the most active investigator in this matter and therefore, I pass on his information without comment. I for one have never questioned the value of his original research in this matter.

The tracks are, however, different than the other orangutan-like creatures reported further to the south in the American tropics: it walks flat-footed. It leaves tracks generally like those of a chimpanzee. It is supposed to walk upright more often than the usual apes, although it still goes down on all-fours sometimes. It also seems to do an unusual amount of swimming and wading for an ape.

There have also been some purported and highly disputed finds of fossil teeth and skulls supposed to be related to it. It does seem that it inhabits a climate zone parallel to the Japanese macaques ('snow monkeys') and it eats primarily acorns and nuts in season - possibly stock-piling them for lean times - and it is especially fond of fruit when it can get any, but it also eats birds and eggs (and is blamed for raiding henhouses). These latter comments are my observations from the reports and not necessarily those of Coleman, although I would dare say he would agree with those remarks.

Here is the Wikipedia entry on the Skunk Apes:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skunk_Ape

The Skunk Ape is a cryptid said to inhabit the Southern United States, from places such as North Carolina and Arkansas, although reports from Florida are most common. It is named for its appearance and for the unpleasant odor that is said to accompany it. Some reports say the skunk ape is so stinky because it rolls itself in animal carcasses to get people to leave it alone. According to the United States National Park Service, the skunk ape exists only as a local myth. Reports of the Skunk ape were particularly common in the 1960s and 1970s. In the fall of 1974, numerous sightings were reported in suburban neighborhoods of Dade County, Florida, of a large, foul-smelling, hairy, ape-like creature, which ran upright on two legs.

Myakka photographs

In 2000, two photographs of an alleged ape, said to be the Skunk Ape, were taken anonymously and mailed to the Sarasota Sheriff's Department in Florida. They were accompanied by a letter from a woman claiming to have photographed it on the edge of her backyard. The photographer claimed that on three different nights the ape had entered her yard to take apples from a bushel basket on her porch. She was convinced it was an escaped orangutan. The police were dispatched to the house numerous times but when they arrived the Skunk Ape, also known as the stink ape was gone. The pictures have become known to Bigfoot enthusiasts as the "skunk ape photos".

Loren Coleman is the primary researcher on the Myakka photographs, having helped track down the two photographs to an "Eckerd photo lab at the intersection of Fruitville and Tuttle Roads" in Sarasota County, Florida.

The Myakka photos can be seen at http://www.lorencoleman.com/myakka.html The main criticism of the photos is that the body does appear to be rather shapless with no anatomical hallmarks visable, but that is also true in the case of known big male orangutans covered in long shaggy hair.

2 comments:

sluggo said...

I finally saw the monster quest episode dealing with the topic of skunk apes. I really feel that there is a 100% possibility of these creatures living in the noted areas.Some of these sawmps and wetlands are impossibly huge and unable to be searched thoroughly therefore it is quite understandable that many different creatures could live their entire lives without discovery.
I was quite disappointed when at the end of the show one of the scientists claimed that they thought the pictures of the skunk ape were not real..They look real enough to me !

CenturySon said...

Like the big, hairy hominid reports from outside the southeast, there have been too may over the years to dismiss the skunk ape as a legendary myth. However it's surprising the "Myakka Skunk Ape" photos are still regarded as credible or authentic. There are evident signs of photoshopping in the series of photos and taken along with the accompanying witness letter point to a prank or money-making scheme. It's tempting to hope they're something more given the comparatively scant photographic evidence for the animal and hopefully one day the authentic snaps will be taken and an investigation find the truth.