Friday, January 14, 2011
That's MISTER Sasquatch to You!
Everybody has heard legends and folklore about Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Yeti, Abominable Snowmen, or other names assigned to large, humanoid/ape-like creatures that supposedly live in remote wildernesses. Movies have been made spoofing the subject (e.g., Harry and the Hendersons , starring John Lithgow, Melinda Dillon, and Kevin Peter Hall, and directed by William Dear, who, believe it or not, got his directorial start with Michael Nesmith's pioneering music videos). Did you know that Nesmith (of The Monkees TV and music fame) invented MTV? His mother invented Liquid Paper. Amazingly talented people. But I digress.
These legends (I'm back to Bigfoot) appear in folklore worldwide. Could there be a historical root to these stories? Are contemporary sightings factual or fanciful? In short, could it be possible that these figures are actually survivors of other branches of the human family tree long thought extinct? Could Yeti be Neanderthals? Could they be some other near-relation to apes and humans?
Anthropologist Myra Shackley considers the evidence in her lively analysis, Still Living? Yeti, Sasquatch and the Neanderthal Enigma (New York: Thames & Hudson, 1983). Our book trailer below sheds some light on the subject.
I'm no sabertooth, but even I know that there are some species previously thought extinct that have been rediscovered in modern times (the most famous example is the Coelacanth). Scoffers scoff (what else would they do?) that it would be impossible for Hominid ancestors to remain undiscovered in today's world, but one must remember that there are still sparsely populated regions on the planet where such beings could survive (or even thrive) in isolated splendor. Shackley presents the evidence in an objective fashion, so we should do her the courtesy of keeping an open mind while weighing her arguments and reasoning.
You may well ask why I, a feline (and obviously superior life form), should care whether there are still multiple species of people stomping about on the planet. The plain truth is that cats like me (so-called "domesticated") need humans as servants. Good help is so hard to find these days. If there were more human (or human-like) folks around, then my dinner dish could be refilled much more frequently than is the current practice (op. cit., my previous comment about good help), and there would be more hands available for back scratches and cheek rubs, and there would be more ankles against which we felines could rub. Such a world would be an improvement, provided that people remembered that we cats are the bosses! (If people need somebody subservient, they know where to find slobberdogs.)
Homo Sapiens Sapiens (that's you, assuming you're a modern human) were once only one type of Hominid on a planet swarming with various different humanoid species (but not all living contemporaneously). Survival of branches thought extinct is a tantalizing possibility, if for no other reason than the dinner dish-refilling perspective. It is a mystery worthy of closer inspection.
Hey, I just realized that The Monkees would be a Hominid pop band, so that reference ties-in nicely with this general discussion. Now, I'm not suggesting that Michael Nesmith is a Neanderthal; he seemed like such a nice fellow on the television program (1966-1968 on NBC, then Saturday mornings of CBS for several more years of reruns). I know this because Scowl-Face has the entire series on videotape, which is a virtually extinct technology. Or perhaps not? Have there been "VHS sightings" equivalent to Bigfoot? Do VCRs continue to survive in remote pool halls or other dank human hangouts?
If you can find a copy of Shackley's book, be sure to read it. Still Living? will give you pause for thought and make you scratch your head a bit. But why not scratch behind my ears instead?
Pretty Sure Neanderthals Worshipped Cats (Like Who Doesn't?),
Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Large Dude News Beat
P.S. Doesn't Sasquatch sound like an oversized Cabbage Patch doll? If you missed the 1980s (remember, I've got nine lives), then Google it.