Sunday, September 30, 2007

Gigantopithecus in Upstate New York

I visited Hartwick College today, in Oneonta, New York. Or more specifically, the sculpture of Gigantopithecus, the largest primate ever. The sculpture was created by Kevin Andersen, as detailed on his website.

As you can see, the sculpture is huge (for comparison, I'm 6'2"). In fact, I think it is a little too big. Most estimates I've heard suggest that the ape was up to nine feet tall if it reared up on its hind legs. As you can see, the sculpture is that tall while resting on the knuckles of the arms. But it probably isn't far off.

Gigantopithecus is more famous than many fossil primates due to Dr. Grover Krantz and others who argued that modern stories of hairy men of the woods were actually living Gigantopithecines. Some, such as Sasquatch or Bigfoot or the other American hairy hominids are a bit far afield, but the Yehren and to some degree the Yeti have the advantage of being talked about and reported in roughly the area where Gigantopithecus teeth and jaw fragments (the only evidence for the genus) are found.

Other reconstructions, in part influenced by Krantz, depict Gigantopithecus as a bipedal creature looking a lot like stories of wild men and hairy monsters. On the other hand, the range and diet of these creatures suggests something more like an orangutan or even gorilla, and especially the panda, decidely less-Bigfoot-esque creatures in terms of behavior or locomotion. David Daegling discusses the issue of Krantz's reconstruction of Gigantopithecus and his identification of the genus as Bigfoot in Bigfoot Exposed: An Anthropologist Examines America's Enduring Legend, available through Amazon by clicking on the thumbnail link on the right side of this page.

I should note that despite the expectation of Bigfoot stories and accounts being at home in the Pacific Northwest, they do occur in Upstate New York, as discussed by the authors of Monsters of the Northwoods.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Shag Harbor UFO Crash Festival

I finished reading the book Dark Object on the Shag Harbor crash of October 1967. I have no idea why this well-documented UFO crash story doesn't get more attention. Anyway, they're starting a festival in two weeks.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Glenn Danzig's Book Collection

This is pretty damn funny. Even moreso if you've seen him buy a pool of elf blood on Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Anyway, the library of self-appointed "evil" rocker Glenn Danzig:

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Indiana Jones and the Next Year of Fielding Questions

As discussed by Mayanist Marc Zender for MTV, crystal skulls and their lore will be the center of the next Indiana Jones movie, currently being filmed. Zender notes their ties to "New Age" (come on, you can say occult, you know) beliefs, UFOs, etc. Though he doesn't note that with the exception of the Mitchell-Hedges skull, many have been traditionally associated with the Aztecs and not the Maya.

Anyway, I expect people will be bugging me for the next year about this, since:

I'm an archaeologist
I'm a Mayanist (the Mitchell-Hedges skull was supposedly "found" at Lubantuun in Belize)
For most people I know, I'm the resident occult expert

At least it will be break from answering the 2012 question all the time, though that will probably just go along with it.

Update 4/16/08: Interesting article in Archaeology Magazine takes advantage of the upcoming movie to present the history of the crystal skulls, and how they swirl around one antiquities dealer in the second half of the 19th century.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I guess I left New Orleans too soon

The Haunted Mortuary

Mothman Festival this Weekend

Point Pleasant, West Virginia, is having it's 6th Annual Mothman Festival this coming weekend. Cryptomundo has the info.

Also, it apparently has a psychic fair.