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ORANG PENDEK - "SHORT PERSON" OF THE INDONESIAN RAIN FOREST

Posted on April 21, 2011 at 9:17 PM


 

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ORANG PENDEK - "SHORT PERSON" OF THE INDONESIAN RAIN FOREST


Orang Pendek (Indonesian for "short person") is the most common name given to a cryptid, or cryptozoological animal, that reportedly inhabits remote, mountainous forests on the island of Sumatra.


The animal has allegedly been seen and documented for well over one hundred years by forest tribes, local villagers, Dutch colonists, and Western scientists and travelers.


Suku Anak Dalam


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The Suku Amnak Dala ("Children of the Inner-forest")—also known as Orang Kubu, Orang Batin Simbilan, or Orang Rimba—are groups of nomadic people who have traditionally lived throughout the lowland forests of Jambi and South Sumatra. According to their legends, Orang Pendek has been a part of their world and a co-inhabitant of the forest for centuries. Benedict Allen, author of Hunting the Gugu, writes that these groups frequently leave offerings of tobacco to keep the Orang Pendek happy.


In Bukit Duabelas, the Orang Rimba speak of a creature, known as Hantu Pendek (short ghost), whose description closely matches that of Orang Pendek. However, Hantu Pendek is thought of as a ghost or demon rather than an animal. According to the Orang Rimba, the Hantu Pendek travel in groups of five or six, subsisting off wild yams and hunting animals with small axes. Accounts of the creature claim it ambushes unfortunate Orang Rimba hunters traveling alone in the forest. Along the Makekal River on the western edge of Bukit Duabelas, people recount a legend of how their ancestors outsmarted these cunning yet dim-witted creatures during a hunting trip. The legend is often used to boast of the intellect and reason of people who live along the Makekal.


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Local Villagers


Local Indonesian villagers provide the largest source of lore and information on Orang Pendek. Hundreds of locals claim to have either seen the animal personally or can relate stories of others who have. While the conjectured physical description listed above is consistently reported by this group, other, less credible characteristics such as inverted feet or magical- or ghost-like behavior are also reported.


In 1818, William Marsden, who was the Secretary at the Residence in Benkoelen, Sumatra, made an English translation of Marco Polo. In this edition, he commented on the following passage:


In this kingdom [Lambri, now Jambi Province] are found men with tails, a span in length, like those of the dog, but not covered with hair. The greater number of them are formed in this manner, but they dwell in the mountains, and do not inhabit towns.


Marsden believed that this passage had as its basis a belief among Sumatran natives that two other groups of natives dwelt on the island. These two tribes—the orang kubu and orang gugu—shun contact with others. Marsden noted that the Orang Kubu were numerous in the region between Palembang and Jambi, on the southeastern coast. In fact, the basis—a native tribe called Koeboe by the Dutch—were discovered in that area.


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But the Orang Gugu are more problematic. Were they merely orangutans? Jacob Bontius remarks that there is a tradition "that these animals can speak but refuse to do so for fear of being put to work." Similarly-described savages/cryptids from this area of the world are referred to elsewhere as Orang Pendek, Uhang Pandak (local Kerinci dialect), Sedapa, Batutut, Ebu Gogo, Umang, Orang Gugu, Orang Letjo, Atoe Pandak, Atoe Rimbo, Ijaoe, Sedabo, and Goegoeh.


Traditions hold that the Orang Pendek (only used as a name in southern Sumatra) is a relatively short apelike animal which has a language of sorts, although the Sumatrans cannot understand it. Its skin has a brownish tinge and is usually covered in a short black or brown hair. Many traditions mention a mane of long, black hair. The Orang Pendek has no tail, or no visible one, and its arms are not quite as long as an ape's. It walks on the ground more often than climbing in trees, and, although extremely strong, is mainly vegetarian.


Dutch Colonists


The first mention of the Orang Pendek in a non-folkloric context appears in 1917, in an article by Dr. Edward Jacobson. He said that in 1916, while he was camped near the base of Boekit Kaba mountain, some scouts told him they had seen an Orang Pendek. When the animal saw the scouts, it ran away on its hindlegs. Jacobson also reported that he had seen some footprints at Mt. Kerintji. They were rather like those of a human, albeit shorter and broader.


In 1918, the Sumatran Governor, L.C. Westenenk, wrote about the Orang Pendek. Although he, too, was at first inclined to dismiss them as pure folklore, he recorded an event which took place in 1910.


A boy from Padang employed as an overseer by Mr. van H— had to stake the boundaries of a piece of land for which a long lease had been applied. One day he took several coolies into the virgin forest on the Barissan Mountains near Loeboek Salasik. Suddenly he saw, some 15m away, a large creature, low on its feet, which ran like a man ... it was very hairy and was not an orang-utan; but its face was not like an ordinary man's...


Westenenk also recorded another encounter, this one from 1917. A Mr. Oostingh, who owned a coffee plantation at Dataran, was in the forests at the base of Boekit Kaba when he saw a figure sitting on the ground about 30 feet away. The figure looked as if he were trying to light a fire.


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I saw that he had short hair, cut short, I thought; and I suddenly realized that his neck was oddly leathery and extremely filthy. "That chap's got a very dirty and wrinkled neck!" I said to myself. His body was as large as a medium-sized native's and he had thick square shoulders, not sloping at all... He clearly noticed my presence. He did not so much as turn his head, but stood up on his feet: he seemed quite as tall as I, about 5' 9" (about 1.75m). Then I saw that it was not a man,,,it was not an orang-utan...and I started back, for I was not armed. I had seen one of these large apes a short time before. It was more like a monstrously large siamang, but a siamang has long hair, and there was no doubt that it had short hair. The colour was not brown, but looked like black earth, a sort of dusty black, more grey than black. The creature took several paces, without the least haste, and then, with his ludicrously long arm, grasped a sapling, which threatened to break under his weight, and quietly sprang into a tree, swinging in great leaps alternately to right and to left...


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Westenenk hypothesized that what Oostingh had seen was an enormous gibbon. In fact, he advanced his theory that the Orang Pendek was an extremely old and large gibbon, shunned from his group for some reason. Bernard Heuvelmans placed stock in Westenenk's theory, cautiously wondering whether it might not be an undiscovered species of gibbon.


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Dr. Jacobson, whom we quoted earlier, wrote another article in 1918. In this article, he reported the account of a Mr. Coomans, a railwayman at Padang. Mr. Coomans found some supposed footprints of the Orang Pendek near Benkoelen. Soon after, similar footprints were found near Soungei Klomboek.


Dr. Jacobson also recorded several instances from about 1915. In these instances, the apemen were seen in rhinoceros pits near Mount Kerintji. The Orang Pendek were often seen perched on the stomachs of the trapped beasts, eating the flesh. If true, these reports seem to be the only ones ascribing a carnivorous nature to the ape.


Another Dutchman, this time a surveyor, R. Maier of Benkoelen, had a large collection of footprints. The footprints in Maier's collection had come from Roepit, Boekit Kaba, and Marga Ambatjung. The tracks were made in the late 1910s and early 1920.


Another Dutch settler, a Mr. van Herwaarden, began his research into this creature in 1916, but the accounts he gathered were so fantastic that he refused to believe they were descriptions of anything but a mythical animal; his Malay informants told him that the creature had one eye, feet turned backwards and climbed like a gecko lizard.


But in 1918, van Herwaarden began to change his mind. In that year, he found a series of footprints near Moesi Oeloe. Later, he talked to a man called Breikers who had found similar tracks. Van Herwaarden eventually met three Koeboe natives who said they had seen an Orang Pendek; it was about 4.5 feet tall, they said, with a hairy body, long hair on its head, and long canine teeth.


Some years later, van Herwaarden heard that two corpses were found in the forests near Pangkalan Belai. The bodies were of a female and a child. The Malay who found the two tried to bring the bodies back to civilization, but he was soon forced to abandon the bodies. Shortly thereafter, he died.


Mr. Van Heerwarden, later described an encounter he had while surveying land in 1923:


I discovered a dark and hairy creature on a branch... The sedapa was also hairy on the front of its body; the colour there was a little lighter than on the back. The very dark hair on its head fell to just below the shoulder-blades or even almost to the waist... Had it been standing, its arms would have reached to a little above its knees; they were therefore long, but its legs seemed to me rather short. I did not see its feet, but I did see some toes which were shaped in a very normal manner... There was nothing repulsive or ugly about its face, nor was it at all apelike.


About the same time, several Malays encountered a live apeman near Sebalik. The apeman, though, dove under the water and escaped. Van Herwaarden also wrote of an experience he himself had near the island of Pulau Rimau in October, 1923. The creature in question was seen sitting in the branch of a tree.


The sedapa was also hairy on the front of its body; the colour there was a little lighter than on the back. The very dark hair on its head fell to just below the shoulder blades or even almost to the waist. It was fairly thick and very shaggy. The lower part of its face seemed to end in more of a point than a man's; this brown face was almost hairless, whilst its forehead seemed to be high rather than low. Its eyebrows were the same colour as its hair and were very bushy. The eyes were frankly moving; they were of the darkest colour, very lively, and like human eyes. The nose was broad with fairly large nostrils... Its lips were quite ordinary, but the width of its mouth was strikingly wide when open... The colour of the teeth was yellowish white. Its chin was somewhat receding... Its hands were slightly hairy on the back... This specimen was of the female sex... When I raised my gun... I heard a plaintive 'hu-hu,' which was at once answered by similar echoes in the forest nearby.


A Mr. van Kan, administrator of the Aer Teman plantation, found several footprints, casts of which are in the museum at Buitenzorg in Java. Several orang pendek were supposedly seen near the estate. But Dr. Dammerman, an employee of the Buitenzorg Museum, had little trouble identifying the tracks as those of a sun-bear (Ursus malayanus).


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In 1927, a tiger trap in southern Sumatra was found triggered. However, the animal that had triggered the trap had escaped. A few hairs and blood traces were found on the trap; Dr. Dammerman says that "it was impossible to obtain any positive results with regards to the hair" and that "the blood pointed faintly to human origin."


In 1932, it was thought that the mystery of the Sumatran apeman would finally be solved. In that year, a body supposedly of a young orang pendek surfaced near the Rokan Kiri River. However, Dr. Dammerman concluded that the body was in fact that of a normal lutong (a type of langur) which had been shaved.


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The final account Heuvelmans cites is an enticing article which appeared the year previous to publication of the first edition of On the Track of Unknown Animals, in March of 1954. The article said that a live apeman, or rather an apewoman, had been captured in Sumatra. The creature was "very hairy and with very long nails." However, a revolution soon broke out in Sumatra and the exact status of this account—whether it was a hoax or a genuine report—is unknown.


Western Researchers


The Malayan wildman went uninvestigated, for the most part, until British author Deborah Martyr's trip to Sumatra in 1989. Martyr, the most widely-known Western researcher to later attempt to document Orang Pendek, was informed by her guide that the creature could occasionally be seen at the crater lake near Mt. Tujuh.


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I was travelling in Sumatra as a journalist in 1989. I was climbing Mount Kerinci and heard of a legendary animal that I thought would add a bit of colour to my travel piece. Then I started meeting people who claimed to have seen something. At that stage I didn’t believe or not believe; I was trained as a journalist, which is a respectable profession, so I took a look into it.


Along with British photographer Jeremy Holden, Martyr then began an investigation into the wildmen. Funded by Fauna and Flora International, their goal was to systematically document eye-witness accounts of the Orang-Pendek and to obtain photographic proof of its existence via camera-trapping methods. She found that a large number described the wildman as possessing a large stomach, a feature never before mentioned. Also, the residents informed her that while the mane of the Orang Pendek was usually dark, it was yellow or tan in some individuals. The Tujuh natives seemed certain that it was not an orangutan, sun bear, or siamang.


Martyr also travelled to the region south of Mt. Kerinci, another area where sightings were prominent. She did not see any Orang Pendek, but she did find tracks. She said the tracks resembled those of a seven-year old child, but were broader and had a prominent big toe. Martyr took plaster casts of the footprints to Sungeipenuh, where naturalists concurred they were of no known animal. In all, since beginning in the early 1990's, Martyr spent 15 years engaged in her project.


In yet another encounter, which took place in early 2001, the witness, a forestry ranger by the name of Aripin, was working in the Sungeipenuh region near Mt. Kerinci. When Martyr investigated, she found an absence of footprints and bent branches, which to her suggested that the Orang Pendek was brachiating (tree-traveling) at a fairly low altitude. Aripin concurred that the animal was definitely not any sort of macaque or other monkey or ape; the Orang Pendek's mane was dark brown.


Although Debbie and Jeremy did not succeed in proving Orang-Pendek's existence (Martyr has since moved on to head TNKS's Tiger Protection and Conservation Unit), they collected several footprint casts that appear to be from Orang Pendek and claim to have personally seen the animal on several occasions while working in the forest.


In an April 2003 interview with Debbie, Richard Freedman asked her to relate the first time she ever saw the Orang-Pendek:


I saw it in the middle of September; I had been out here four months. At that time I was 90 per cent certain that there was something here, that it wasn’t just traditional stories. I thought it would be an orang-utan and that it would move like an orang-utan, not bipedally like a man. I had my own preconception of what the animal would look like if I did see it, and I had been throwing away reports of the animal on the basis of colour that didn’t fit what I thought the animal would look like. When I saw it, I saw an animal that didn’t look like anything in any of the books I had read, films I had seen, or zoos I had visited. It did indeed walk rather like a person – and that was a shock....I saw it again about three weeks later. Again, it was on Mount Tuju and, again, I had a camera in my hand but I froze, because I didn’t know what I was seeing. It had frozen on the trail because it had heard us coming. All I could see was that something across the valley had changed. I looked through a pair of binoculars. Something didn’t look quite right in the landscape. By the time I trained on the area the animal had gone. Those were the only times I could have got a photo of it. I have seen it since, but fleetingly. Once you have seen an animal you can recognise it. If you have seen a rhino you can recognise a bit of a rhino.


From 2001 to 2003, scientists analyzed hairs and casts of a footprint found by three British men—Adam Davies, Andrew Sanderson and Keith Townley—while traveling in Kerinci. Dr. David Chivers, a primate biologist from the University of Cambridge, compared the cast with those from other known primates and local animals and stated:


...the cast of the footprint taken was definitely an ape with a unique blend of features from gibbon, orangutan, chimpanzee, and human. From further examination the print did not match any known primate species and I can conclude that this points towards there being a large unknown primate in the forests of Sumatra.


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Dr. Hans Brunner, a hair analysis expert from Australia famous for his involvement in the Lindy Chamberlain case in 1980, compared the hairs to those of other primates and local animals and suggested that they originated from a previously undocumented species of primate. Dr. Todd Disotell, a biological anthropologist from New York University, performed DNA analysis on the hairs and found nothing but human DNA in the sample. He cautioned, however, that contamination by people who handled the hairs could have introduced this DNA or that the original DNA could have decomposed.


Beginning in 2005, National Geographic funded a camera-trapping project in TNKS led by Dr. Peter Tse of Dartmouth College that attempted to provide photographic documentation of Orang Pendek. The project ended in 2009 without success.


LOCATION



While Orang Pendek or similar animals have historically been reported throughout Sumatra and Southeast Asia, recent sightings have occurred largely within the Kerinci regency of central Sumatra and especially within the borders of Taman Nasional Kerinci Seblat (Kerinci Seblat National Park) (TNKS). The park, 2° south of the equator, is located within the Bukit Barisan mountain range and features some of the most remote primary rainforest in the world. Habitat types within TNKS include lowland dipterocarp rainforest, montane forests, and volcanic alpine formations on Mt. Kerinci, the second highest peak in Indonesia. Because of its inaccessibility, the park has been largely spared from the rampant logging occurring throughout Sumatra and provides one of the last homes for the endangered Sumatran Tiger.


THE ANIMAL


In spite of the aforementioned sightings, Orang Pendek has yet to be fully documented and no authoritative account of its behavior exists. However, witnesses report some or physical characteristics consistently, so a likely picture of the animal can be conjectured.


PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION


Debbie Martyr—who interviewed hundreds of witnesses, and alleges to have seen the animal personally on several occasions—gives the following description:


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A relatively small, immensely strong, non-human primate. But it was very gracile, that was the odd thing. So if you looked at the animal you might say that it resembled a siamang or an agile gibbon on steroids! It doesn’t look like an orang-utan....usually no more than 33 to 35 inches (85 or 90cm) in height—although occasionally as large as 47 inches (1m 20cm). The body is covered in a coat of dark grey or black flecked with grey hair. But it is the sheer physical power of the orang pendek that most impresses the Kerinci villagers. They speak in awe, of its broad shoulders, huge chest and upper abdomen and powerful arms. The animal is so strong, the villagers would whisper that it can uproot small trees and even break rattan vines. The legs, in comparison, are short and slim, the feet neat and small, usually turned out at an angle of up to 45 degrees. The head slopes back to a distinct crest—similar to the gorilla—and there appears to be a bony ridge above the eyes. But the mouth is small and neat, the eyes are set wide apart and the nose is distinctly humanoid. When frightened, the animal exposes its teeth—revealing oddly broad incisors and prominent, long canine teeth.


REPORTED DIETARY HABITS


Sightings by locals often take place in farmland on the edge of the forest, where Orang Pendek is allegedly seen walking through fields and raiding crops (especially corn, potatoes, and fruit). Locals with experience in the forests claim that Orang Pendek seeks out ginger roots, a plant known locally as "pahur" or "lolo", young shoots, insects in rotting logs, and river crabs.


POSSIBLE EXPLANATIONS


Three possible explanations of Orang Pendek's identity are prominent: that all sightings can be explained as the mistaken identification of local animals; that witnesses of Orang Pendek are describing a previously undocumented species of primate; and that a species of early hominid still lives in the Sumatran jungle.


Mistaken Identity


Many locals say Orang Pendek's feet look like those of a seven-year-old child, evidenced by foot prints they have found while walking through the forest. In addition, gibbons populate the forests in this area and are known to occasionally descend to the ground and walk for a few seconds at a time on two legs. Witnesses could possibly be seeing orangutans; however: 1) this species has long been thought to have died out in all but the northern regions of Sumatra and 2) witnesses almost never describe the animal as having orange fur.


Undocumented Primate


Orang Pendek's reported physical characteristics differentiate it from any other species of animal known to inhabit the area. All witnesses describe it as an ape- or human-like animal. Its bipedality, fur coloring, and southerly location on the island make orangutans an unlikely explanation, and its bipedality, size, and other physical characteristics make gibbons, the only apes known to inhabit the area, unlikely as well. Many therefore propose that Orang Pendek could represent a new genus of primate or a new species or subspecies of orangutan or gibbon.


Surviving Hominid


As far back as Mr. Van Heerwarden's account of Orang Pendek, evolutionists have speculated that the animal may in fact be a "missing link" (a hominid representing an earlier stage in human evolution). In October 2004, evolutionary scientists published claims of the discovery of skeletal remains of a new species of "human" (Homo floresiensis) in caves on Flores (another island in the Indonesian archipelago) supposedly dating from 18,000 years ago. The species was described as being roughly one meter tall. The recency of Homo floresiensis' continued existence, and the similarities between its physical description and the accounts of Orang Pendek, have led to renewed speculation among evolutionists in this respect.



MOST RECENT RELIABLE SIGHTINGS


Excerpted from:


Return to the Lake of Seven PeaksA band of intrepid explorers travel to Sumatra in search of the elusive Orang-Pendek—and, what's more, actually see one!


Text: Richard Freeman / Images: CFZ


August 2010


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After the Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) team’s 2008 adventures in the Caucasus Mountains in search of the Almasty, it was time to plan our next cryptozoological expedition.


Team leader Adam Davis—as far as I know the only man in Britain with more cryptid hunts under his belt than me, and second to none as a field researcher—was in favor of a return to Sumatra to continue the search for the Orang-Pendek, the upright walking ape whose name means ‘short man’ in Indonesian. I’d searched for this elusive creature twice before (see 'In Search of Orang-Pendek' and 'The Orang-Pendek'), and Adam no less than four times, so between us we knew the territory as well as any Westerner could hope to. Joining team leader Adam and me were Dr. Chris Clark and Dave Archer, both of whom had proved themselves time and again on previous expeditions....


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....Upon returning to camp, we heard the other team's news: while walking through the jungle, Adam had heard a large animal moving through the forest. In the distance, siamang gibbons were kicking up a fuss. Sahar and Dave crept forward and were greeted by an astounding sight.


Squatting in a tree around 30m from them was an Orang-Pendek! They could not see the face clearly as it was pressed against the tree trunk, although Dave had felt that it was peering sideways at them. The creature had dark brown, almost black, fur, broad shoulders and long powerful arms, but its hands and feet were not in view. The consistency of its fur reminded Dave of that of a mountain gorilla—the Sumatran jungle is certainly of a very similar type to those inhabited by mountain gorillas in Africa—as did the shape of its head, although this lacked the long mane of hair described by some witnesses. Dave saw a line of darker hair running down the creature's spine.


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As Dave moved to get a vantage point for a photograph, Sahar saw the creature climb down from the tree and walk away on two legs. Afterwards, Adam said that Sahar had wept for 10 minutes because he did not have a camera with which to take a picture; he has been on the trail of the Orang-Pendek since 1997.


Next to the tree was some rattan vine the animal had been chewing. Adam carefully placed this in a specimen tube full of ethanol in the hope that some of the cells from the creature's mouth would have adhered to the plant, much like a DNA swab....



....Upon our return to Britain, I sent half of the samples we’d obtained off to Dr. Lars Thomas at Copenhagen University, while Adam sent the rest to Dr. Scott Disotell of New York University. Scott, unfortunately, was unable to extract any DNA from his sample, but the Copenhagen team had more success. After the first round of tests, they believe they may have uncovered something significant. I’m not prepared to say any more until the second round of tests—using some new techniques still in the developmental stage—has been completed. With a bit of luck, it's possible that we'll be able to announce the results in October, at this year's UnConvention in London.


Dally has emailed with news of further Orang-Pendek sightings in Kerinci. On 8 October, some bird watchers from Siulak Mukai Village saw an Orang-Pendek near Gunung Tapanggang. They watched it for 10 minutes from a distance of only 10m, describing its black skin, long arms and human-like gait. On 18 October, a man called Pak Udin saw an Orang-Pendek in Tandai Forest. The creature was looking for food, possibly insect larvae, in a dead tree. It had black and silver hair, long arms and short legs. He watched it for three minutes before it ran away.


In order to prove the creature's existence, a longer period in the field is required, perhaps a two or three month expedition, with pre-baiting of one of the semi-cultivated areas with fruit for a number of weeks beforehand. If the creature associated the area with food it might return on a regular basis, and waiting in a hide (blind) in a baited area might prove more fruitful that trekking through the deep jungles.


I remain totally convinced of the existence of the Orang-Pendek, and believe that it is an upright walking ape, probably a descendent of the Miocene ape Sivapithecus and related by way of the early Pleistocene Lufengopithecus to both the modern orangutans and to Gigantopithecus, the huge ape of mainland Asia that may turn out to be the larger type of ‘yeti’. I would like to propose the scientific name Pongo martryi in honor of Debbie Martyr, who has done more research into the Orang-Pendek than anyone else.


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Source: http://www.cfz.org.uk/expeditions/03sumatra/sumatra-pics.htm)


Excerpted from:



Evidence for New Ape Species?

by Matt Bille

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Matt's Sci/Tech Blog

Matt Bille, author

http://mattbille.blogspot.com/


The Center for Fortean Zoology (CFZ, with the "Fortean" being a reference to an indefatigable 20th-century collector of oddities) is a British-based cryptozoology society which goes about everything with typical British tongue-in-cheek humor. One of the CFZ's pet (ha-ha) interests is the unclassified ape, the orang-pendek, reported from Sumatra and thereabouts. The CFZ's Adam Davies has led several field expeditions in pursuit of evidence, and now reports results.


Readers of this blog may recall I posted on the announcement hairs had been recovered in 2009 from an orang-pendek sighting. As with hairs found in 2001, they have been analyzed by interested scientists and reported out as having DNA similar—but not identical—to orang-utan DNA.


One of those scientists, Lars Thomas, says, "The significance is quite enormous no matter what the result is basically, because if it turns out to be orang-utan this proves that there is orang-utan in a part of Sumatra several hundred kilometres from the nearest population of orang-utan. If it turns out to be a primate that looks like an orang-utan but isn’t, it’s an even greater discovery because that proves that there is another great ape living in Indonesia."


The orang-pendek is very respectable as mystery animals go. Internationally known tiger conservationist Debbie Martyr has reported seeing the reddish, habitually upright primate several times, and the renowned Dr. John MacKinnon once came upon tracks of a small, unidentified primate walking bipedally. Anthropologist Dale Drinnon, in a comment to the CFZ side, suggested that a small type of orang-utan with a normally upright posture could solve several unexplained animal reports, not just on Sumatra but in surrounding land masses. Martyr and others suggest it's a new type of gibbon, although the DNA results cast doubt on that (assuming the hairs are indeed from our quarry).


I wrote to the CFZ's Adam Davies after he sent me this announcement and asked the obvious question. If analysis indicates a new species here, when are we going to see the results in a peer-reviewed journal like Nature? Surely the topic is important enough for a journal to accept it if the science is well done, and the peer review process (though not perfect) will mean scientists with no connection to CFZ will be validating the DNA results.


Adam replied, "As ever, you ask good questions,I don't know the answer yet,but I will ask. I have met Henry Gee from Nature magazine before, and we got on very well. Lars is still carrying on the testing, and hopes to get better info. I promise you that I will let you know, when I know." (He added that information on the expeditions he has led, and future ones, is also available at another site, www.extreme-expeditions.com.)


So there you have it. Promising, but not yet definitive. Adam has promised to keep me in the loop and I shall do the same for you.


Matt Billie


[...and I, dear reader, will keep YOU informed! ~ Crypto]


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