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King Kong, Gigantopithecus & the Missing Link

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Author Topic: King Kong, Gigantopithecus & the Missing Link  (Read 3218 times)
Kristin Moore
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« Reply #45 on: May 27, 2011, 07:08:16 pm »

Jennifer O'Dell
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5    Icon 1 posted 10-31-2005 02:38 PM      Profile for Jennifer O'Dell     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote  Whoops! One more.
Happy Halloween everybody. Posts: 946 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged |
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Kristin Moore
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« Reply #46 on: May 27, 2011, 07:09:38 pm »

Rebecca Brunner
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Rate Member    Icon 1 posted 12-14-2005 11:50 PM      Profile for Rebecca Brunner     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote  I REALLY want to see this movie:

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Kristin Moore
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« Reply #47 on: May 27, 2011, 07:10:03 pm »

Review: 'King Kong' a giant pleasure
By Paul Clinton

Wednesday, December 14, 2005; Posted: 8:52 a.m. EST (13:52 GMT)

(CNN) -- What do you do after creating the multiple Academy Award winning "The Lord of the Rings," arguably the greatest film trilogy of all time? Well, if you're Peter Jackson you immediately jump behind the camera and direct "King Kong," a film that became a classic when it stunned audiences back in 1933.

Then you pack this iconic remake with heart-wrenching humanity, mind-blowing special effects and fill it full of indelible images, and do it all so well that it's destined to also become an instant classic.

In a word, Jackson's "King Kong," is spectacular, awesome, phenomenal and breathtaking. OK, so I can't boil it down to one word.

Jackson has been obsessed with this "beauty and the beast" story since he was a child and saw the original film flickering across his black and white TV at home in New Zealand.

He was so taken with the movie that the budding filmmaker tried to make his own version when he was just 12 years old using his mother's donated old fur stole for Kong. The top of the Empire State building was made out of cardboard and the New York City skyline was painted on a bed sheet (which was not donated). Unfortunately, this epic was never completed, but the desire to make a film about "King Kong" continued to burn in Jackson's heart.

After becoming a full-fledged filmmaker and making the critically acclaimed "Heavenly Creatures," he tried again to get "Kong" made in 1996, but Hollywood wouldn't bite.

After the huge success of the "Rings" trilogy, Hollywood would probably have let him make a movie about a phone book. He chose to return to his childhood dream and make "King Kong."

Along with co-screenwriters Fran Walsh (his longtime wife and business partner) and Phillippa Boyens, he created a script that keeps the 1930s Depression era time frame and adheres fairly closely to the original -- written by adventurers-turned-filmmakers Merian C. Cooper and co-director Ernest B. Schoedsack.

Setting the scene
The story unfolds in a standard three-act structure. The opening shots of New York City in 1933 are brilliant in their attention to detail. You truly feel yourself being swept back in time as you meet raconteur filmmaker Carl Denham (Jack Black), who has just stolen the only print of his most recent film after studio executives refused to give him the funds to finish his latest travelogue/action flick. He's only lacking some action sequences and an actress. The only requirement is that she be a size four, because the costumes have already been made.

Enter Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts), a down-on-her-luck (size four) actress who faces either starvation or becoming a stripper in a burlesque show. She meets Black as he's desperate to get his crew onboard a Singapore-bound tramp streamer, the dilapidated S.S. Venture. She's reluctant to sign on for such a strange venture until she hears that an up-and-coming playwright she admires, Jack Driscoll (Oscar winner Adrien Brody), wrote the script.

They arrive at the S.S. Venture just as Driscoll is about to depart -- he has no intentions of going anywhere on this rusty old tub. But with the police hot on their heels, Denham tricks Driscoll into staying on board and they leave the harbor just as the cops arrive.

Unbeknownst to any of the cast or crew, the ship is not going to Singapore.
Denham has bribed Captain Englehorn (German star Thomas Kretschmann) into taking them to the mysterious and uncharted Skull Island, untouched by civilization. Denham hopes to complete his action scenes on this island shrouded in legend and lore.

Also on board for this ill-advised voyage are Bruce Baxter (Kyle Chandler), a preening B-movie leading man cast opposite Ann; Jimmy (Jamie Bell from "Billy Elliot"), the youngest crew member and Preston (Colin Hanks, son of Tom), who is Denham's over-stressed, nerve-wracked assistant.

Kong captured
Act II begins with their arrival on Skull Island, inhabited by a tribe of natives who are set upon making the new arrivals their soup de jour. But the natives are the least of their problems. Strange creatures inhabit the island behind a huge wall and the natives capture Ann and offer her up as a sacrifice to these horrifying beasts.

It seems this primordial lost island is also home to a host of non-extinct dinosaurs -- and one lonely, gigantic ape that is the last of his kind in the world, King Kong.

The whizbang visual effects used to create Kong are designed by the multiple Oscar-winning Weta Digital Ltd. and the Weta Workshop Ltd., both based in New Zealand and created by Jackson. But the expressive face and soulful eyes are provided by Andy Serkis, who performed in the "Rings" trilogy as Gollum, a character who came to life with the help of computer-generated imagery.

Kong captures and is then captivated by the beautiful young Ann as he battles giant centipedes and T. rexes.
There are many scenes in this 67-minute second act that will knock you to the floor. A terrifying stampede of Brontosaurus, giant insects, man-eating creatures with tentacles in a bottomless swamp and other gruesome monsters you have to see to believe. All the while, Denham is cranking away on his camera, capturing as much action as he can while trying to save Ann from Kong.

As the rest of the cast battles away, a strange but touching relationship develops between Ann and Kong. He becomes her protector and she in turn gives him the emotional connection to another being that he so desperately seeks.

When Kong has to battle a swarm of giant bats, it gives Denham the opportunity to rescue Ann and eventually capture Kong.

Class of its own
We never actually see how Kong is seized and put on the ship, because Act III finds us back in New York, where Denham is declaring the 25-foot gorilla the Eighth Wonder of the World. Tickets for opening night are selling like hotcakes.

The action now speeds toward its eventual ending as Kong escapes from the theater after being terrified by the camera lights and flashbulbs. He stampedes through the streets of New York looking for Ann, and once he finds her, he makes that fateful climb up the Empire State building.

Those iconic shots of the biplanes shooting at Kong while he tries to protect Ann will tug at your heartstrings, even though everyone knows how the film will end.

Usually when I'm told that a film is three or more hours long, it already has two strikes against it. But my eyes never left the screen while the entire three hours and seven minutes flashed by.

Watts can scream with the best of them and still manages to look beautiful -- and never break a sweat -- while being dragged through the jungle by a huge ape. Black manages to keep the audience on his side despite some despicable behavior. Serkis, who also plays Lumpy the Cook on the S.S. Venture, has done it again, giving the computer geniuses plenty to work with by using his elastic features and expressive eyes.

If the "Rings" trilogy didn't convince you, everyone will now have to admit that Jackson is one of the most creative men to ever sit in a director's chair.

This film is in a class of its own. If anyone ever tries to do another remake of "King Kong," they should be put in a rubber room. Posts: 2 | From: the Midwest | Registered: Oct 2005
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Kristin Moore
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« Reply #48 on: May 27, 2011, 07:10:28 pm »

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5    Icon 1 posted 01-01-2006 10:27 PM      Profile for Brooke     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote  I'm bringing Stacy's topic to the front cause I was reading it the other day and think it might be helpful in our studies of evolution. It's the "missing link" section I'm interested in with this, not the King Kong part of it.

"The most incomprehensible thing about our universe is that it can be comprehended." - Albert Einstein
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Kristin Moore
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« Reply #49 on: May 27, 2011, 07:11:39 pm »

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5    Icon 1 posted 01-17-2006 01:40 PM      Profile for Zodiac     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote  Suit yourself, Brooke, I'm interested in the King Kong part of it!

Bigfoot sighted in village in 1900s
Monday, 9 January, 2006

More documented information about the Bigfoot of Johor has come to light in the wake of renewed interest in the Malaysian equivalent of the abominable snowman. The annals of Kampung Mawai, compiled by generations of headmen at the village, talk of the existence of the creature.The Sejarah Mawai Lama Sebelum dan Selepas Perang Dunia Ke-2 relates how the pioneer settlers of the village named it "Mawai" after seeing hairy creatures which they referred to as "Mawas".Biodiversity researcher Vincent Chow said a group of explorers from Jambi in Indonesia had, in the early 1900s, encountered the hairy creatures where the village now stands.Their leader, Mohamad Jambi, related that the creature took refuge under a palm tree called daun payung when it rained. Mohamad Jambi, who was later made the penghulu of Mukim Ulu Sedili by Sultan Ibrahim, decided to build a village using the daun payung and named it Kampung Mawas.Over time, it became known as Kampung Mawai.According to the historical account, villagers who went to collect rattan along rivers deep in the jungle often sighted the creatures.The villagers had observed that the creature always dwelt near rivers or streams where it hunted mouse deer and jungle fowl.They also observed that the Mawas would bring food to water to wash off the blood.Meanwhile, Chow said he was contacted yesterday by the Korean Broadcasting Agency which expressed interest in doing a documentary on Bigfoot.

"I will be forwarding this message to State Tourism and Environment Committee chairman Freddie Long."Interest in Bigfoot was sparked when three workers building a fish pond in the village claimed they had seen a family of two adults and a child.A member of the Johor Malaysian Nature Society carrying out a fish survey nearby took photographs of the footprints measuring about 45cm long besides observing that the creature was about three metres tall.Earlier the Singapore media, British Broadcasting Corporation and Reuters had shown interest in the Bigfoot sightings and efforts to track the creature.In Muar last night, Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek urged the Johor Government to solve the mystery of the Bigfoot sightings.
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Kristin Moore
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« Reply #50 on: May 27, 2011, 07:13:05 pm »

King Kong in Kerala?

[ Tuesday, January 10, 2006 12:49:45 amTIMES

KARALMANNA (Palakkad): Peter Jackson's King Kong is set on a mysterious, uncharted island. He might as well have shot it in Kerala.

Or so it would seem, if — and that's literally a big if — claims by a team of amateur anthropologists are proved true.

The team claims to have discovered footprints of a "giant-man" who had a shoe size of 29 inches, lived in a shelter 50 metres high and weighed well over 400 kg.

Going by the footprint size, the creature may have been as tall as 17 feet, which would make it easily the "largest human form to roam the earth".

Announcing the 'discovery' on Monday, the team said the signs of the mammoth creature — found in a remote village some 60 km from Palakkad town in Kerala — "confirmed" the existence of 'Bigfoot'.

Ever since reports began in the mid-19th century of 'sightings' of the Yeti or Abominable Snowman in the Himalayas, there has been enormous fascination and speculation around the world about the fabled man-like being.

But most sightings reported in various countries, notably in the US, turned out to be either hoaxes or cases of overactive imaginations.

However, on December 30 last year, farmers in the forests of Malaysia claimed to have spotted a family of three.

Scientists who examined signs purportedly left by the beasts said Bigfoot cannot be ignored any more. In India, the amateur team insists it's on the right track.

"This is a site where many unknown geological, archaeological and anthropological facts lie buried," said S R Krishnaswamy, the man who led the team to Palakkad.

He had earlier discovered a stone-age site inside the deep forests of Coimbatore.

"It's a treasure-trove. Basically, the site where Bigfoot once roamed has a rock-shelter whose roof is 50 meters long, shaped into a circle. This would've been a deep jungle in the remote age.",curpg-3.cms
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Kristin Moore
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« Reply #51 on: May 27, 2011, 07:15:55 pm »

Gigantic Apes Coexisted with Early Humans, Study Finds
By Bjorn Carey
LiveScience Staff Writer
posted: 07 November 2005
01:34 pm ET

A gigantic ape standing 10 feet tall and weighing up to 1,200 pounds lived alongside humans for over a million years, according to a new study.

Fortunately for the early humans, the huge primate's diet consisted mainly of bamboo.

Scientists have known about Gigantopithecus blackii since the accidental discovery of some of its teeth on sale in a Hong Kong pharmacy about 80 years ago. While the idea of a giant ape piqued the interest of scientists – and bigfoot hunters – around the world, it was unclear how long ago this beast went extinct.

Precise dating

Now Jack Rink, a geochronologist at McMaster University in Ontario, has used a high-precision absolute-dating method to determine that this ape – the largest primate ever – roamed Southeast Asia for nearly a million years before the species died out 100,000 years ago during the Pleistocene period. By this time, humans had existed for a million years.

"A missing piece of the puzzle has always focused on pin-pointing when Gigantopithecus existed," Rink said. "This is a primate that co-existed with humans at a time when humans were undergoing a major evolutionary change. Guangxhi province in southern China, where some of the Gigantopithecus fossils were found, is the same region where some believe the modern human race originated."

Since the original discovery, scientists have been able to piece together a description of Gigantopithecus using just a handful of teeth and a set of jawbones. It may not be much, but the unusually large size of these teeth indicates they belonged to one big ape.

"The size of these specimens – the crown of the molar, for instance, measures about an inch across – helped us understand the extraordinary size of the primate," Rink said.

What happened?

Humans may have helped destroy the ape.

Further studies of the teeth revealed that the ape was an herbivore, and bamboo was probably its favorite meal. Some scientists believe that an appetite focused on bamboo combined with increasing competition from more nimble humans eventually led to the extinction of Gigantopithecus.

While most scientists agree that Gigantopithecus died out long ago, some people – Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti enthusiasts in particular – believe that this ape is the source of tales of giant, hairy beasts roaming the woods. These claims are not considered credible by mainstream scientists. There have been cases in which creatures are first known first by their fossil remains and later found living, such as the coelacanth – a type of fish thought to have died out millions of years ago until it was discovered swimming off the coast of Africa in 1938.

Researchers do not have a full skeleton for Gigantopithecus. But they can fill in the gaps and estimate its size and shape by comparing it to other primates – those that came before it, coexisted with it, and also modern apes. Currently, scientists are debating over how Gigantopithecus got around – was it bipedal or did it use its arms to help it walk, like modern chimpanzees and orangutans? The only way to answer this is to collect more bones.
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Kristin Moore
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« Reply #52 on: May 27, 2011, 07:16:42 pm »

Voice of Reason: The Reality of Bigfoot
By Benjamin Radford
from the Skeptical Inquirer
posted: 28 July 2005
04:43 pm ET

Bigfoot's been a busy beastie recently, especially in Canada. In April a Manitoba ferry operator videotaped a large, dark, indistinct creature moving along a riverbank. Whatever it was -- Bigfoot, bear, bison, or otherwise -- it caused quite a stir and made international news.

Three months later, in nearby Yukon province, Teslin resident Trent Smarch found a tuft of coarse, dark hair in a forest where he and other locals heard a large, mysterious animal in the brush. They believe the creature was a Sasquatch, the Canadian version of the huge, hairy, humanoid mystery creature known as Bigfoot. The find was reported across North America and around the world, and many wondered if this hair find might finally prove Bigfoot's long-disputed existence. The hair sample was sent to University of Alberta wildlife geneticist David Coltman for analysis. Coltman was asked to extract any available DNA from the hair, sequence the mitochondrial genes, and compare them to a database of known regional creatures.

On July 28, after a week of testing, the results were announced. More on that later, but first some background on the search for Bigfoot evidence. Bigfoot burst into the public's mind in 1959, with the publication of a magazine article describing the discovery of large, mysterious footprints the year earlier in Bluff Creek, California. A half century later, the question of Bigfoot's existence remains open. Bigfoot is still sought, the pursuit kept alive by a steady stream of sightings, occasional photos or footprint finds, and sporadic media coverage. By far the majority of support for Bigfoot comes from eyewitness reports and anecdotes, yet this is the least reliable kind of evidence -- and virtually worthless from a scientific perspective. What science needs to validate the existence of Bigfoot is hard evidence: a live or dead specimen, bones, teeth, blood, or hair. Because hard evidence is lacking -- no bones or bodies have been found -- Coltman's analysis was much anticipated.

The Yukon sample is not the first Bigfoot hair to be analyzed. Over the past few decades, dozens of hair and blood samples have been recovered from alleged Bigfoot encounters. (One example: in 2000, a group of Bigfoot researchers found what they interpreted as a Bigfoot body print in mud near Mount Adams in Washington state. Despite five years of study and the promise of alleged hair, saliva, and dung samples, no conclusive evidence has yet emerged from the find.) When a definite conclusion has been reached, the samples have invariably turned out to have prosaic sources -- "Bigfoot hair" turns out to be elk or bear or cow hair, for example, or "Bigfoot blood" is revealed to be transmission fluid. In his book Big Footprints, noted researcher Grover Krantz discusses such evidence: "The usual fate of these items is that they either receive no scientific study, or else the documentation of that study is either lost or unobtainable. In most cases where competent analyses have been made, the material turned out to be bogus or else no determination could be made."

It is important to understand the science behind hair analyses: An outcome of "unknown" or "inconclusive" does not necessarily mean the sample came from a Bigfoot. All it means is that the sample did not match whichever other samples it was compared to. For that reason, a wig or carpet fiber or even hair from an animal foreign to the region (such as a kangaroo or camel) claimed to be from a Bigfoot will likely be reported as "unknown." It also highlights a basic methodological problem that plagues all Bigfoot research: The lack of a standard measure. We know what a bear track looks like; if we find a track that we suspect was left by a bear, we can compare it to one we know was left by a bear. But there are no undisputed Bigfoot specimens by which to compare new evidence.

This is why evidence such as the Yukon hair is so crucial to proving Bigfoot's existence. At a press conference, Coltman revealed the results of his DNA analysis. The Bigfoot hair matched that of a bison 100 percent. Bison are common in the region, and it seems likely that the locals' expectations and perceptions were influenced by the Manitoba sighting three months earlier.

The DNA result will not, of course, deter the Bigfoot believers and eyewitnesses. But it does provide an excellent example of what happens when hard evidence of a mystery is subjected to the rigors of science. This high-profile Bigfoot hair analysis by a reputable scientist also addresses a criticism often heard by monster enthusiasts: That mainstream scientists ignore Bigfoot evidence for fear of damaging their reputations in pursuit of what some would call a myth. Yet if Bigfoot or other mystery creatures do exist, they are certainly worthy of serious scientific scrutiny. At the same time, since all previous samples were found to be hoaxes, inconclusive, or from known animals, scientists' lack of enthusiasm for spending time and resources on yet more such evidence is understandable.

In the space of six months, one alleged Canadian Bigfoot was videotaped and another left its hair. Nothing new has been learned from the Manitoba video -- it's still an unidentified dark blob, possibly one of any number of large animals in the area -- and the Yukon hair has been identified as bison. The mystery remains, and the search goes on.


Benjamin Radford wrote "Bigfoot at 50: Evaluating a Half-Century of Bigfoot Evidence" for the March/April 2002 issue of Skeptical Inquirer magazine. He is co-author of Hoaxes, Myths, and Manias: Why We Need Critical Thinking.
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Kristin Moore
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« Reply #53 on: May 27, 2011, 07:18:42 pm »

Johor's Bigfoot - Remnants Of Pre-Historic Apes?

By Mohd Haikal Mohd Isa

JOHOR BAHARU, Jan 4 (Bernama) -- Could Bigfoot, believed to have been spotted in the jungles of Johor, actually be a pre-historic animal which had gone extinct over hundreds of thousand years ago?

Based on the Bigfoot-Giganto theory, researchers claimed that Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch, Yeti or Mawas was probably a pre-historic giant ape which lived during the Middle of Pleistocene age.

The animal is believed to be living in several parts of Asia including China and Southeast Asia, as well as North America during ancient times before facing extinction from the earth some 200,000 to 500,000 years ago.

The question of whether Bigfoot was a pre-historic animal had long been discussed by researchers across the world but until now, they have failed to reach any definite answer to it.

This raised questions whether the Bigfoot sightings by several individuals, including Orang Asli villagers at the 248 million year old Endau-Rompin National Park, may be the remnants of the Gigantopithecus Blacki (or 'Giant Ape' in Latin) species.

At the same time, there were similar physical traits between Gigantopithecus and Bigfoot, which according to the Orang Asli folks, the giant animal, which was said to be 10 feet tall, with brown hairy body, was sighted in several jungle spots in Johor.

Before this, several animal species believed to have gone extinct, were later found to still exist. For example, the Coelacanth fish, known to have existed about 360 million years ago and believed to have gone into extinction, was caught by fishermen in 1938.

According to the US-based Bigfoot Field Research Organisation (BFRO), researchers on the animal generally accepted the Bigfoot-Giganto theory.

The BFRO which claims itself as the most credible Bigfoot research organisation on its website, said the issue of Gigantopithecus had caught the interest of many anthropologists and primatologists.

Johor National Park Corporation (JNPC) Director Hashim Yusof when asked by Bernama on the link between Bigfoot and Gigantopithecus, said that the possibility is there, given the park's huge space and age.

"The Endau-Rompin National Park covers 48,906 hectares or 800 sq. km and aged 248 million years. We only have information on half of the flora and fauna inside it," he said. Recently JNPC organised a one-day expedition at Endau-Rompin to trek Bigfoot but failed to find any traces such as its footprints.

Hashim said, his party would organise another expedition to track down Bigfoot at the Endau Rompin National Park probably next month, where they will stay for a week inside the forest.

Meanwhile, another Johorian environmentalist Vincent Chow said the Bigfoot-Giganto theory that Bigfoot could be the remnants of the Gigantopithecus Blacki species might be the most accurate.

He said the theory had its grounds as it was based on experts' findings such as those in anthropology and other related fields.

Chow, an adviser of an environmental association in the state, said that the Endau-Rompin National Park's age matched that of the era of the giant ape Gigantopithecus which existed in the face of the earth.

At the same time, the virgin forest of the National Park makes it conducive for the giant animal's habitat.

"Bigfoot should be protected and regarded as the state's heritage," he said.

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Kristin Moore
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« Reply #54 on: May 27, 2011, 07:19:53 pm »

Villagers’ close encounter with Bigfoot


KLUANG: It looks human but has fur the shades of dark red and black covering its face and body, stands about 4m tall and lets out a loud roar.

That is how the orang asli villagers from Batu 25, Kampung Punjat Sungai Nadik, in Kahang, about 190km from Johor Baru, described a creature known as siamang or better known as Bigfoot.

One of the villagers supposedly even had a 15-minute standoff with the creature and has stopped going into the jungle alone.

A 40cm to 50cm footprint of the Bigfoot discovered in Mawai, Kota Tinggi, recently. The print was found in mud after a group of workers tracked down the creature to a river.
Recalling his horrifying experience four months ago, Amir Md Ali said he was catching frogs in the Gunung Panti jungles to sell when he stumbled upon the creature.

“I was heading to my favourite spot when I suddenly saw this tall creature about 30m away.

“I was trembling with fear as the creature stared at me,” he said, adding that he did not move for about 15 minutes.

Amir, who initially thought the creature would leave, decided to run when the creature continued to stare at him.

“I did not look back and continued running until I reached my village,” he said, showing a clearing in the jungle where the standoff occurred to some 50 people who took part in an expedition to gather information on the Bigfoot sightings in the state.

The one-day expedition, led by Johor National Parks director Hashim Yusof, comprised park officials and press members.

Another villager, Herman Deraman, 21, or better known as Along, had a closer encounter with the creature in the woods.

“I was resting one night in a wooden hut on stilts after a long day of collecting bamboo strips.

“Suddenly, the hut started shaking violently,” he said, adding that soon after that, he heard a loud roar that sounded like that of a wild beast.

That incident kept him awake the whole night.

The next day, he encountered the creature again but this time at the place he usually gathered bamboo.

“I thought I saw a tree shaking but after a while, I realised there was a huge creature sitting down and rubbing itself against the tree.

“Luckily, the creature did not see me as its back was facing me,” he said.

Kampung Punjat Sungai Nadik is home to about 30 orang asli families who earn a living by gathering and selling produce collected from the jungle.

Hashim said the expedition was aimed at ascertaining the truth on the existence of the Bigfoot.

“We want to uncover the truth about this creature and also quash any rumour that can scare away visitors to the national park,” he said, adding that some 124,000 people visited the parks annually.

Hashim said they were also compiling a database on Bigfoot or orang mawas sightings at various spots.
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Kristin Moore
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« Reply #55 on: May 27, 2011, 07:23:06 pm »

A 40cm to 50cm footprint of the Bigfoot discovered in Mawai, Kota Tinggi, recently. The print was found in mud after a group of workers tracked down the creature to a river.
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Kristin Moore
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« Reply #56 on: May 27, 2011, 07:23:51 pm »

Snowman of the Himalayas

IN mid-1959 Argosy magazine flew Edmund Hillary and his wife, Louise, to New York, where Ed was presented with the magazine's Explorer of the Year award.

While they were in New York an invitation came to fly on to Chicago and make a short educational film with Field Enterprises Educational Corporation, the publishers of World Book Encyclopaedia. The filming went well.

John Dienhart, the company's public relations director, was charmed by Ed's personality and his enthusiastic account of his "dream expedition" – combining science with mountaineering and with a search for the yeti thrown in.

Dienhart thought Field Enterprises might be able to help, so asked Ed to send a detailed report about his plans.

Plans were concocted at the typewriter and posted off and, a week later, a cable arrived. He was invited to fly to Chicago and talk to the board of directors of Field Enterprises – at their expense.

The company contributed $US125,000 to the expedition, to be used at Ed's discretion, and, a year later, Dienhart found himself trekking out of Kathmandu at the end of a long stream of porters carrying tons of supplies for an eight-week yeti hunt in the Rolwaling Valley, west of Mt Everest.

For Ed, it was a year of frantic planning for, and organising, his biggest and most complex undertaking.

The expedition members, who would be in the Himalayas for a total of nine months, comprised 21 scientists, climbers and other specialists from New Zealand, Australia, India, Britain, the US and Nepal.

They would need several hundred local porters and scores of Sherpas to carry loads and work alongside the climbers at altitude.

This was the plan. During September 1960, one party would carry tons of expedition stores, equipment and building supplies to the Mingbo Valley above Tengboche and find sites for the two high-altitude huts. Norman Hardie led this group. Ed, meanwhile, would lead another party into Rolwaling Valley, west of the Khumbu, to search for evidence of the yeti.

In late October, Ed and his group would cross the Tesi Lapcha Pass into the Khumbu, meet up with the others, and assist with assembling huts.

Scientific director Dr Griffith Pugh and his team would arrive from the UK and America in late October, and spend the winter studying human acclimatisation while Ed returned to New Zealand for more supplies.

He would be back in March, bringing Louise with him for the walk in from Kathmandu – her first visit to Nepal.

The final part of the expedition was the attempt on a peak – probably Makalu – with the high-altitude team joined by Ed and two other climbers.

Ed was delighted and relieved when Hardie agreed to take on the leadership of the building group. He did outstanding work managing the straggling lines of 310 heavily laden porters through torrential monsoon rains to Tengboche, and, by the time the yeti-hunting "playboys" (Hardie's description) arrived in Khumjung on October 30, the "workers" had plenty to show for themselves.

The yeti hunters might have been "Hillary's playboys" when they set out, but after eight weeks trekking in high valleys and glaciers and crossing a snowy mountain pass as winter set in, they arrived in Khumjung a hardened crew, although yeti-less.

Several of them wrote accounts and one of the most entertaining was by Desmond Doig, the expedition's reporter, linguist and enthusiastic Orientalist who earned the respect of all his companions.

Doig described the last manic days of preparation before the two parts of the expedition left Kathmandu.

While Ed sorted through the 14 tons of expedition equipment and stores, which had to be made into 60lb porter loads, the novices were left to sort out their own requirements.

"Whether to sacrifice foot sprays and bath salts for cans of beer, and custom-built boots for the expedition clodhoppers . . . or take the lot and die under the load. Does one ever know what a load is like until one is under it? And has walked with it a mile, five miles, eight, 15?"

Ed left Kathmandu hours after the rest of the group and, having ensured that everyone got the right footwear, had managed to leave only a pair of size 10 sandshoes for himself. His feet are size 12. Slit in strategic places, the shoes saw him through nonetheless.

The yeti hunters found sets of footprints on the Ripimu Glacier at the head of the Rolwaling Valley, but hidden microphones and cameras enmeshed in trip wires failed to capture a yeti's likeness – or record its famous high-pitched whistle. The rifle with the tranquiliser darts was not required.

They concluded eventually that the footprints they had found were the tracks of a smaller animal which had melted out in the sun.

Michael Ward and Eric Shipton had photographed similar tracks near here on the 1951 Everest Reconnaissance, but those two climbers were far less conspicuous than this large party.

The final straw on the abortive yeti hunt seems to have been Peter Mulgrew's fishcakes, made from tinned Canadian salmon – a recipe Ed and Peter had enjoyed on Christmas Day 1957 in Antarctica.

Doig wrote: "It was never ascertained whether they or the altitude, or both, were responsible for Ed, George, Tom Nevison and Peter himself having a miserable night following the feast. Whatever it was, Ed was prompted by his immediate misery to pull out."

They headed to Khumjung, making the hazardous crossing of the 5755m (18,881ft) Tesi Lapcha Pass on October 28 with the help of 60 Sherpas who came to meet them. This was Ed's first time back in Sherpa country since 1954.

Doig recalled: "Ed Hillary sat at the top of the pass, his shaggy mane riding a near gale and icicles forming in his beard. For the rugged, unemotional character we considered him to be, he was suddenly unexpectedly nostalgic."

Ed had been in regular radio contact with Hardie but, for a few days, their frequency was jammed by recordings of Chinese opera. This led to an outbreak of jokes about the "Hillary International Spying Expedition", but was an indicator of the nervousness of the Chinese about their border with Nepal.

Hardie walked to meet Ed's group at the village of Thami and they reached Khumjung on October 30. Griffith Pugh had arrived with most of the scientific equipment two days before.

Doig, meanwhile, had been on the track of yeti relics. He had managed to purchase a yeti skin, and Urkien had told him that some monasteries and gompas, (Sherpa temples) had yeti scalps and skeletal hands. Doig alerted Ed, and after several false starts they began negotiations to borrow a yeti scalp from Khumjung Gompa and take it to America and Europe to be looked at by scientists.

Village elders were extremely reluctant to part with the precious relic which brought prestige to their village and good luck with weather and crops.

Ed brought to the negotiating table an offer to build a school at Khumjung and pay the salary of its first teacher.

A deal was reached, signed and sealed with appropriate ceremony. Ed would contribute 8000 Nepal rupees for gompa repairs and, in return, Ed and Doig were permitted to take the yeti scalp away for exactly six weeks.

Khunjo Chumbi, a village elder, would go with them and be with the scalp at all times.

Pugh and his team were less than enthusiastic about Ed's departure for six weeks, but keeping their sponsors happy is a leader's job and, without a live animal to show for the trip, this was the next best thing. (And the publicity Ed, Khunjo and the yeti relics engendered ensured Field Enterprise's continuing support for Sherpa aid projects for more than a decade).

Khunjo was a handsome, laughing man and a brilliant dancer, who wore his Tibetan clothes with great swagger and charm. All this, along with the fame of Sir Edmund Hillary and the mysterious yeti relics, contributed to a triumphant progress through New York, Chicago, Paris and London.

In the end, scientists pronounced the skin to be from a blue bear. The yeti "scalp" had been made from the hide of the serow antelope – probably intended as a ceremonial hat but gradually acquiring the status of an actual scalp.

The scalp might not have been the real thing, but as Mike Gill noted: "Khunjo Chumbi was declared genuine and as an exponent of Tibetan dancing was asked to perform wherever he went, from the Merchandise Mart in Chicago to the nightclubs of Paris."

Khunjo also gave a winning response to Professor J. Millot of the Musee d l'Homme in Paris when he suggested that yetis did not exist: "In Nepal we have neither giraffes nor kangaroos so we know nothing about them. In France, there are no yetis, so I sympathise with your ignorance."

Khunjo was anxious to spare Ed the embarrassment of having to concede that he could not produce scientific evidence of a yeti. He offered to find a real one for him on their return to the Khumbu but, in the end, Ed concluded the yeti's existence was cultural rather than physical.

Mike Gill summed up the view of the sahibs: "What is the yeti? In Sherpa mythology, it seems, the yeti is an evil spirit. To the Sherpas, spirits are as real as atoms, or angels, are to us – though to prove they are there is not easy.

The few of us who believe in angels must trust in hearsay or faith and, though we accept atoms without question, there are not many of us who can prove our belief.

"So, if a Sherpa finds unknown tracks in the snow, or catches a glimpse of a vague shape at dusk, or when, by himself on a lonely but stormy night, hears strange noises – why, then it is a yeti."

An edited extract from Sir Edmund Hillary: An Extraordinary Life by Alexa Johnston (Penguin/Viking, $59.95),5936,17792390%255E954,00.html
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« Reply #57 on: May 27, 2011, 07:25:11 pm »

Authorities Hunt for 'Bigfoot' in Malaysia
Fri Dec 30, 6:26 AM

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Authorities began searching the jungles of southern Malaysia on Friday for the mythical "Bigfoot" following a reported sighting of three giant human-like beasts, officials said.

Wildlife authorities may set up cameras in the 309 sq.mile Endau Rompin National Park in Johor state to see if the creatures do exist, they said.

Park director Hashim Yusof ventured into the jungle Friday to survey the site where three fish farm workers reportedly saw the beasts - two adults and a young one - last month, Hashim's secretary told The Associated Press. She did not want her name used and declined to give details.

The fish farm workers were in the jungle to clear an area for a fish pond. They alerted their employer who photographed what appeared to be footprints measuring up to 17 inches, said Lim Teong Kheng, the chairman of the Malaysian Nature Society in Johor.

He said brown hair reeking of body odor was also reportedly retrieved nearby, and a broken tree branch at the site appeared to indicate the creatures were some 10 feet tall.

The New Straits Times newspaper on Thursday reprinted one of the photographs taken by the fish farmer, showing what appears to be a triangular depression in the undergrowth.

Lim welcomed the investigation by the national park saying "Bigfoot" sightings have been reported for decades in the area but never taken seriously for lack of evidence.

"Nobody dared say anything in case people say they are out of their minds," Lim told the AP. "But sightings have been enumerated by many others before this at the Endau Rompin area."

"Bigfoot" is a popular name given in the United States to giant hairy creatures walking on two legs. Sightings of such beasts are reported in many parts of the world but never confirmed.
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« Reply #58 on: May 27, 2011, 07:26:29 pm »

Michelle Sandberg
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5    Icon 1 posted 01-18-2006 10:42 PM      Profile for Michelle Sandberg     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote  Anyone see this yet? I just had to see King Kong! The original is one of my all-time favorites, and the new one is really good, too. The story keeps all the original scenes of the first one, but Peter Jackson makes everything more realistic. For instance, Kong moves on all fours, like a twenty-five ape really would and throws temper tantrums. Also, that native tribe at the beginning is really spooky! I've seen the original lots of times, and it's really cool how the whole remake compliments it, instead of trying to compete with it. Can't wait to see the extended cut of it! Posts: 202 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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« Reply #59 on: May 27, 2011, 07:26:49 pm »

Jennifer O'Dell
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5    Icon 1 posted 01-19-2006 07:19 PM      Profile for Jennifer O'Dell     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote  I saw King Kong, too, Michelle. Pretty cool movie. Posts: 946 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged |
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