Friday, August 26, 2011

Finding Bigfoot - GA Episode Video Debrief

Before I left town to film the second season of Finding Bigfoot, I got together with my faithful companion, Craig Flipy, to film the long-overdue video debrief for the Georgia episode.  In this video, Craig and I cover the Georgia Dash Cam Video, the footprint casts discovered and cast on the set, and other things featured in the episode.  As always, I hope you enjoy two friends discussing the real goings-on behind the scenes of Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Cleverness of the Apes

Many people have the hugely erroneous view that the great apes are unintelligent beasts, acting solely out of instinct.  This is an antiquated perspective that ignores the last 50 years of primate research.  It is now known that the other non-human apes have language skills, commonly use tools for a variety of purposes, and are problem-solving, sentient beings.  Humans are not as special as we'd like to believe, and we are not that different from our more hirsute cousins, sasquatches included.  

Sasquatches, being most likely even more closely related to humans than the other apes, are therefore likely to share many (or most) of the same behaviors as both the other extant great apes and humans.  It is that belief that brings me to point you towards the following excellent article. As with everything I write, please read the following with bigfoots in mind.  In fact, do most things in your life with bigfoots in mind...  I do.

The Cleverness of the Apes


In “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” experiments with genetic engineering lead to an incredibly intelligent species of ape. In reality, these non-human primates are in fact very smart and have better, faster memories than we do. Check out these pictures documenting milestones in great ape intelligence: Chimpanzees make and use tools, gorillas use sign language, bonobos understand spoken language and syntax, orangutans communicate by attaching meaning to arbitrary symbols and making logical, thoughtful choices, and more. — Global Animal
National Geographic, Christine Dell’Amore



An adult female lowland gorilla in the Republic of the Congo's
Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park uses a walking stick to
gauge the water's depth. The behavior, documented in a 2005
study in the journal PLoS Biology, was the first evidence that wild
gorillas use tools. Photo credit: Breuer, Ndoundou-Hockemba,
Fishlock et al, PLoS Biology

The supersmart chimpanzees of the new movie Rise of the Planet of the Apes may exist only on the silver screen — but in real life, great apes are still brainiacs of the animal kingdom.

The “notion is [tool use] requires higher intelligence, because it requires refashioning what nature has provided to achieve the user’s goal,” Anne Russon, an expert in ape intelligence at Canada’s York University, said via email.
Since the toolmaking discovery, scientists have discovered our closest cousins can use sign language, hunt with spears of their own making, and even beat college students in basic memory tests, among other skills.
Koko, a lowland gorilla born in 1971, is currently the most language-proficient nonhuman, according to the Gorilla Foundation, which teaches ASL to gorillas.
The gorilla has a vocabulary of more than a thousand signs, understands about 2,000 words of spoken English, and initiates most conversations with people, according to the foundation’s website.
Her IQ is between 70 and 95 on a human scale—100 is considered a “normal” human IQ.
“Great apes have [language] skills that are similar to small children,” Thomas Breuer, an ape researcher with the Wildlife Conservation Society in the Republic of the Congo, said by email.
Added York University’s Russon: “The great leap forward was using manual signs rather than vocal sounds for language—important because great apes don’t have the same control over sound creation as humans do.”
To read the rest of the article, click this link.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Trail Cam-O-Rama for Conservation


A close up of a chimpanzee's face.  It is 
eerily human-like, especially in the eyes.

IMAGERY FROM THREE CONTINENTS, SEVEN COUNTRIES HIGHLIGHTS IMPORTANCE OF PROTECTED AREAS & COORDINATED APPROACH TO MAMMAL CONSERVATION AND DIVERSIty

Arlington, VA — The first global camera trap mammal study, announced today by a group of international scientists, has documented 105 species in nearly 52,000 images, from seven protected areas across the Americas, Africa and Asia. The photographs reveal an amazing variety of animals in their most candid moments — from a minute mouse to the enormous African elephant, plus gorillas, cougars, giant anteaters and — surprisingly — even tourists and poachers.

IN PHOTOS: See the images from the camera traps »

Analysis of the photographic data has helped scientists confirm a key conclusion that until now, was understood through uncoordinated local study: habitat loss and smaller reserves have a direct and detrimental impact on the diversity and survival of mammal populations. Impacts are seen in the form of less diversity of species and less variety of body sizes and diets (smaller animals and insectivores are the first to disappear), among others. This information replicated over time and space is crucial to understand the effects of global and regional threats on forest mammals and anticipate extinctions before it is too late.

The results of the study have been published in the article "Community structure and diversity of tropical mammals: data from a global camera trap network", in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. The study was led by Dr. Jorge Ahumada, ecologist with the Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring (TEAM) Network at Conservation International. Protected areas in Brazil, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Laos, Suriname, Tanzania and Uganda were researched, making this not only the first global camera trap mammal study, but also the largest camera trap study of any class of animals (not just mammals).

To read the rest of the article on Conservation.com, and to see more photos, click this link.



Sunday, August 14, 2011

OregonBigfoot.com Gets a New Look


A brand new look and feel to a well established website made its debut this week over at OregonBigfoot.com.  You probably have seen the site from either Oregon Bigfoot's long-term history on the web, or perhaps by visiting it via my links to the right on this page.  Either way, Autumn Williams has put in a lot of work to revamp her site for the modern era.

Besides being one of the longest running bigfoot websites still on line today, Oregon Bigfoot has distinguished itself by providing hundreds of sighting reports for the public to enjoy.  The "members" section of her website boasts probably more photographs, videos, and sound recordings than any other site.  That's not even mentioning her private, members forum that is a supportive, non-judgmental place for witnesses to come forth and discuss their observations without fear of ridicule.

For a different, passive approach to bigfooting, there is no better place to look than OregonBigfoot.com.  Don't bother bringing your camoflauge pants, no-scent spray, and super cool game cameras.  That's not the way they do things over there.  If you're interested in long-term, passive interaction and supportive co-existence, then OregonBigfoot is a place you'll want to check out.

Enoch: A Bigfoot Story

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Finding Bigfoot, Lego-Style

I love Legos, and now I love them even more...


It's stuff like this that helps me remember why I do this...