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Friday, June 26, 2015

Gene explains dumb apes Great apes lack nuts and bolts of language gene

15 August 2002 Helen Pearson

Chimpanzees lack key parts of a language gene that is critical for

human speech, say researchers. The finding may begin to explain
 why only humans use spoken language. Last year scientists identified
the first gene, called FOXP2, linked to human language. People with
mistakes in this gene have severe difficulties with speech and grammar.

Now Svante Paabo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary

Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and his colleagues have compared
 human FOXP2 with the versions of the gene found in the chimpanzee,
gorilla, orang-utan, rhesus macaque and mouse. Human FOXP2
 contains
 two key changes in its DNA compared with the other animals, the team
found.
 "It changed in the human lineage," says team member Wolfgang Enard.

The changes may affect the human ability to make fine movements of the 

        mouth and larynx, and thus to develop spoken language, Enard
suggests. 
        "It's fascinating," says Martin Nowak, who studies the evolution of
language
at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. "It's the beginning of a
 genetic foundation for human language."

Language is unique to humans: chimpanzees can be trained to

communicate 
        using a complex set of symbols, but they can pronounce only
 a handful
         of words because they cannot make the required facial
movements.
The gene 
        variant that permits language may have become widespread
during the l
ast 200,000 years, Enard estimates, based on analyses of the
human gene
from individuals worldwide. It was around this time that anatomically
modern humans emerged. The development of language may have
been an important driving
force behind human expansion. It allowed large amounts of information
         to be passed from one generation to the next, explains Nowak.

Researchers are not yet clear what the FOXP2 gene does, but they

think it
acts
by switching other genes on and off. The two changes aside, the gene
is
almost identical in humans and the other animals examined.

References
1.Lai, C.S.L. et al. A forkhead-domain gene is mutated in severe

speech and language disorder. Nature, 413, 519 - 523, (2001).

2.Enard, W. et al. Molecular evolution of FOXP2, a gene involved

in speech 
        and language. Nature, published online, doi:10.1038/nature01025
 (2002).

Nature News Service / Macmillan Magazines Ltd 2002

Friday, May 15, 2015

1982 Paul Freeman Sasquatch footprints

In 1982 Paul Freeman claimed he found Sasquatch tracks near a location he claimed to have a sighting of the creature. Professional tracker Joel Hardin was brought in to determine the authenticity of the prints. Here is an interview Daniel Perez did with Mr. Hardin. It has been said since this by those professing expertise on Sasquatch footprints that Hardin was using "human parameters" when making his examination, this is a wrong assumption of the actual work he did.
 
 
Daniel Perez:  To my knowledge you are the only man in the United States to have been flown in a Piper twin engine plane to inspect “Bigfoot” tracks on the taxpayer’s dime. How does that hit you? 
 
Joel Hardin:  I have never considered it in that aspect and of all of the requests that I’ve had probably the most unusual which is why I wrote the story for the book.
 
DP: You mention on page 125 of your book, “I have failed to see the value of plaster casts, regardless of the quality, and these [Bigfoot plaster castings] weren’t very good.” Can you explain that position a little bit better, as foot castings in medical fields, like podiatry, are done all the time and the castings are of great importance. 
 
JH:  I’ve worked in the criminal evidence field through law enforcement and a professional expert tracker presenting technical tracking evidence for the past forty-five years.  During that time I have never seen or have I been aware of a plaster cast being used to identify or provide evidence comparable to that of a skilled tracker.
 
DP: You write in your book, Tracker, “The big wrangler [Paul] Freeman wore a permanent scowl and I was sure I wasn’t mistaking his glance of dislike.” Before you arrived, did Paul know the purpose of your visit and who you were in the tracking world?
 
JH:   I really do not know.  I presume that his boss, the district Forest Service Ranger told all assembled forest service personnel that I was coming and perhaps someone told him who I was but I don’t know that or just don’t remember.  I understood that Mr. Freeman and the others had been told that I was a Border Patrol tracker and was going to go look at the prints and render an opinion as to whether or not they were real or a hoax.
 
DP: Paul Freeman claimed a sighting inside the Walla Walla watershed in Washington state on June 10, 1982 and, as I understand it, you were there about one week later (about June 17, 1982). Is that correct and at  first look, did the footprints you observed appear to be one week old?  
 
JH: Daniel – I have not and do not have time now to go dig out the original report and notes – my recollection is that I was there a few days after the sighting.  However, [I] was not taken to the area where the original sighting took place but instead where Freeman had subsequently a couple days later found additional tracks.
 
DP:  Dr. Grover Krantz, from Washington State University at Pullman, stated the 1982 Freeman plaster castings could not have been faked. Did Dr. Krantz ever reach out to you to ask your opinion of the Bigfoot tracks? 
 
JH:  Dr. Krantz was correct in that the plaster castings were not faked.  They were real but the question was whether or not the prints from which the castings were made were real or not.  I never met Grover Krantz and had never heard of him until his entry into the discussion sometime after my being on scene.  I don’t believe that Krantz every went into the watershed drainage and he never attempted to contact me.
 
DP: When you first saw the prints in the ground, what was your very first impression?  
 
JH: They were faked.
 
DP: Did you have any meaningful conversation with Paul Freeman on the trail about the footprints or his sighting?  
 
JH: No, actually the Forest Service Ranger in charge and others of his staff and the biologists and a couple other scientists pretty much pushed Freeman into the background.  Later, as I remember no one even knew when he left the group.
DP: On this trip to investigate the footprints you also observed trackways of deer, elk, horse or mules and everything seemed to be natural but the Bigfoot trackway. Can you explain more fully what you observed?  
 
JH: Normal walk in the woods. The concentration of normal animal sign seemed to be abnormal but it was a protected area.  The bear sign was quite noticeable and
Paul Freeman in Pullman, Washington, June 1989, the only time I every spoke with him. He was there to present at a conference organized by the now defunct International Society of Cryptozoology about his findings on Bigfoot.  When alleged Bigfoot hair supplied by Mr. Freeman was determined to be “synthetic,” Paul made a quick exit from the meet. Photo courtesy and copyright © by Daniel Perez, 2015. frequent.
 
DP:  Paul Freeman made numerous claims of Bigfoot after 1982 and also received quite a bit of publicity. Did you keep track of him via the newspaper? 
 
JH: No, not really.  People in the Northwest that knew me pretty much kept me advised whenever some bit of publicity arose in their area. 
 
DP:  On some of the Bigfoot tracks you used “a two-foot-long heavy stem of grass”  to do an experiment with  a Bigfoot print and your grass stem told you something. What was it telling you (page 136 of his book)?  
 
JH: I have responded to your questions without going back to the book and the page reference that you have provided so if my response doesn’t seem to address your question please ask again.  I remember getting a particular long green heavy stem of the elk wallow grass to insert into the middle of the Bigfoot track in the mud of the wallow.  I gently pushed this straw or stem straight down into the center of the track and it went down about eight to ten inches below the track impression.  This indicated that the size of the foot surface precluded the person being able to push it down into the mud to reach solid ground below.  In other words if the person had stepped into the mud beside the Bigfoot impression they would have sunk into the mud another 10 or 12 inches.  **
 
  At the time Scott Forslund wrote an article for Pacific Northwest magazine, March 1983, at which time he also interviewed Joel Hardin. Here is what Hardin told Forslund: “The creature was supposedly much heavier than any two of us combined, yet there wasn’t a man among us who didn’t sink farther into the mud than some of the tracks… on harder ground farther up the trail, it was obvious that the tracks had been ground into the trail, side-to-side. In two separate tracks near a tree, fir needles had evidently been blown or dusted away before the track was made.”
  Keep in mind that Joel Hardin often gives sworn testimony in courtrooms and is called upon for both his expertise in tracking and credibility as an eyewitness. 
  To explain or explain away how debris was blown from inside a track Dr. Grover Krantz provided readers of his Big Footprints an incoherent if not lame explanation: “Forest litter disappears remarkably well inside a footprint when it is stepped on with great weight, as I have observed in my own footprints.” There is no explanation as to how this is accomplished.
  Now that the dust has completely settled on all Bigfoot evidence related to the late Paul Freeman I find myself still trying to separate the wheat from the chaff. 
  Cliff Barackman from the television show Finding Bigfoot purchased a map from the Freeman family showing locations and dates of where, presumably, sighting and tracks finds were made and it was compiled by Paul himself. There is no question the map is legitimate, as it was noted by the late newspaper reporter Vance Orchard. However, it makes me wonder, was Paul documenting where he faked data or was he recording real discoveries?
  In another handwritten document authored by Paul Freeman he can’t keep his story straight, writing about having his “first” Sasquatch sighting in June 1981, when the date was 1982. It is almost akin to forgetting the date of your own birthday. 
  Mr. Freeman’s employment is also worthy of notation. On May 1, 1982 he is hired on as a Mill Creek Watershed patrolman. On June 10th he claims a sighting and tracks are discovered. On June 16th more tracks are found. Before the month is out Paul Freeman resigns from his job. Wayne Long told The Associated Press “non-performance was a factor,” adding “he got more involved in searching for that creature than doing his job.” 
   In 1992 (often incorrectly noted as 1994) Paul Freeman was lucky enough to get a video of a Bigfoot and in this film, before you see the subject, you see the so called footprints of the subject. You can see this video by going to YouTube: “Paul Freeman Raw Video Footage” and about 45 seconds into the film you see a footprint. 
  Remarkably, most of the forest debris inside the footprint (shown below) is cleared away,  a description also given by tracker Joel Hardin of Bigfoot tracks noted ten years earlier! Was a non-debris footprint the calling card of Bigfoot. Or Paul Freeman?
   It the end, I just get the haunting feeling that we are witnessing the handiwork of Paul Freeman and not the sign of the legendary Bigfoot. Because this track is directly associated with Paul Freeman’s video,  it would cause me to throw a red flag out and to be cautious of that video as well. 
  I can’t write Paul Freeman off as a complete fraud but RenĂ© Dahinden did just that in a letter to me dated June 8, 1983: “Anyway, I don’t believe a damn thing about it. Just does not hang together - in my view.”

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Children see hairy man



In the July 31st, 2013 issue of the Delta Discovery, we published a story about a Hairy Man sighting that took place in April of this year in the village of Napakiak. The story this week is about the same Hairy Man, but from the perspective of two children who witnessed the creature.
It was late April 2013, and two brothers age 16 and 12 were outside in their village of Napakiak. They could see the bluff on the other side of Napakiak Slough and it was there that they saw the creature.
It was very large, approximately 9 feet in height and black colored, said the 16 year old.
“It was taller than a human and very black, just standing in the open,” he said.
The older boy waved his arms at it to get its attention. He said he even tried whistling at it but the creature just stood there looking at them.
The younger boy told his brother that he was scared so the older brother reassured him not to be scared.
“This is the first time I experienced seeing Bigfoot,” said the 12 year old.
There was still some snow on the ground on this late April day, and there were children playing and sledding down the bluff. Some of the kids then saw the creature and started running for home, crying in terror. The children later described the animal saying, “Its hair was dark brown.”
The 16 year old boy said that he heard about the other children who had run home crying.
The animal eventually ambled away over the hill in a northwesterly direction until it disappeared from view, as reported in the previous article.
The person that provided the picture of the footprints went a day or two later and photographed the footprints of the being. Even though the tracks were distorted after a couple days by the hot sun in springtime, it was clear that the footprints were too large for humans.

Courtesy Delta Discovery

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Could the Sasquatch be responsible?


An unusually high number of calves missing from Gravelly Mountain Range following summer grazing


Posted on December 3, 2014 by Abigail Dennis

In an easily accessible mountain range like the Gravelly Mountains, where livestock producers graze cattle on summer Forest Service allotments, integrity is key. Producers rely on the integrity of people driving the Gravelly Range Road not to mess with their cattle.

This year, multiple ranches from the Madison and Ruby valleys that graze their cattle in the Gravellys are missing a surprising number of calves.

“We had no idea we were going to be out that many calves until we started gathering them,” Twin Bridges rancher Rick Sandru said. “It seems like it must be two-legged predators.”

The two-legged predators Sandru is referring to are cattle rustlers. Cattle rustling is the term used to describe stealing cattle in the American west.

The Madison County Livestock Protective Committee is currently offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of cattle rustlers in the area. Livestock protective committees were originally formed in eastern Montana when the area was struggling with excessive cattle rustling, Sandru explained. In recent years there has been less evidence of rustling so the protective committees have been used to battle any threat to the livestock industry – lately, Madison County’s protective committee has focused its attention on predators.

Department of Livestock crime investigator Dan Bugni said he has not received any calls with information since the reward was offered.

“We felt offering a reward would be a good way to raise awareness,” said Neil Barnosky, a Sheridan rancher who is also part of the livestock protective committee. “A lot of people recreate (in the Gravelly Mountain Range) all summer long, so if rustling is what is happening up there, more eyes looking for things out of the usual is a good thing.”

Jeffers rancher Gary Clark, another member of the protective committee, said he has heard rumblings of unusual loss from Madison Valley producers who run cattle in the Gravelly Mountain Range, but not from those who keep cattle on the east side of the Madison River.

“If they’re losing that many cattle, I think there’s something going on,” Clark said. “If the wolves were getting them, they would be finding some evidence of carcasses or something.”

Significant losses

Montana Board of Livestock member and Jeffers resident John Scully said he is “aware” there have been significant losses this year.

“Because the Gravellys are so accessible, it’s hard to believe (the calves) weren’t picked up by a third party,” Scully said.

Scully said any producer who believes they have been the victim of cattle rustling should immediately contact the Department of Livestock in Helena – Scully said to both call and email the department.

“The department can investigate it,” Scully explained. “It’s also important they notify neighboring states. This is pure speculation, but it’s likely the calves would go to market in Idaho or Wyoming if there is a third party involved.”

Former Sheridan rancher and Madison County commissioner Dave Schulz said cattle prices are at an all-time high this year, which may be the reason the producers are out so many calves this year as opposed to previous years.

“It’s more of a concern this year than it was two or three years ago,” Schulz said. “A 600 pound calf at $2.50 a pound is worth $1,500. So if you manage to slip into the backcountry and round three of those critters up, you’ve just made yourself $4,500.”

Cattle rustling is a felony theft, according to Madison County Attorney Chris Christensen. The theft of any commonly domesticated hooved animal can result in a fine of no less than $5,000 but not to exceed $50,000, imprisonment in the state prison for a term not to exceed 10 years or both, Christensen said.

Scully agreed with Schulz, adding that people may be willing to gamble on cattle rustling just because prices are so high.

“It’s a big hit, there’s not doubt about it,” Scully said. “Whoever is doing it knows exactly what they are doing.”

Or, like Sandru says, “good cattle prices don’t help you much if you don’t have an animal to sell.”

Bugni covers the west half of Madison County and all of Beaverhead County, including the Gravelly Mountain Range.

“It’s tough to say when you consider the wolf aspect,” Bugni said, explaining if he thinks rustling is on the uptick this year. “I do think potential for theft is there because cattle prices are so high, people are a lot more willing to put their lives on the line and risk a felony.”

Producers who have lost cattle have all but ruled out a predator problem. In 2010, Sandru said the area suffered from a wolf issue – the missing calves that year were explainable because the ranchers found evidence of kills.

“We found body parts all summer long,” Sandru said. “This time, there was none of that.”

Barnosky emphasized that there is no evidence of rustlers in the area, but said predator issues usually leave clear signs – dead or wounded cattle.

“There’s always loss – loss that you know about,” Barnosky said. “Then there’s unaccounted for loss. Unaccounted for loss happens every year; it’s rough country up there. But this is more loss than ever.”




Thursday, April 2, 2015

Famed Human Ancestor Lucy Wasn't Alone: Meet 'Little Foot'




A mysterious ancient relative of humanity known as Little Foot apparently roamed the Earth at about the same time as the famed Lucy, suggesting the ancestors of humans may have existed with significant diversity across a good part of Africa, researchers say.
This finding comes from evidence suggesting the mysterious human relative was buried some 3.7 billion years ago, more recently than thought. This new date may one day help shed light on which region and which species gave rise to humanity, scientists added.
Among the earliest known relatives of the human lineage definitely known to walk upright was Australopithecus afarensis, the species that included the famed 3.2-million-year-old Lucy. Australopithecines are the leading candidates for direct ancestors of humans, living about 2.9 million to 4.1 million years ago. (The human lineage, Homo, is thought to have originated about 2 million years ago.)
While Australopithecus afarensis dwelled in eastern Africa, another australopithecine nicknamed Little Foot, due to the diminutive nature of the bones, lived in southern Africa. Discovered about 20 years ago by paleoanthropologist Ronald Clarke from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, Little Foot apparently fell down a narrow shaft in the Sterkfontein Caves. This left behind a nearly complete skeleton that could yield key insights on human evolution. [See Images of Little Foot and Other Australopithecines]
Lucy's friends
It remains debated what kind of australopithecine Little Foot was. Many scientists think Little Foot was a member of Australopithecus africanus, which had a rounder skull housing a larger brain and smaller teeth than did Lucy and the rest of Australopithecus afarensis. However, Clarke and others suggest Little Foot belonged to another australopithecine known as Australopithecus prometheus, which had a longer, flatter face and larger cheek teeth than Australopithecus africanus.
It was impossible to fit Little Foot into the human family tree with any certainty because "ever since its discovery, the age of Little Foot has been debated," said lead study author Darryl Granger, a geochronologist at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. If researchers can figure out when Little Foot arose, they might be able to better pinpoint which Australopithecus species and which part of Africa ultimately gave rise to Homo.
Now, Granger and his colleagues have found evidence that Little Foot lived at about the same time as Lucy. Even so, the fossil doesn't give a definitive answer on Little Foot's species.
"The most important implication from dating Little Foot is that we now know that australopithecines were in South Africa early in their evolution," Granger told Live Science. "This implies an evolutionary connection between South Africa and East Africa prior to the age of Little Foot, and with enough time for the australopithecine species to diverge."
This in turn suggests that other australopithecines — and, later, humans — "did not all have to have derived from Australopithecus afarensis," Clarke told Live Science. "There could well have been many species of Australopithecus extending over a much wider area of Africa."
Dating Little Foot
The researchers first tried dating the age of Little Foot more than a decade ago "and got an age of around 4 million years, which would place Little Foot among the oldest of the australopithecines," Granger said.
However, dating the age of fossils in caves is extraordinarily complicated because material can wash into a cave from the outside and easily confound analysis. When others dated the age of minerals known as flowstones near Little Foot, they found those cave formations originated about 2.2 million years ago. "I was disappointed, but I could see nothing wrong with their ages," Granger said.
But a recent study found these nearby flowstones did not reflect Little Foot's age because they were not part of the same layer of rock that held the fossils and therefore did not form at the same time. In the new analysis, Granger and his colleagues pinpointed the fossil's age by measuring levels of aluminum and beryllium isotopes in quartz in the same rock layer as the skeleton.
The researchers also found that the earliest stone tools in the same cave date back to about 2.2 million years ago. This is a similar age to early stone tools found elsewhere in eastern and southern Africa. "This implies a connection between South African and East African hominids that occurred soon after the appearance of stone tools," Granger said.
The researchers said they hope that other sites around the world will now be dated using their method. "There should be a thorough study to explore the strengths and weaknesses of the method," Granger said.
Granger, Clarke and their colleagues detailed their findings in the April 2 issue of the journal Nature.
Follow Live Science @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on Live Science

Sunday, March 22, 2015

START OF MY 2015 FIELD WORK

I am opening a new phase of field work, which actually began last week. I just spoke with a witness in Oregon who had a sighting less than half hour ago. I will share more information as the situation evolves.


I traveled to an area approximately 60 miles north of me last week to look over an area a witness who contacted me had a series of encounters with several Sasquatch's. I promised to keep him anonymous so I won't mention his name but during our survey of the locations he took me to, we found two tree's snapped, this is one of them.  While not looking very impressive, this is a solid indicator of activity in this location. This was not a fresh marking so we found no other physical evidence at this particular location, but it is worth making a more in depth search of the surrounding areas. I also found next to a very small stream at another location which was remote, what appear to be Sasquatch finger drag marks, I will share those photographs at a later date, but they were less than six hours old and impressive.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Skull Details Suggest Neanderthals Were Not Humans

By John Noble Wilford January 27, 2004

Ever since their discovery in the 19th century, Neanderthals have been

 like the uncomfortably odd relatives who show up at a family reunion.
Should they be seated with the closest kin, sent to the back of the room
with the distant cousins or tossed out as rank interlopers, despite a family
resemblance?

In short, were the now-extinct Neanderthals of Europe full members of the

 modern human species, a subspecies or an entirely different species?
The answer has implications for the ancestry of modern Europeans:
whether some Neanderthal blood could flow in their veins.

Although many scientists think Neanderthals were a subspecies, which

 could have interbred
with Homo sapiens, new research appears to confirm the more widely

held view that
Neanderthals and modern humans were significantly different, enough

 to qualify as separate
species.

The findings were based on detailed measurements of variations in the

 skulls of modern humans and Neanderthals as well as 12 existing species
 of nonhuman primates. The research team, led by Dr. Katerina Harvati,
a paleoanthropologist at New York University, reported its results yesterday
 in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"What we are really saying is that Neanderthals did not co ntribute to the a

ncestry of modern Europeans," Dr. Harvati said in an interview. The research
 lends strong support for the
single-origin theory of modern human evolution, one of two models that have

split anthropology into warring camps. This theory holds that modern Homo
sapiens is a new species that arose relatively recently in Africa - more than
100,000 years ago - and spread out to replace indigenous archaic populations
around the world. Neanderthals were one such group, a separate species that
did not breed with the newcomers before it vanished.

The opposing regional-continuity theory holds that the new migrants from

 Africa bred at least to some extent with the archaic populations they encountered,
perhaps accounting for some superficial differences among people today in different
regions. In this view, Neanderthals were a subspecies and at least partly ancestral
 to modern Europeans.

Dr. Eric Delson, a paleontologist at the American Museum of Natural History

and Lehman College, both in New York City, said the new research was a
mathematically rigorous approach to the question of Neanderthal-human
relationships. "It's a very convincing piece of work," Dr. Delson said. But
not convincing enough, it seems, to put the controversy to rest.

"This research will not change many minds," said Dr. Erik Trinkaus, a specialist

 in Neanderthal studies at Washington University in St. Louis. His research has
suggested that there was some interbreeding.

"We have known for a long time what these fossils look like," Dr. Trinkaus continued.

"We know that Neanderthals are distinctive, but this research doesn't address their
underlying biology." In the new research, Dr. Harvati and her colleagues,
Dr. Stephen R. Frost of the New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury
and Dr. Kieran P. McNulty of Baylor University in Waco, Tex., used a technique
known as geometric morphometrics to measure the degree of variation between
 and among living primate species, including chimpanzees, gorillas, baboons,
monkeys and humans.

The researchers focused their analysis on the same 15 "landmarks" on the cranium

 and face
of each specimen. They were examined in 3-D to determine even the finest variations

in shapes.
The purpose, Dr. Harvati said, "was to devise a quantitative method to determine what

degree of difference justified classifying specimens as different species." The differences measured between modern humans and Neanderthals were found to be significantly
greater than those found between subspecies or populations of the other species studied. The two living species of chimpanzees, for example, appear to be more closely related to each other than Neanderthals are to humans, the scientists concluded.

In a statement about the findings, Dr. Harvati said the research provided "the most concrete evidence to date that Neanderthals are indeed a separate species within the genus Homo."