Saturday, September 26, 2009

Intriguing report from Indonesia

I blogged earlier about an expedition from the Centre for Fortean Zoology headed for the Indoensian island of Sumatra. They were looking for the orang-pendek, a primate which, as cryptozoological topics go, is highly respectable, even if the evidence still falls short of what's needed to publish a description.

An expedition member named Dave Archer and a local guide named Sahar are certain they spotted the animal from behind as it sat in a tree. It was broad-shouldered, about 110 cm from the waist to the top of the head (they measured the tree it had been sitting in after it jumped down and escaped), dark brown and had a "heavy coat like a mountain gorilla's" This sounds a bit off from the average orang-pendek description (it's often called reddish), but doesn't fit any of Sumatra's known primates either. What elevates this report over just another sighting is that the expedition gathered both hairs and a piece of rattan the ape was chewing on, which would be expected to yeild DNA. Clear footprints were also photographed. Stay tuned.

COMMENT: Something that will raise a red flag with some scientists is that, as seems peculiarly common in cryptid sightings, no photograph was taken. In this case, Dave Archer had a camera but was trying to get to a better viewpoint before using it, and the animal didn't cooperate. If DNA is recovered and properly analyzed, though, there won't be any doubt.

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