July 2002 by Rosanne
North American skeptics
take note - in 1976-77, the Chinese Government sponsored a yeren (wildman)
- commonly known to the West as Bigfoot expedition to Shennongjia Mountain
Forest in central Hubei Province consisting of 100 people, including army
That trip and others
have produced numerous samples of what Yuan Zhenxin, a well-known paleoanthropologist
from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, claims are the hair, footprints
and feces of an undiscovered species, possibly the missing link between
man and ape - the wildman.
describe the wildman as about 9 feet tall, with five-toed feet measuring
some 40 centimetres in length, red hair and terrible body odour. He is
apparently a vegetarian who prefers corn-on-the-cob.Since the 1970s, government
sponsored expeditions have managed to detail scores of wildman sightings
among local residents, although the wildman himself continues to shy away
from both outsiders and cameras, complicating independent verification.
remain resolute in their investigations. According to a August 2, 1988
report in Shanghai's Wenhui Bao, an analysis of hair samples allegedly
taken from the wildman prove he exists and the wildman is not
alone out there.
Yuan believes some
1,000 to 2,000 of these Chinese Bigfoot creatures are currently roaming
the dense forests of Hubei's mountain area - interactions with locals
have ranged from crude attempts at communication to encounters of a more
Yuan notes that he has personally investigated stories
of abduction, including two cases where farmers were kidnapped by
the creature but managed to escape. Yuan refuses, or fails to some degree to elaborate on the nature
of these abductions, but according to victims of wildman's American cousin,
Bigfoot, the creature has a voracious sexual appetite.
Some critics will
inevitably attribute these sightings to poisonous Western influences,
however they would be wrong. Reported sightings of the wildman date back
thousands of years before China had any contact with the West.
A statesman-poet named
Qu Yuan who lived in the third century BC in the Shennongjia area referred
to "mountain ogres" in his verses. While a seventh century historian
described a tribe of "hairy men" living in the same region,
and an 18th century poet spoke of a creature "monkey-like yet not
monkey" in adjoining Shaanxi province.
Liu Minzhuang, a biology
lecturer in Shanghai who has been researching wildman for more than 20
years, notes the convincing testimony of one old peasant. According to
the elderly witness, he accompanied Kuomintang soldiers as they tracked
eight wildmen through thick forests for 10 days in 1947.
One wildman was
eventually killed and dismembered by the soldiers, the peasant said, but
records of the incident were lost in the chaos of the civil war.
Such violent encounters
may explain the wildman's reluctance to mix socially with the human species.
Perhaps the wildman is a distant hominid cousin of homo sapiens from some
lost prehistoric era who has already survived tough lessons.
surprise us that the wildman would go to extremes to avoid contact? Considering
recent events - from the September 11 attacks to the bombing of innocent
civilians in Afghanistan - how can we feign surprise.
© Shanghai Star, China 21 July 2002
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