Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Bigfoot Times, March 2014

Who is this man and what did he see on the California side of Lake Tahoe? Find out in the the March Bigfoot Times. A new book with an interesting twist on Patty from Bluff Creek fame. Don't get the Bigfoot Times? It is very, very affordable.

Daniel Perez


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Patterson-Gimlin Filmsite: 1968 to 2012

The cover of the fold out postcard and the unfolded  version,  shown below. Click on the image for a better view.


This fold out postcard is a must have for fans of the Patterson-Gimlin film from 1967. Professionally printed in the United States on 100 # stock glossy paper in full color, you will see how the film site has changed its shape and color throughout the years, from 1968 to 2012, with never-before-seen images.  The five images were shot by the late George Haas, Peter Byrne, Walt Leeds, the late Warren Thompson and finally, by the editor of the Bigfoot Times newsletter, Daniel Perez, in July 2012. Don't delay, get your very own copy today! With a limited printing of 1,000 supplies are limited so don't delay and act today. At only $5.50 per copy, they are very affordable and worth every penny. No matter where you live, in Australia or the United Kingdom or even if you live in Bluff Creek, the price, including postage, is the same, $5.50. Simply go to PayPal and use my e-mail address: perez952@sbcglobal to buy your very own copy. This is a must have item on the P-G film site. Order today and we will rush you your very own copy


A unique item destined to be a collector's postcard. Don't delay -- purchase your very own copy today!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Bigfoot Times January 2014

The Bigfoot Times for January 2014 was sent to members via postal mail today, January 20, 2014, on Martin Luther King Day (A National Holiday) so your newsletter might be delayed a few days. Since January 1998 with this edition of the Bigfoot Times, we have produced entertaining, engaging and relevant news to the Bigfoot community.

Should you wish to get the newsletter, for the time being just send a check or money order as many people have e-mailed me that they cannot use the paypal function noted on this website. Address and cost are noted on this site:

Daniel Perez
10926 Milano Avenue
Norwalk, California 90650-1638
$17.50 USA
$21.00 Rest of world

Stay On The Track,

Daniel Perez
Bigfoot Times
editor/publisher

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Bigfoot Times, December 2013

The Bigfoot Times for December 2013 was released to our membership on December 6th. Find out who was the Bigfooter Of The Year. And find out about the fascinating story these boys have. According to these boys, they saw...

Find out in this issue!
$17.50/year (USA) & $21/year (Rest of world)

Happy Holidays,

Daniel Perez
editor/publisher

Friday, December 06, 2013

Gene Baade Reviews New Bigfoot Book


Gilmour, Shannon. THE TRUE EXISTENCE OF NON EXISTENT ENTITIES: Will science hold you up, when you have to stand before God?  Privately Printed, San Bernardino, 2013. 134pages. 


The cover of Shannon Gilmour's book

Sasquatch: What are they and where did they come from? These questions into the nature of the sasquatch are involved in almost all bigfoot research. Mostly, researchers are trying to engage with the science involved, but some are also trying to understand the nature of these creatures from a religious angle.  Ms. Gilmour has the answer to the latter, if you accept her theology and her Biblical interpretations.
Gilmour is convinced sasquatch have angel DNA from fallen angels and are up to no good. She contends they are here to undermine faith and oppose the work of God.  They are, in fact, evil (p. 68).  She puts together quite a fabulous chronology of how sasquatch came to be and have remained in the world.
Before entering into a critique of her thesis, it needs to be noted that Gilmour, who lives in Saskatchewan, has purportedly had ongoing interactions with sasquatch along the wooded perimeters of her property and inside.  It is interesting reading, as most “habituation” situation reading is.  This reviewer has no reason to doubt her encounters or the unusual things that have happened.  She also describes her psychological interaction.
The foundation of Ms. Gilmour’s sasquatch theology is based in a backwater of creation exegesis called “Serpent Seed” (with origins in the 18th Century).  That interpretation suggests that the “fruit” offered to Eve by the serpent (aka: Satan) was a sexual union between Eve and the latter, who was also purportedly, according to Gilmour, a cherub on guard duty in the Garden of Eden.  Occurring soon after that union was Eve’s union with Adam. The results of this double impregnation were the births of Cain & Abel, with Cain being born as the offspring of Satan and Eve, and Abel, the offspring of Adam and Eve.
Central to Gilmour’s argument is that Satan and the fallen angels possessed DNA which was passed on to Cain and his descendants, and on down to the sasquatch of our times.  Her argument becomes complex as she suggests that, after several generations, this fallen angel DNA became watered-down and had to be strengthened by the introduction of additional angelic DNA, supposedly before and after the Flood.  The reference in Genesis 6 to the “sons of God” mating with the “daughters of men,” giving rise to the Nephilim (“the heroes of old, men of renown”) is seen by Gilmour as evidence of that.
The books of Genesis, Deuteronomy, and other texts are indeed intriguing and catch the sasquatch researcher’s attention by their occasional reference to the giants that lived in Canaan.  These and other passages lend, by inductive rather than deductive reasoning, a superficial credence to Ms. Gilmour’s rationale.
Far be it from this reviewer to suggest that he knows the real ancient and present truths of all these things, or possess an incontrovertible interpretation of the limited, undeveloped passages in the Bible referring to giants.  They are indeed interesting references and may yet play a role as we consider giants past and present.  That said, it must nevertheless be stated that Ms. Gilmour hangs her whole argument on a couple of great leaps of Biblical misinterpretation that are not warranted by the texts or are pure speculation because of a lack of information.  
(1) By what reasoning does the author adopt a literal interpretation of the first three chapters of Genesis, and yet with figurative interpretation turn the serpent into a cherub possessing DNA?  You can’t have it both ways.  (2) How can the author scientifically establish that spiritual beings such as angels, classically understood as a separate order of creation, possess DNA?  It is sheer speculation.  (3) If the purpose of the serpent’s union with Eve was to prevent the Messiah from being born (p. 87), then why didn’t it simply ignore Eve in the first place, and thus remove altogether the reason why God’s Son was to be born?  All Christians agree that Christ became incarnate to make atonement after the fall into sin.  Gilmour’s primary thesis of origins falls entirely apart with this contradiction.  (4) While Biblical giants and Nephilim are intriguing characters for many who study the sasquatch, there is nothing approaching consensus among Biblical scholars that the “sons of God” were angels.  Most think not, and the Book of 1st Enoch in the pseudopigrapha is probably not the support some think it is.  (5) The author’s suggestion that the mark of Cain might be gigantism (p 96) is most attractive, but entirely speculative.  We simply do not know what the mark of Cain was, even if we know why it was placed on him.
It has apparently been said, either seriously or in jest, that unknown DNA in sasquatch research might be called “angel DNA.”  It is certainly not for this reviewer to say just what DNA is present in the sasquatch.  For those who think the stuff of angels is there, this book will be enjoyed.  Many, however, who seriously consider the sasquatch as a theological problem as well as a scientific one, will be most reluctant to push the meanings of certain scripture texts into such strange corners.  For them this book may be read with interest, but it will be read as unsupported and highly speculative fiction.  
No matter how attractive Ms. Gilmour’s chain of speculation might be, it is no stronger than its weakest link.



Rene Dahinden At Home At The Vancouver Gun Club

Member Michael Meraz provided this image of himself and René Dahinden on May 26, 1992. This area with the table served as René's kitchen, living room and workshop. Image courtesy and copyright © of Michael Meraz, 2013.


Thursday, December 05, 2013

Bigfoot Exhibit: Bigfooters Dr. Jeff Meldrum, Chris Murphy and Tom Steenburg will be There!


Dr. Jeff  Meldrum to Speak at Bigfoot Exhibit Opening in Oregon

Dr. Jeff Meldrum is a Full Professor of Anatomy and Anthropology at Idaho State University
"Chris Murphy curated it, and we brought it down from Vancouver, B.C. We’re trying to mix in some updated local stories with the exhibit." -- Susan Buce; Columbia Gorge Discovery CenterBelow is a press release from The Discovery Center and Museum in the Dalles, Oregon. This should be a great event for the whole family. A presentation by Dr. Jeff Meldrum will kick off a new exhibit curated by Chris Murphy himself.PRESS RELEASE - For Immediate ReleaseDate: November 27, 2013Contact: Susan Buce, Marketing Manager, 541-296-8600 x 215marketing@gorgediscovery.orgSUMMARY: Columbia Gorge Discovery Center presents “Sasquatch Revealed,” a new exhibit opening Saturday, December 28, 2013 with dinner at 5:30 p.m. and a speaker presentation by Dr. Jeff Meldrum, Chris Murphy, and Thomas Steenburg following at 6:30 p.m. This exhibit draws from all the available scientific research and evidence compiled to date on the hominoid known as Sasquatch, or Bigfoot. Tickets are required by Dec. 23. Call 541-296-8600 x 201 for more information or visitwww.gorgediscovery.org“Sasquatch Revealed” Exhibit opens Dec. 28THE DALLES, Oregon — Does Sasquatch exist? Rumors of a large, hairy, man-like creature roaming the Cascade Mountains have existed for centuries. Where does myth end and science begin? Columbia Gorge Discovery Center presents “Sasquatch Revealed,” a new exhibit opening Saturday, December 28, 2013 with dinner at 5:30 p.m. and a speaker presentation by Dr. Jeff Meldrum, Chris Murphy, and Thomas Steenburg following at 6:30 p.m.This exhibit draws from all the available scientific research and evidence compiled to date on the hominoid known as Sasquatch, or Bigfoot. The display, curated by Christopher Murphy of Vancouver, British Columbia, will be at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center through February 23, 2014. Explore audio segments, view a gallery of footprint and handprint casts, reports of sightings in Wasco County and United States, newspaper reports, comparative skulls, and artist renditions.Buffet dinner will be served starting at 5:30 pm in the Basalt Rock Café, with your choice of herb-encrusted prime rib or roast salmon with lemon dill glaze. Children’s menu includes ‘Mountain Mac & Cheese’ and ‘Sasquatch Stronganoff’.Following the dinner, noted Sasquatch researchers Dr. Jeff Meldrum, Chris Murphy and Thomas Steenburg will give a presentation.DR. JEFF MELDRUM, Professor of Anthropology from Idaho State University will give a talk Dec. 28 and sign his acclaimed book, “Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science.” Medrum’s book takes a detailed look at the scientific DNA and forensic evidence gathered on Sasquatch. Meldrum has published numerous academic papers ranging from vertebrate evolutionary morphology, and the emergence of bipedal locomotion in modern humans. Dr. Meldrum is also a co-editor of a series of books on paleontology.CHRIS MURPHY became involved in the Sasquatch mystery when he met René Dahinden in 1993. He then worked with Dahinden in producing posters from the Patterson/Gimlin film and marketing them along with Sasquatch footprint casts.  In 2000, Chris embarked on a project to assemble a comprehensive pictorial presentation on the Sasquatch. This initiative led to publication of his book “Meet the Sasquatch,” written in association with John Green and Thomas Steenburg, and his Sasquatch exhibit at the Vancouver, B.C., Museum.THOMAS STEENBURG, born in Ontario, Canada, in 1961, has been actively interested in the Sasquatch since a child. Since 1979, he has actively gone into the rugged outdoors in search of the elusive Sasquatch. Having interviewed many eye-witnesses and investigate many reported sightings, he is all the more determined to pursue and answer the question: is the Sasquatch real or simply folklore? Steenburg has authored three books on the Sasquatch mystery and has appeared in several television documentaries and as a public speaker.Cost for Adult dinner and presentation: $20 members, $25 non-members; Children: $10 members, $15 non-members.Cost for presentation only: $10 members, $15 non-members; Children: $5 members, $7.50 non-members. Reservations are required by Monday, Dec. 23. For information or reservations call 541-296-8600 x 201.The exhibit will be at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center through February 23, 2014.The Discovery Center and Wasco County Historical Museum is the official interpretive center for the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.  Live raptor shows are presented Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Hands-on, multi-media exhibits illuminate the cultural and natural history of the Gorge, including Ice Age geology, Native American culture, Lewis and Clark's cargo, the Oregon Trail, trade, transportation, ecology, and more. The Discovery Center is located off I-84 at exit 82, 5000 Discovery Drive, The Dalles, Oregon, 97058.  Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Museum adult admission is $9, seniors $7, kids 6 to16 are $5, and children 5 and under free.  For more information, phone (541) 296-8600 x 201, or visit www.gorgediscovery.org.  
#  #  #

Ohio Bigfoot Conference, April 26, 2014


Hello everyone,


All I can say is one word "WOW"......since 8AM yesterday we have sold approximately 230 out of the available 300 pre-sale tickets.....absolutelyincredible...... only 70 tickets left...amazing.....we appreciate your faith in our group in putting together a top quality event. If you haven't picked up your tickets yet, we'd suggest you do so ASAP. We could be sold out of all "pre-sale" tickets by the end of the weekend. Here is the latest updates-


1- Only 70 advanced purchased registration packages are left. Once sold out, we will have 90 or so ($40) tickets to sell the day of the event.And then after those are gone, we will have close to 200 overflow ($10) tickets for the rooms located on the next level up which will feature live close circuit tv and audio (just like last year).

2, Vendor space is getting close to full. If your interested in a vendor space please contact me ASAP for more information. 

3- If you plan on staying at the Salt fork Lodge, we have a special $75 per night (Bigfoot Rate) from Thursday thru Saturday and a $39 room rate on Sunday and Monday night (Saturday night stay required). Cabins are $95 per night and $39 on Sunday and Monday (Saturday night stay required). The Salt Fork Lodge can be contacted at 740-439-2751. There going fast...so book your room now!

4- Next speaker announcement will be on December 16th on MNBRT Radio Show hosted by Abe Del Rio with more to come each week. TheBIG announcement will come January 1st as your New Years day present ;-).

5- How would you like to win a FREE three night stay at the Salt Fork Lodge, two Conference tickets, two Conference t-shirts, and some other goodies?? Look for details to come after the January 1st BIG speaker announcement. 

Thank you for supporting the Ohio Bigfoot Conference 2014. Wishing a Happy Holiday season to all of you and your families. Take care!

Sincerely,

Marc A. DeWerth
Ohio Bigfoot Organization

440-212-0896

Friday, November 22, 2013

Ray Crowe, former editor of The Track Record, comments on The Bigfoot Files TV documentary


 Think the three installments from Icon of “Bigfoot Files” can be taken by BF’rs as mostly entertainment.  Sykes fed them crap for a bundle of money without revealing any of his agenda, even throwing Shipton in as a red herring.  You can’t reveal information for a paper before it has been peer reviewed and published. That can be frustrating and take a long time (at least the two I did took ages).  Might be awhile yet before we know anything of value from the Sykes/ Michel Santori study for the Oxford-Lausanne Collateral Hominid Project.
   Think Chris mighta’ been over-concerned about the films.
   It was nice to know that the two samples Sykes had were brown/polar bear, but seems Ivan Sanderson said the Nepali recognized three Yeti types: Dzu-teh, Meh-teh, and Teh-lma, one of which we now know is a bear.  So there’s still hope for BF’ers.  And wonder if Sykes only collected two yeti hair samples, and if the hair from the Ernst Schäfer kill that Messner had the stuffed corpse of was all bad?  Did Sykes go back and collect more from other spot?  Maybe testing even now.
   Episode 2: Sykes was said to have collected 30 samples, 28 of which were known animals.  Perhaps his trips toAshlandOregon, to theU.S. Fish and Wildlife Forensics laboratory was able to weed out many of the common hair types and save some hassle.
   As far as Justin Smeja’s sample.  As soon as he learned from Ketchum his sample was human, he panicked. He was becoming known as the “Bigfoot Baby Killer,” with possible legal ramifications.  Smeja/Cutino samples were then sent to TrentUniversity Lab and DNA Solutions Lab (The Bigfoot Field Journal) for DNA testing only with substituted bear/human samples to muddy the legal waters.  Sykes got a chunk of bear/human meat also apparently.  Couldn’t possibly have been the same sample included in the triple-genome of Melba’s.  Her’s had the single strand novel DNA plus she found the gene for red hair…definitely not Smeja.
   Episode 3: And then there’s poor Abkhazian Zana.  A sub-Saharan African he says?  That’s nice to know.  Good back-up for Bourtsev’s results when he brought Khwit and an African’s skull (disinterred in October 1965 and thought to be the possible remains of Gamasa, Zana’s daughter) to New York to be tested in 2006 at NYU and the results were made public on the National Geographic program, Is It Real?  Russian Bigfoot.  Bourtsev was interviewed and talked with a U.S. geneticist Todd Disotell and an anthropologist Shara Bailey.  Bourtsev said that the examination revealed that one of the skulls was of an Australoid type, that of Khwit, and that the other female skull was from a completely unrelated African type.  Bailey said that there was a similar DNA relationship between the two skulls, the female skull showed many distinct morphological differences, like a strongly defined lower face and tooth prognathism (stuck out, buck teeth like Zana).  mtDNA results only I assume, like with Sykes mtDNA exanimation of Khwit and his relatives.
   The African skull was found with a mirror (ladies) and a rubber shoe dated 1888.  Do we possibly have the overlooked Zana’s exhumed skull from the family Genabas cemetery in T’khina village? 
   So, what do we have here?  Neither one apparently had apparently been expensively tested at the nDNA level…tho’ perhaps Sykes will pull that one outta’ the hat with his paper also, us finding he did do a nDNA test that he couldn’t reveal on film.
   Didn’t get to see episode 3.  The two link site leads I had been given had already been pulled for copyright reasons, so all I read was the comments on Zana being a slave that Sally Ramey posted, (Was Russian 'Bigfoot' actually an African slave? - Channel 4 - Info.).
   If anybody has a more recent link for episode 3 that’s available I’d appreciate it.
   So, can’t comment on the Almasty at all except that the key is the nDNA, as all ABSM’s come up human with the mtDNA test.  I wrote in the Track Record #138, May 2004, where “Dan” (Didn’t want name used) did a Bigfoot hair mtDNA where he sequenced some 300 nucleotides from a mitochondrial gene called clytochrome b, and amplified a 1100 base pair fragment, then ran the results through GeneBank and found nothing but human results, the sample sequence being an exact match. Control tests were run that were deliberately contaminated with dog and cat DNA…despite which still the hair turned out to be human… Bigfoot is human!
   Nobody mentioned the Orang Pendek from Sumatra that Sykes supposedly had a hair from.  Apparently the Wildlife Conservation Society has had a gunshot Orang Pendek body for 17 years that they acquired in 1996, (http://robertlindsay.wordpress.com/category/animals/wild/mammals/apes/bigfoot/). 
   So, did Sykes obtain a Orang Pendek sample from them that he is keeping for his paper?  Perhaps if not the paper, his agenda calls for something to be saved for his book, The Yeti Enigma: A DNA Detective Story.  Peculiar title for a book where everybody knows the Yeti is a bear…bet he’ll come up with lotsa’ neat things.
   And, never mentioned was the mysterious Yeti finger purloined by Peter Byrne from Pangboche in 1957.  A recent news release, December 2011, Famous Yeti Finger flunks DNA test, (Live Science) indicated that, “Turns out, it’s just a regular old human finger.”  Rob Ogden of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland explained to BBC News: “We had several fragments that we put into one big sequence, and then we matched that against the database and we found human DNA.”
   Don’t know if Sykes had a finger (pun) in that mtDNA study, but it also would have attracted his attention and could be another nDNA surprise for him to spring on us.
   Other complaints on the film?  Heard one about Sykes demonstrating hair analysis and touching hair samples sans gloves and mask.  Sounds sorta nit-picky as was a TV prop.    
   Another thought he shouldn’t have taken credit for developing hair cleaning procedures.  Our own FBI did that some time back.  Wrote in Track Record, May, 1994 #37, “Hair has old DNA preserved in it, and can be recovered from as little as a centimeter of the hair shaft (technique of Walt Reed, molecular biologist. FBI now using the technique). The DNA is present throughout the shaft, rather than just at the root as previously believed.”
 
 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Bigfoot Times, November 2013

The Bigfoot Times for November will be mailed today to the membership, so most readers should have their copy in hand before Thanksgiving.

Happy Holidays,  Daniel Perez
See current Bigfoot Times for story. Click on image for a larger view.





Monday, October 28, 2013

"Sasquatch Hunters Descend Upon Chatsworth [New Jersey]"



by Linda Jagiela
for The Central Record, October 28, 2013


The Finding Bigfoot team recently visited Chatsworth to hunt for the illusive Big Foot.

Could the Jersey Pines be the new home of Sasquatch? Does Sasquatch, or Big Foot, as he is also known, actually exist, and could he and his family be making their home in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey? Animal Planet’s reality television show “Finding Bigfoot” has set off to find out.

The hit show as been filming in Wharton State Forest. At a recent Tabernacle township meeting, township administrator Douglas Cramer said the show’s producers recently asked to use the township building to film interviews.

According to Cramer, the show, which sends a team to evaluate Sasquatch sightings, is investigating such a sighting in Chatsworth. Although the Jersey Pines are famous for Jersey Devil sightings, Sasquatch is not often a sighting that is discussed among the locals. Scientists have not been able to confirm the existence of Sasquatch.

Sasquatch is said to inhabit forests of the Pacific Northwest — quite a distance away from the New Jersey Pines. He is described as a large, hairy, ape-like beast that appears to be human.

Representatives for the show would not give any details about the episode, which won’t air for at least six months. They do not comment on shows in production until after they air, and they make all who are filmed sign non-disclosure forms.
The Finding Bigfoot crew, 2013.

Previous epsisodes of “Finding Bigfoot” have depicted citizens reporting sightings of the creature, which the show’s team then goes out to investigate. Team member “Bobo,” who is big and burly in stature, is often sent to reenact the sighting while the remainder of the crew looks for clues. The show finished filming in the Pine Barrens on Oct. 5.

The show leads viewers to believe that many of the Sasquatch sightings are legitimate and that colonies of Sasquatch could be living in the woods among us. Could he have taken up residence in Woodland Township? We will need to wait until next year’s airing of the show to know for sure. If you believe the legends, the New Jersey Pines is a popular hangout for mythical creatures.

Some locals believe Sasquatch is among us, and have set up a website for those who have seen him to log the encounter. It was this site, http://southjerseybigfoot.com, that announced “Finding Bigfoot” was coming to New Jersey and asked those who have seen the creature to chime in.

The New Jersey Pine Barrens Bigfoot Researchers Group started a Facebook page in December that allows researchers to discuss their findings and converse with other researchers. Those who have posted to the page seem convinced that Sasquatch is out there. One recent posting describing a field search read, “By this time, the skies were cloudy and there was a misty, heavy dampness in the air – perfect sasquatch conditions. On our hike, we checked out a cedar swamp deeper in the woods which is definitely ‘squatchy’ and will be the subject of a more thorough investigation in the near future.”

Lock your doors. Guard your livestock. We’ve got another creature to worry about.

Linda Jagiela can be reached via email at novedlinda@comcast.net.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

October 20, 1967 to October 20, 2013 = 46 YEARS!!!

Hard to believe, Bigfooters, but a staggering 46 years has passed since the P-G film was shot in Bluff Creek, California. And to think the mystery marches on.

As Jim McClarin recalled the matter talking to Larry Simpson in 1968: "I was surprised by its ugliness. It was much more ugly than I had expected. My first impression was that it was someone dressed in a gorilla suit, but then I experienced a gradual realization that what I had seen was actually running around out there." Of seeing the film projected in Canada, McClarin said the motion picture was "jumbled at first," but "surprisingly steady" later in the film.

Daniel Perez
Bigfoot Times
Bigfoot At Bluff Creek


Thursday, October 17, 2013

"1.8M-Year-Old Skull Gives Glimpse Of Our Evolution"

By Seth Borenstein and Sophiko Megrelidze for the Associated Press (AP), October 17, 2013


DMANISI, Georgia (AP) — The discovery of a 1.8-million-year-old skull of a human ancestor buried under a medieval Georgian village provides a vivid picture of early evolution and indicates our family tree may have fewer branches than some believe, scientists say.
The fossil is the most complete pre-human skull uncovered. With other partial remains previously found at the rural site, it gives researchers the earliest evidence of human ancestors moving out of Africa and spreading north to the rest of the world, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Science.
The skull and other remains offer a glimpse of a population of pre-humans of various sizes living at the same time — something that scientists had not seen before for such an ancient era. This diversity bolsters one of two competing theories about the way our early ancestors evolved, spreading out more like a tree than a bush.



Nearly all of the previous pre-human discoveries have been fragmented bones, scattered over time and locations — like a smattering of random tweets of our evolutionary history. The findings at Dmanisi are more complete, weaving more of a short story. Before the site was found, the movement from Africa was put at about 1 million years ago.
When examined with the earlier Georgian finds, the skull "shows that this special immigration out of Africa happened much earlier than we thought and a much more primitive group did it," said study lead author David Lordkipanidze, director of the Georgia National Museum. "This is important to understanding human evolution."
For years, some scientists have said humans evolved from only one or two species, much like a tree branches out from a trunk, while others say the process was more like a bush with several offshoots that went nowhere.
Even bush-favoring scientists say these findings show one single species nearly 2 million years ago at the former Soviet republic site. But they disagree that the same conclusion can be said for bones found elsewhere, such as Africa. However, Lordkipanidze and colleagues point out that the skulls found in Georgia are different sizes but are considered to be the same species. So, they reason, it's likely the various skulls found in different places and times in Africa may not be different species, but variations in one species.
To see how a species can vary, just look in the mirror, they said.
"Danny DeVito, Michael Jordan and Shaquille O'Neal are the same species," Lordkipanidze said.
The adult male skull found wasn't from our species, Homo sapiens. It was from an ancestral species — in the same genus or class called Homo — that led to modern humans. Scientists say the Dmanisi population is likely an early part of our long-lived primary ancestral species, Homo erectus.
Tim White of the University of California, Berkeley, wasn't part of the study but praised it as "the first good evidence of what these expanding hominids looked like and what they were doing."
Fred Spoor at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, a competitor and proponent of a busy family tree with many species disagreed with the study's overall conclusion, but he lauded the Georgia skull discovery as critical and even beautiful.
"It really shows the process of evolution in action," he said.
Spoor said it seems to have captured a crucial point in the evolutionary process where our ancestors transitioned from Homo habilis to Homo erectus — although the study authors said that depiction is going a bit too far.
The researchers found the first part of the skull, a large jaw, below a medieval fortress in 2000. Five years later — on Lordkipanidze's 42nd birthday — they unearthed the well-preserved skull, gingerly extracted it, putting it into a cloth-lined case and popped champagne. It matched the jaw perfectly. They were probably separated when our ancestor lost a fight with a hungry carnivore, which pulled apart his skull and jaw bones, Lordkipanidze said.
The skull was from an adult male just shy of 5 feet (1.5 meters) with a massive jaw and big teeth, but a small brain, implying limited thinking capability, said study co-author Marcia Ponce de Leon of the University of Zurich. It also seems to be the point where legs are getting longer, for walking upright, and smaller hips, she said.
"This is a strange combination of features that we didn't know before in early Homo," Ponce de Leon said.