The Centre for Fortean Zoology was founded in the UK in 1992 - nearly 20 years ago. Over the past two decades it has expanded to become a truly global organisation. We opened our American office in 2001, our Australian office in 2009, and now - in our 19th year - we are proud to welcome CFZ Canada to the CFZ global family.

Wednesday 31 July 2019

Peter Byrne

Those of you who are regular readers of this blog will recognize this name.  Peter Cyrill Byrne was born in Ireland in 1925, and his fascination with the big guy began with stories of the Yeti in the Himalayas that his father often told him.  Over the course of his life he trekked not only the Himalayas but also the Rockies and some eastern areas of the US.

After graduating school, Byrne joined the Royal British Air Force and served during World War II. After his service, he went to work on a tea plantation in northern India.  In the 1940's  he opened Nepal’s first tiger hunting concession.

Back in the 1950s, some other researchers advocated killing a Bigfoot.  They suggested that the only way science would accept proof of its existence was to provide an body for autopsy and testing.   Byrne opposed that, instead advocating electronic surveillance and taking photos and tissue samples. 

He found his first Yeti footprint in Sikkim in 1948.  Sikkim is a state in northeast India, bordered by Bhutan, Tibet and Nepal. Part of the Himalayas, the area has a dramatic landscape that includes India’s highest mountain.  Almost 35% of the state is covered by the Khangchendzonga National Park which makes the area a prime contender for Sasquatch/Yeti research.  He launched a three-year project to track it in 1957.

Peter designed and led the Nepal Himalaya project financed by Tom Slick in 1957 through 1959.   Findings he was part of include two sets of Yeti footprints , the paradoxical Yeti scalp and the mysterious Yeti hand in a temple at the village of Pangboche.  Supporters contend that the hand is from a Yeti, but  a finger bone from the hand was tested and the DNA was shown to be human.  Forensic analysts concluded that the hair from the finger contained an unknown DNA sequence, giving cryptozoologists reason to contend it was indeed a Yeti and that the beings are closely related to humans.  In more modern times, Joshua Gates and  Jeffrey Meldrum each investigated this evidence with Meldrum considering the footprint too accurate to be fake or man-made, while Gates discovered hair samples that contained an unknown DNA sequence. 

Tom Slick first heard accounts of the possible existence of a "Yeti hand" during one of his first "Abominable Snowman" treks in 1957. The Slick expeditions were the first to bring photographs of the hand back to the West.  Later, Slick sponsored more expeditions in the area and gathered more information on the "Pangboche hand." In 1959 Peter Byrne, a member of Slick's expedition that year, reportedly stole pieces of the artifact after the monks who owned it refused to allow its removal for study. He claimed he had replaced the stolen bone fragment with a human bone. He smuggled the bones into India where actor James Stewart is said to have smuggled them out of the country in his suitcase.  In 1991 it was discovered that an American anthropologist by the name of George Agogino, had retained samples of the alleged Yeti hand. Dr. Agogino put a tissue sample from the bone fragment in an envelope in his desk.  It remained there for more than thirty years.

The NBC program Unsolved Mysteries obtained samples and asked the University of California to analyze it.  The results were inconclusive, but seemed to indicate that the tissue probably came from a human hand.  After that show broadcast, originally run on February 12, 1992, the entire hand was stolen from the monastery.   Agogino, before his death in 2000, transferred his files on the Pangboche Yeti hand to Loren Coleman.  Replicas of both the missing hand and skill were created in 2010 and gifted to the Pangboche monks in 2011.  Late in 2011 it was announced that a finger belonging to the hand contained human DNA, following tests carried out in Edinburgh.  

Byrne also headed several projects in the Pacific Northwest, including one that incorporated high-tech search tools and an 800 number tip line.  While Slick was the “leader” of the Canadian/North American search for Sasquatch and Bob Titmus was the “field leader”, the pull of Slick’s other obligations distracted him from the hunt. Slick needed someone he knew to be in charge, and again chose  Peter Byrne.  Upon hearing of the discovery of more big footprints in northern California in 1959, Slick asked Byrne and his brother, Bryan Byrne, to head up a “Pacific Northwest Bigfoot Expedition” in 1960. Initially, this hunt included Rene Dahinden, John Green and Bob Titmus  but there were personality conflicts and they didn't like having an Irishman running the show.   Reportedly, Dahinden left after a month-and-a-half, and Green and Titmus stayed only a little longer.   After Slick’s death in 1962, the operations shut down in the Pacific Northwest. 

Byrne returned to the Bigfoot hunt in 1971, with funding by Ohio millionaire Tom Page.  He began working with Dennis Jensen, and Roger Patterson until  Page parted ways with Byrne, Jensen, and Roger Patterson.  Peter  could not continue his efforts until the early-1970s, when the Boston Academy of Applied Sciences began bankrolling Byrne, who promoted a no-kill position.  He had  established a Bigfoot Information Center in Oregon which continued for 9 years, from 1970-1979.

In 1992, Byrne was again bankrolled by Robert Rines and formed the Bigfoot Research Project, based  in the Hood River region of Oregon.  This search was extensive and employed helicopters, infra-red sensors and 1-800-BIGFOOT phone number. The project lasted about 5 years, but did not produce much good evidence.  

After this project, Byrne was commissioned to investigate sightings of a Bigfoot-type creature in southern Florida. That work was documented in a production called Shaawanoki, produced by Andreas Wallach and Ronnie Roseman.   He later investigated the Skunk Ape in southern Florida.  The skunk ape, also known as the swamp cabbage man, swamp ape, stink ape, Florida Bigfoot, Louisiana Bigfoot, myakka ape, swampsquatch, and myakka skunk ape, were  particularly common in the 1960s and 1970s.   The large, foul-smelling, hairy, ape-like creature, which ran upright on two legs was even reported in the suburbs of Dade County, Florida.   Joe Nickell has written that some of the reports may represent sightings of the black bear (Ursus americanus) and it is likely that other sightings are hoaxes or misidentification of wildlife.  The United States National Park Service considers the skunk ape to be a hoax.  In response to thousands of sightings, the Florida State Legislature in April  introduced a bill (H.B.1664) in 1977, to protect the man-ape which stated, “Any person taking, possessing, harming or molesting any anthropoid or humanoid animal which is native to Florida, popularly known as the Skunk Ape, or doing any act reasonably capable of harming or molesting such animals…”  Unfortunately, the Bill did not pass.

In the 1999 documentary Sasquatch Odyssey, Peter Byrne tells of having used “three million dollars of other people’s money” to search for Yeti and Bigfoot during the course of his life.

Mr Byrne was sentenced in federal court on December 3, 2013, for stealing more than $78,000 from the Social Security Administration (SSA), the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS), and Medicaid.    He plead guilty, admitting that between 1992 and 2012 he concealed from SSA and DHS his travels outside the United States and his compensation, while receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and food stamps.
Peter C. Byrne, 88, was sentenced to a three year term of probation and required to pay full restitution by the end of the week. Byrne pleaded guilty in August and admitted that   Byrne had previously deposited $25,000 with the court for restitution and indicated he was prepared to pay the full balance by the end of the day.  Byrne began receiving SSI, which is a need-based benefit, in 1990.  He was required to report   certain travel outside the United States as well as his income and compensation.  From 1992 to 2012, Byrne traveled outside the U.S. for more than 30 days more than 15 times, on some occasions remaining outside the U.S. for more than four months.  He also had, at that time, bank accounts with Barclays of England and Wells Fargo where he held more than $85,000. When the SSA asked to see his passport in 2012 he claimed it had been destroyed in the washing machine.  He also didn't disclose his travels and assets.  In the course of the initial investigation, Byrne denied receiving royalties but after executing a search warrant investigators found travel records, financial records, and his will.   Agents also located a copy of a letter from Byrne to Safari Press directing future royalties for his published books be sent to his girlfriend.  The Honorable Garr M. King stated that Byrne’s actions had been intentional and criminal, but agreed with the parties’ recommended sentence of probation primarily because of Byrne’s age.  He was 88 at the time.
In 1976, Peter C. Byrne found the only known physical evidence of the notorious Sasquatch, somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. He sent that evidence to be analyzed by the FBI and 40 years later, the once-classified documents have finally been released.  The final report never got back to Byrne until this release.  The FBI report concluded that the hairs were “of deer family origin.”
Despite his fraud conviction, Peter Byrne is considered a pioneer with a robust presence and keen investigative skills. Author of several books,  his “The Search for Bigfoot,”  is widely regarded as one of the best in the field.

Peter Byrne's autobiography, A Fortunate life, is available on Amazon.

Wednesday 24 July 2019

John Green

John Willison Green was a Canadian journalist and a leading researcher of Bigfoot. John  was born on February 12, 1927, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  His father was Howard Green, a long-time Member of the Canadian Parliament. His mother, Marion Green (nee Mounce), was the first woman to graduate from the University of British Columbia school of Agricultural Sciences.He graduated from the University of British Columbia and achieved his Master's degree in Journalism at Columbia University.  He has compiled a database of more than 3000 sighting and track reports.

In 1963 he was elected Mayor of the Village of Harrison Hot Springs, BC.   It has always been a resort community, but it also has the Ranger Station Public Art Gallery, and is the closest access to Sasquatch Provincial Park.  He was responsible for the construction of the Harrison lakefront beach, and spearheaded the World Championship Sand Sculpture Competition for many years.  He also had a passion for history, founding the Kilby Historical Society in 1973, then later the Fraser heritage Society and he continued to donate his time and funds to go towards the maintenance of the site. He was a Board member for over 40 years.

John Green settled in Agassiz, BC in 1954  He purchased the local newspaper becoming the owner and editor of the Agassiz-Harrison Advance. In 1972 Green sold the local paper to pursue his Sasquatch research and interest in writing publications.  It is now known as the Agassiz-Harrison Observer and is still in publication.  He raised his family, ran a business and pursued his political aspirations. He ran for provincial office as a Conservative but lost four times.He was a competitive sailboat racer in his youth, designing and constructing the first fiberglass hull sailboat to steer through British Columbian lakes. He also was a successful investor of an inheritance he received from his father, and a philanthropist. Forty years after first being elected Mayor, he won a commissioner’s seat in 2002.

  Green first began investigating Sasquatch sightings and track finds in 1957. He had met René Dahinden and they collaborated in interviewing witnesses and sharing information of alleged sightings. In 1958, Green was shown a series of 15" tracks crossing a sandbar beside Bluff Creek in California and investigated the tracks in the summer of 1958. Green had access to a variety of British Columbia news and had written a fictional April Fool’s story about Sasquatch in 1953.  He was first asked seriously about Sasquatch in 1956 when René Dahinden entered came to his newspaper office looking for reports in the area. Green told Dahinden the accounts were nonsense.

This is about 20 minutes of Q & A with Mr. Green from the Sasquatch Summit in Harrison Hot Springs.

Green authored several Sasquatch books, including Sasquatch: The Apes Among Us, regarded by the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO) as the "best written book on the subject".  It has recently been re-issued, along with an updated combination of two earlier books, and is titled The Best of Sasquatch Bigfoot.  Green also was contracted as a speaker at a number of scientific symposiums on Bigfoot research, and appeared in several documentaries on the subject.  He surveyed Eastern and Southern hominid reports as well. He also asked his correspondents to research aboriginal tales of Bigfoot.  A relatively conservative man, he often called for pushing the envelope for the researchers.

Green made distinctions between typical reports of “Bigfoot”, and strange, far more massive footprints that were discovered.  Some researchers believed that indicated the presence of even larger creatures.  In his obituary, written by fellow researcher Loren Coleman,  it states that He holds the title as the first primary chronicler in Sasquatch studies, and his work in the field had lead some to affectionately call him “Mr. Sasquatch.”

John Green's research and personal collection of artifacts were donated to Kilby Historic Site in Harrison Mills, BC. Today this exhibit is a lasting tribute to Green's 58 years in the field of Sasquatch sightings and original castings. For more information visit  Green became so famed for his Sasquatch studies that late in his life he complained about trying to keep up with an ever-growing correspondence. He directly influenced many of the early researchers in the field, including Jim McClarin, René Dahinden, Tom Slick, Ivan T. Sanderson, Roger Patterson, Loren Coleman, Mark A. Hall, Bob Titmus, Grover Krantz, Chris Murphy, John Kirk, and Jeff Meldrum. His film of Jim McClarin at the site of the Patterson-Gimlin footage is still cited as one of the critical research analysis for the height of that Bigfoot.

John  Green passed on May 28, 2016 in Chilliwack, BC.  He was predeceased by his wife June, brother Lewis, and a grandson.  He left behind, three sons and two daughters, as well as thirteen grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren.    In 2000, John was recognized as B.C. Senior of the Year, and has been  honoured at several public gatherings for his community service, research work and writing.

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Wednesday 17 July 2019

Grover Krantz

This is who I think of when I see the name Grover, but our Grover Krantz wasn't blue.  Grover the Muppet is described as lovable, cute and furry and provides educational context for simple, everyday things.  Maybe they weren't so different overall.

Grover Sanders Krantz (November 5, 1931 – February 14, 2002) was an anthropologist and cryptozoologist.  With over 10 books and 60 academic articles in his portfolio he is also remembered as a prolific writer. His cryptozoological research on Bigfoot was heavily criticized by colleagues, which in turn cost him funding for more research and even his tenure at the university where he taught.  His work was considered "fringe science" and often that attitude carried over to his academic work.  

Krantz is known for his unapologetic belief in the existence of Big Foot.  His articles were rejected by scholarly journals, but he persisted.  He has been described as having been the "only scientist" and "lone professional" to seriously consider Bigfoot in his time, as most bigfoot researchers were amateur naturalists. For the most part, we still are.

Born in Salt Lake City in 1931 hr tried to follow the basic Christian philosophy of behaviour and morality but never really embraced his parents Mormon Church.Krantz served in the Air National Guard as a desert survival instructor in 1951-52 before completing his Bachelor of Science and Master's at University of California, Berkeley in 1958.  His dissertation, The Origins of Man, earned him his Doctorate from the University of Minnesota in 1971.  He eventually became a popular professor at Washington State University even though he had a reputation for giving really difficult exams.  He took a personal interest in his students, often having lunch with them and talking about anthropology, current events, and various sciences.  Krantz retired in 1998 and after his death there was a scholarship named after him to "promote interest in the fields of physical/biological anthropology, linguistic archaeology, and/or human demography."

"I've been a teacher all my life, and I think I might as well be a teacher after I'm dead."
Krantz's studies of Bigfoot, which he called "Sasquatch," led him to theorize that sightings were due to small pockets of surviving gigantopithecines, having migrated across the Bering land bridge, which was later used by humans to enter North America. It is thought to have gone extinct 100,000 years ago in eastern Asia. In January 1985 Krantz tried to formally name Bigfoot at the meeting of the International Society of Cryptozoology held in Sussex, England, assigning it the name Gigantopithecus blacki. This was not permitted by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature because G. blacki was an existing name and the creature was lacking a holotype. Krantz argued that his plaster casts were suitable holotypes then later suggesting G. canadensis as a name. He got no support.Krantz was skeptical about the Patterson–Gimlin film. He believed it was a hoax. He then studied the gait of the Sasquatch and came to believe the film was authentic. After years of skepticism, Krantz finally became convinced of Bigfoot's existence after analyzing the "Cripplefoot" plaster casts gathered at Bossburg, Washington. Shortly before his death, Krantz also examined the Skookum cast but did not publicly endorse its authenticity. He said, "I don't know what it is. I'm baffled. Elk. Sasquatch. That's the choice."

Grover Krantz had one brother, Victor Krantz, who worked as a photographer at the Smithsonian Institution. His other brother, Eugene, headed the government affairs office of postage meter giant Pitney Bowes Inc. for 19 years until his retirement in 1982. Grover Krantz was married four times and divorced three times. He also had a stepson, Dural Horton. Krantz was a travel enthusiast. He frequently took road trips, traveling to all 48 continental US states. He did fieldwork in Europe, China, and Java as well as his home state of Washington and other North American locations.

“It has not yet been established that the Sasquatch exists,” To pass laws against harming sasquatches presently makes little more sense than protecting unicorns.”
The remains of Dr. Krantz, per his request, were taken to the University of Tennessee's Anthropology Research Facility.  Scientists there conducted many kinds of skeletal research, including studies that are essential in forensic cases for accurately estimating time since death.  In 2003, the remains and three of his dogs were brought to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, where their skeletons could be used in teaching.

In the 1970s, Krantz studied the fossil remains of Ramapithecus.  Many anthropologists thought it to be ancestral to humans, but Kranta helped prove this notion false.  He showed differences in phonemic speech, theoretical hunting patterns and anatomical differences between homo erectus and modern humans then wrote an influential paper on humans in prehistoric Europe.  He was the first researcher to explain the mastoid process.

Krantz was drawn into the Kennewick Man controversy in 1996.  He argued in academia and in court that there was no good evidence of direct lineage to extant human populations.
He stated his view that "this skeleton cannot be racially or culturally associated with any existing American Indian group" and "the Native Repatriation Act [sic] has no more applicability to this skeleton than it would if an early Chinese expedition had left one of its members there."

He attempted to submit the last paper he wrote before his death, titled "Neanderthal Continuity in View of Some Overlooked Data," but it was rejected by the peer-reviewed journal Current Anthropology.  The editor stated it did not make enough reference to the most current research.  Whether consciously or not, his anger over the years of academic abuse was apparent in this article.  He was told that the tone was "jarring and unacademic" and was refused a second time after a rewrite.  He decided his career was indeed over.  Just before his death from pancreatic cancer, his friend and colleague Jon Bodly visited him and attempted to find the "foolproof method of determining a fake track from a real one just by looking at them."  Krantz just smiled and refused to answer, dying the next day with his secret intact.

Krantz’s plan to kill a Bigfoot “was a political hot potato,”  Jeffrey Meldrum. “It divided the Bigfoot community right down the middle with strong feelings on both sides.”  If Krantz were to shoot one, he might be helping to kill off the species for the sake of his own research but  Krantz’s point was that no one would bother to preserve the species until it was recognized by science.  He felt the only way to get that recognition was  to bring in a corpse.

Though Krantz never found a Bigfoot dead or alive, he had what he thought were close calls.  Krantz was also seen as a maverick in his research methods.  Many found him funny and entertaining. One year, Krantz molded a set of heavy brow ridges and strapped them to his head. He let his hair grow out all summer, trying to ascertain the advantage of a hominid’s having such ridges.  According to Meldrum, “He came to the conclusion that it kept the hair out of your eyes."

Although eccentric, he was also a respected scholar who made legitimate contributions to science.  He was a member of both MENSA and INTERTEL, but fell prey to hoaxes.  After graduating, Donald Tyler and another professor made a fake Sasquatch cast and took it to Krantz for analysis. They used their fingers and foreheads to create lines in the bottom of the cast.  Krantz determined, based on specific dermal ridges and lines in the foot, that the cast was without a doubt from the Blue Mountains.  Krantz was undeterred.  Because footprints have been found for so many decades in so many different places in the world, it seemed completely implausible to Krantz that every one of them could have been faked.  I tend to agree.
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Thursday 11 July 2019

Rene Dahinden

Many need a bit of a primer on the history of fortean zoology/cryptozoology.  We'll start with Rene Dahinden.

Dahinden is important for many reasons, not the least of which was bringing us the Patterson-Gimlin film.  Dahinden was the first to show the film of a Bigfoot and he worked hard to see to it that the film got the scientific attention he felt it deserved.   Showings occurred, in Vancouver, Manhattan, The Bronx, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta, by the end of 1968, then later in Beaverton, Oregon. Dahinden traveled to Europe in 1971 for showings in England, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland and Russia. He hoped to intrigue the scientists to further investigate.

Although he never personally saw Bigfoot, he championed the authenticity of the P-G film. While in Russia, he met with hominologist Dmitri Bayanov.   Bayanov celebrated his 87 birthday in march 2019 and  believes the creatures exist as a rediscovery of Homotroglodytes and Homo Sylvestris.  He was one of the researches who deemed the P-G film authentic.  Bayanov also coined the term "Hominology".    Dahinden's work with Russian scientists provided extremely important developments in bigfoot research.

Dahinden was born in Switzerland in 1930 and moved to Canada in 1953.  Within three years he was actively researching Sasquatch and networking with other researchers.  He traveled throughout the Pacific Northwest and interviewed many witnesses, as well as doing fieldwork and examining evidence collected by others.

Dahinden was friendly and entertaining; his humor helped him connect with witnesses for interviews.  With that spirit, writers William Dear, William E. Martin, and Ezra D Rappaport modeled a rather famous film character after him.  Harry and the Hendersons (1987) had a character played by David Suchet as Jacques Lafleur, the Sasquatch hunter.

We both spent our whole lives chasing after that beast and we both had to stare at ourselves in the mirror every morning and keep repeating, "I am not a fool. I am not a fool."  (Jacques Lafleur, Harry and the Hendersons)
Kokanee Beer even featured him in an ad for their product.

In Loren Coleman's obituary for Rene Dahinden he praised him for his encyclopedic knowledge of the field.  That is no small complement.  Research into hominids can involve many different sciences, and Dahindren was able to pull information simply from memory on occasion.  

His only book, Sasquatch/Bigfoot: The Search for North America's Incredible Creature, was co-written with Don Hunter and is still available for purchase.

"Something is making those goddamn footprints, and I'm going to find out what it is, " Dahindren once said. 

Sadly,  Rene Dahinden  died in British Columbia on 18 April 2001.


Friday 5 July 2019

The Four Horsemen of Sasquatchery

That's quite the title for four relatively unknown guys in this business.   According to Loren Coleman, a major Bigfoot researcher in his own right, it was Peter von Puttkamer’s classic 1999 documentary, Sasquatch Odyssey: The Hunt for Bigfoot  that brought the phrase into broad use. The first published reference to "Bigfoot" was 60 years ago; "Giant Footprints Puzzle Residents"  an old headline from The Humboldt Times, from Northern California. 

“The Four Horsemen of Sasquatchery” are John Green, Rene Dahinden, Grover Krantz and Peter Byrne.  Of the four, the majority, three – Dahinden, Green, and Bryne – had been members of the 1960 Pacific Northwest Bigfoot expedition , bankrolled by Texas millionaire Tom Slick.  Bigfoot research was in its infancy.  These four men approached the research with skepticism, science, and lots of enthusiasm, and paved the way for the rest of us who would join "the hunt" so many decades later.

John Willison Green was born in 1927, in Vancouver, BC.  That was then, and still is, the heart of Sasquatch country. At age 20 he earned a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Columbia University in New York.  He began researching bigfoot in 1957, after meeting Rene Dahinden.  They collaborated often, and Green was a frequent keynote speaker on the topic.  He died May 28, 2016 in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada, at the age 89.

Grover Sanders Krantz was born in 1931 in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Krantz authored more than 60 academic articles and 10 books on human evolution, and conducted field research in Europe, China and Java.  He didn't hesitate to say he was a bigfoot believer, and this caused his colleagues to chastise him about "pseudo-science".  Krantz obtained his doctorate in anthropology from the University of Minnesota in 1971, having earned undergraduate degrees at University of California at Berkeley.   He died in 2002 in his Port Angeles, Washington home from pancreatic cancer.  

Rene Dahinden was born in Switzerland in 1930 and moved to Canada about 20 years later.  Within three years was conducting serious research on the hairy primates,The French Canadian Bigfoot-hunting character in the 1987 film Harry and the Hendersons is based on Dahinden.  He also acted as spokesman for Kokanee beer, and appeared in commercials in Canada for a short time. Dahinden died of prostate cancer in 2001, near Richmond, BC.

Peter C. Byrne was born in Ireland in 1925 and lived for a time in India before finally settling in Oregon.  In the 1950s, his colleagues advocated killing a Bigfoot to prove its existence, but Byrne opposed that.  He advocated electronic surveillance to locate the hominid, and taking photos and tissue samples for proof.  His goal was to find a Bigfoot and establish communication.  For decades  his fieldwork has taken him from the Himalayas to the Pacific Northwest of the U.S.  

Of the Four Horsemen of Sasquatchery, only Peter Byrne remains.

A clip from "Sasquatch Odyssey- The Hunt for Bigfoot" is here: full, award-winning documentary is available on Amazon.   Sasquatch Odyssey explores the lives of these "four horsemen of Sasquatchery" and their need to find proof of the legendary hairy ape-man.

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