Əsas səhifə American Journal of Physical Anthropology Big footprints: A scientific inquiry into the reality of sasquatch. By Grover S. Krantz. Boulder:...
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124 BOOK REVIEWS basal ganglia and other neural structures. In contrast, population-wide lateral biases tend to be mediated by neuroanatomical asymmetries in the neocortex or hypothalamus. Generally, the neural mediating structures are enlarged on the side controlling the lateralized behavior. Developmentally, both individual and species-wide lateral asymmetries reflect the combined actions of genes, sex hormones, and environmental mediators. Despite the fine quality of the animal chapters, I approached the chapters on human evolution with a jaundiced eye. All too often, non-anthropologists who speculate on language origins base their views on outmoded or one-sided views of complex phylogenetic questions. Nor is it uncommon for anthropologists and others who should know better to present less-than-scholarly approaches in order to advocate a particular viewpoint without the uncomfortable distractions caused by contradictory data. The approach of these authors, however, is decidedly refreshing. They present the fossil and archaeological evidence for cognitive, linguistic and other behavioral changes in an open-minded, balanced, and scholarly fashion-ften carefully weighing both sides of disputed issues. As a result these chapters provide good overviews of the fossil evidence for non-specialists. Their conclusions, while not unique, follow logically from their data. They argue that lateralization, language, bipedalism and many other human traits reflect multifactorial selection pressures and that neural lateralization preceded, rather than developed from, tool-using behaviors. They also join a growing chorus of linguistic-continuity theorists who suggest a gradual evolution of language throughout hominid phylogeny as opposed to “Minerva springing from the head of Jupiter” theorists who suggest a sudden emergence of fully-formed language at some (usually late) point in human phylogeny. KATHLEEN R. GIBSON Department of Anatomical Sciences University of Texas Health Science Center Houston, Texas spare time r; unning around with fake feet, often in the middle of nowhere. Both of these explanations seem very improbable, yet since the footprints are there, one (or both) of these possibilities must correspond to reality. Should the very idea of bigfoot be taken Grover Krantz is convinced that two speseriously? Is physical anthropology under cies are responsible for these mysterious any obligation to investigate the possible ex- tracks. Mischievious humans are the more istence of Sasquatch? The most accessible familiar source, but the second agent is a literature on the subject can be perused in population of not-quite-extinct Gigantopiththe weekly tabloids a t the supermarket ecus blacki. Big Footprints is a book that checkout, and it does not deserve our atten- comprehensively explores the Sasquatch tion. An entire book devoted to an animal phenomenon from speculations of Sasquatch that may not exist seems incongruous. anatomy, biology, and behavior to likely There is, however, one fact with respect to candidates for Sasquatch ancestry in the fosthis phenomenon that nobody can argue sil record. Included as well is a primer on about: there are giant footprints being made how we should go about getting a body as in remote regions of the Pacific Northwest. proof of its existence. Krantz’s purpose in Two implications are apparent: a population writing the book is to persuade us that of bipedal, large-bodied nonhuman primates Sasquatch is worth our attention if not our is making these tracks, or a large number of conviction. human beings are spending most of their From a number of calculations, Krantz BIGFOOTPRINTS: A SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY INTO THE REALITY OF SASQUATCH. By Grover S. Krantz. Boulder: Johnson Books. 1992. ISBN 1-55566-099-1. 300 pp. $14.95 (paper). BOOK REVIEWS has determined that given the vast number of potentially visible track events, a single or even a few hoaxers would have to be putting in unreasonably long hours to account for all the Sasquatch tracks around, seen and unseen. But the author admits that fakery has occurred and that he can henceforth thwart it: he knows of two characteristics which enable him to distinguish real from phony Sasquatch prints. The reader will never know what makes a Sasquatch print authentic, however, because Krantz refuses to divulge this information. His concern is that should a potential hoaxer learn of these details, then the whole bigfoot hunting enterprise would be seriously undermined. Krantz believes his strongest case that the Sasquatch does walk among us can be found in the details of some of the footprint casts in his possession. Some footprints display dermal ridges which are poorly reproduced in several photographs. This line of evidence is potentially the most powerful argument the author has to prove his case. Here one will be disappointed, however, for the discussion, although extensive, is inadequate for the reader to construct an informed opinion. For instance, there is no comparison of what dermal ridges look like in ape or human feet. If you are not familiar with dermatoglyphics, these prints will not convince you one way or the other. What we are given is that many experts in the field of law enforcement (most of whom are unnamed) think that the ridges are real, while most anthropologists (also mostly unnamed) are less confident. It is suspected that the anthropologists are being less than dispassionate in their assessments since “[tlo admit that their discipline might have missed such a large and important animal is too much to swallow.”This is a recurrent theme in the book: Krantz asserts that there are those who do not want Sasquatch to be found. Physical anthropologists would be disgraced (having missed a gigantic hominoid living among them) and the timber industry would be ruined (due to ensuing legislation that would protect bigfoot habitats). His preoccupation with the motivations of Sasquatch “skeptics” gives some passages a paranoid tone that a book of this nature can ill-afford. 125 Every bigfoot treatise is obligated to evaluate the 1967 film which shows what is unquestionably a bipedal hominoid walking away from Roger Patterson’s camera, and this book assesses its authenticity from a biomechanical slant. From the footprints left at the scene, Krantz attempts to reconstruct a) film speed, b) subject height, c) course of travel, and d) body dimensions. He concludes, much as other investigators in the past, that the animal walked differently than a comparably-sized human would. In the end, the only certain conclusion one can reach is that if the film was a hoax it was intelligently and meticulously conceived. Krantz is brutally honest about some of the other “data” available. There are numerous discussions of behavioral “evidence” that in the end the author admits are difficult to take seriously (e.g., a “bedding site” in the vicinity of Sasquatch hairs that turn out to be artificial fibers). How the author decided what evidence is legitimate for behavioral reconstructions is not always clear, however. He rejects reports of the Sasquatch’s penchant for throwing oil drums (the result of newspaper sensationalism), yet he is comfortable with the idea that Sasquatches may deliberately leave tracks as a means of interpersonal signaling. Some of the speculations are reasonable and as firmly founded as one can be in this context, while other musings can only be described as fantastic. Krantz offers a tenable argument that Gigantopithecus blacki is not only ancestral to Sasquatch but that it probably is Sasquatch. That the divergent rami of the G. blacki jaws are indicative of bipedal posture is unsubstantiated, however, and his estimation of Sasquatch brain size based on the mechanical requirements of pelvic design and the size of the male genitalia is imaginative and not worth reporting. The author’s annoyance with what he describes as the “lunatic fringe” or the “nut cases” is understandable. He has endured suggestions that Sasquatch is made out of titanium, that at least one of them is proficient in the operation of motor vehicles, and that their offspring attend underground schools. His own cogitations on Sasquatch biology are considerably more lucid, but they detract from the real issue of whether 126 BOOK REVIEWS the animal actually exists and what the physical traces available have to say about this. Here the book ultimately fails because Krantz refuses t o reveal all he knows, and his lines of inquiry are not always pursued as rigorously as one would hope. The bigfoot phenomenon ultimately becomes science by thought experiment, with the problem that impressions in the ground and a lousy film are the only controls available. Krantz exposes a good deal of fakery and strips away much of the nonsense that has long surrounded the investigation of Sasquatch; unfortunately, his critical eye for what should be taken as good evidence vaporizes inexplicably in many instances. Because this book looks at the Sasquatch phenomenon from a variety of perspectives, I would recommend it to those with a general interest in cryptozoology. Big Footprints does succeed in convincing one that there is something going on that requires explanation. Krantz will gain few converts among the scientific community, however, and in this case intransigence of the establishment will be only partially responsible. BOOKS RECEIVED Schick, KD, and N Toth (1993) Making Silent Stones Alcock, J (1993) Animal Behauior, 5th ed. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer, $46.95 (cloth). Almquist AJ,and A Manyak (eds.) (1993) Milestones in Human Euolution. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland, $13.95 (paper). Eiben OG, A Barabas and E. Pant6 11991)The Hungarian National Growth Study. I. Reference data on the biological developmental status and physical fitness of 3-18 year-old Hungarian youth of the 1960s. Huntanbiologia Budapestinensis, 21:l-123. DAVID J. DAEGLING Department of Anthropology Yale University New Haven. Connecticut Speak: Human Evolution and the Dawn of Technology. New York: Simon and Schuster. $25 (cloth). Smedley, A (1993) Race in North America: Origin and Evolution of a Worldview. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, $46.50 (cloth). Wemdorf, F, R. Schild, AE, Close, et al. (1993) Egypt During the Last Interglacial. New York Plenum Press, $95 (cloth).