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printer friendly versionother versionsLetters In Response To "Bigfoot Believers"
By Dmitri Bayanov

Editors note: On January 5, 2003, the Denver Post published an article called "Bigfoot Believers". The following letters were written by Dmitri Bayanov of the Darwin Museum, Moscow, Russia as a result of that article. The first is to Theo Stien, the reporter who wrote the story, and the second is to Dr. Russell Mittermeier, President of Conservation International. They are published here publicly for the first time.

Dear Theo Stein,

I was a speaker at the International Bigfoot Symposium in Willow Creek, California, in September 2003, during my first, very pleasant and enjoyable visit to America. Among fine gifts I received from Richard Noll of the Bigfoot Field Research Organization (BFRO) was a copy of The Sunday Denver Post, January 05, 2003, with your article "Bigfoot Believers." In this connection, I'd like to share some thoughts with you.

First of all, many thanks for the article—for its very positive and serious contents. Verbal support for Bigfoot researchers from some leading primatologists is refreshing news indeed. I only wish it wouldn't remain just sort of lip-service, but turn into concrete and tangible action. Back in 1973, I wrote the following to a leading primatologist, Dr. John Napier of the Smithsonian Institution: "The living missing link is 'unknown' to science because there is no science to know it." Today there is such a science, the science of living nonhuman hominids, called hominology. This discipline is a new branch of primatology (like paleoanthropology was once a new branch of paleontology).

All researchers versed in this science do know that Bigfoot is a mammal, not myth, because of the females' conspicuous mammae. All know that Bigfoot is a primate because of the dermal ridges on its soles, a diagnostic characteristic of primates. All hominologists, respectful of logic and the current classification of primates, know that Bigfoot is a non-sapiens hominid because of its nonhuman way of life and bipedalism.

These conclusions are scientific knowledge contained in numerous books and articles. What remains still hypothetical is the exact relationship of the species with the fossil hominids, on the one hand, and Homo sapiens, on the other. So in regard to hominology there is knowledge and there is ignorance, and it is on the basis of ignorance and reluctance to know that the reality of Bigfoot is denied. There are also scientists who know the truth, but dare not admit it out of fear for their reputations, which is a shameful situation for science.

There is nothing uncommon for a newborn science to be in a sorry plight. The history of primatology itself is a telling example (the Order of Primates was established by Carl Linnaeus in 1758, discarded after his death and re-established a hundred years later). It is only in the 19th century that this part of zoology acquired a scientific basis. The very term "primatology" began to be used as late as the 1940s. Or take paleoanthropology, its birth was also long and difficult, and it was by no means immediately that the first fossils of Neandertal, Homo erectus and Australopithecus ware recognized as such.

There are special ideological and methodological reasons why primatology, paleoanthropology, and now hominology, initially came up against strong opposition, but that's a long story to tell. What is relevant here is that in the cases of primatology and paleoanthropology the resistance of conservative circles in science was broken with the help of progressive and open-minded scientists of other disciplines. And this is what hominology needs today.

In this connection, I paid attention to these words in your article: "The key, Schaller said, will be finding dedicated amateurs willing to spend months or years in the field with cameras. So far, no one has done that." This reminded me of the two dedicated amateurs who had become the most fruitful contributors to the science of primates: Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey. Besides dedication, talent and courage there was another indispensable ingredient to their success—money. It was the famous paleoanthropologist Dr. Louis Leakey who obtained funds to launch the long-term field study of chimpanzees by Goodall and mountain gorillas by Fossey.

Now, there is no lack of dedicated hominologists willing to spend months or years in the field, but where is the money? Where is the famous primatologist or anthropologist who, like the late Dr. Leakey, would obtain funds for the dire needs of hominology?

I also noted with approbation the word "cameras" in your reference to George Schaller's advice. To prove the creature's existence with the help of a rifle is not worthy of Homo sapiens. To all aspiring to kill a Bigfoot I advise to read and remember the words of Dian Fossey in the Acknowledgments of her book Gorillas in the Mist: "Lastly, I wish to express my deepest gratitude to the gorillas of the mountains, for having permitted me to come to know them as the uniquely noble individuals that they are." Dian was killed by those who kill gorillas.

Lastly, may I draw your attention to the concluding part of my presentation at the International Bigfoot Symposium in Willow Creek.

I think that one of the great scientific results of the 20th century was the discovery of relict hominids (homins, for short), popularly known as Abominable Snowman, Yeti, Yeren, Almas, Almasty, Bigfoot, Sasquatch, etc. Actually, it was a re-discovery by hominologists of what had been known to western naturalists from antiquity to the middle of the 18th century, when wild bipedal primates were classified by Carl Linnaeus as Homo troglodytes (i.e., caveman) or Homo sylvestris (i.e., woodman, forestman). As for eastern scholars and rural population in many parts of the world, they have always been aware of wild hairy bipeds, known under diverse popular names.

For science in the West the re-discovery occurred thanks to the influence of two major factors: The Himalayan expeditions in search of the Yeti and the exceptional theories of the Russian Professor Boris Porshnev, who, after a gap of 200 years had restored and validated the Linnaean idea of Homo troglodytes.

It is necessary to distinguish between a scientific discovery and its general recognition by scientists: the time gap between them may last from weeks and months to centuries and millennia (the idea of the earth's flight in space took two thousand years to be generally recognized. It was first put forward by ancient Greeks in the 3rd Century B.C.).

It is true that the existence of relict hominids is not yet officially recognized by the scientific community, which results in two kinds of illusions: most scientists believe that relict hominids do not exist, while most investigators, who admit the creatures' existence, work under the illusion that the discovery has not been made, and many dream to make it. Both opinions are illusory: wild hairy hominids do exist on earth today, and on the agenda is not their discovery but general recognition of their re-discovery in the 20th century.

Such recognition is expected to make a tremendous impact on science, affecting its overall strategy and methodology. But the event will not come about by itself, it has to be diligently worked for by widely disseminating the already existing knowledge and seeking new tangible evidence. We have tons of good evidence. What we need now is the straw that breaks the camel's back. I mean the back of the establishment's resistance.

Dmitri Bayanov,
Chairman, Smolin Seminar on Questions of Hominology,
Darwin Museum, Moscow, Russia

Dear Dr. Mittermeier,

I address you, President of Conservation International, because you were quoted in the article "Bigfoot Believers" (The Sunday Denver Post, January 5, 2003), whose anniversary is to be marked on Monday. The reason Bigfoot and other relict hominids are officially believed to be mythical is the absence of verdict by a reputable scientific body to the effect that they are real. The history of attempts to create such a body is as follows.

Number one was the Commission to study the question of "Snowman", set up by the Soviet Academy of Sciences in 1958 at the initiative of professor Boris Porshnev. The action was stimulated by the Himalayan Yeti expeditions and Boris Porshnev's unorthodox ideas regarding anthropogenesis and the nature of pre-sapiens hominids. The commission was abolished after the premature Pamirs expedition and the backlash against Porshnev and his rare followers by most anthropologists and zoologists.

Anthropologists were against revision of views on anthropogenesis; zoologists charged that Porshnev "fed the slander, still current in the West, that the Soviet Union's fauna is explored today no better than the fauna of America a century ago".

Though the Commission's official verdict was negative, its unpublicized work and consequences were very positive. It started to collect ancient and modern evidence of the existence of "wildmen", and this work was continued by members of a special permanent seminar, set up in 1960 at the Darwin Museum in Moscow by its curator Pyotr Smolin, a colleague of Porshnev. The "wildmen" were known to ancient and medieval naturalists—Lucretius (1st century B.C.) even described them as precursors of modern man. There is little doubt that thanks to them Linnaeus came up in 1758 with the Order of Primates, which included Homo sapiens on one side, apes on the other, with Homo troglodytes, alias Homo sylvestris, in between. It is also clear that modern man was termed by him Homo sapiens in contrast to Homo troglodytes. What is remarkable and instructive is that Linnaeus introduced these radical and amazing innovations without having ever seen apes or Homo troglodytes (or Homo ferus—the term he used for wild children and men reared by animals—actually, there must have been non-sapiens hominids among his Homo ferus). Like a virtual cryptozoologist, he based his Primate Classification on the descriptions of ancient authors and evidence of contemporary witnesses.

But it was Porshnev with colleagues who began first to study such evidence at the level of modern evolutionary theory, thus giving birth to hominology as a new specific branch of primatology. All active participants of what is now The Smolin Seminar on Questions of Hominology know that relict hominids are real, but our verdict is ignored by the scientific community because a seminar is not a sufficiently authoritative scientific body.

Attempt number two was Comite International pour l'etude des humanoides velus (the latter strange term was proposed and insisted on by Dr.Bernard Heuvelmans), organized in 1962 in Rome, Italy, by Dr.Corrado Gini, Professore Emerito of the University of Rome. The Committee consisted of 36 members, representing 16 countries, and included Professor Porshnev (USSR), Dr. Heuvelmans (Belgium), Dr. Osman Hill (USA), Dr. John Napier (Britain), Dr. Tobias (South Africa), Dr. Rinchen (Mongolia), as well as researchers John Green, Rene Dahinden, and Peter Byrne, of North America. Explaining the purpose of the Committee, its founder wrote that "L'homme des neiges et les autres bipedes velus constituent une matiere digne d'une etude scientifique approfondie. (...) C'est la un sujet de la plus grande importance pour la connaissance de l'origine de l'homme et des premieres etapes de la societe humaine." The Committee intended "non seulement de publier des documents et temoignages qui sont portes en faveur de l'existence des dits bipedes velus, mais aussi de les soumettre a une critique scientifique rigoureuse." The Committee functioned for a couple of years, publishing interesting materials, and stopped operating with the death of its creator. Had it continued to exist, the status of hominology today would be quite different.

Number three was The International Society of Cryptozoology, created in the U.S. in 1982. As hominology was and still is in a cryptozoological phase of development, hominologists pinned great hopes on that organization. Unfortunately, the subject of relict hominids became much "diluted" there by numerous other cryptids and was never sufficiently focused on. To counteract that negative tendency, being a Board member, I proposed creation within the ISC of a Hominology Committee to concentrate specifically on our problem. Creation of such specific committees was envisaged by the ISC Constitution. But Board members, including the chief Bigfoot authority—the late Dr. Grover Krantz—voted down my proposal. I still don't know for sure why Grover was against it. I guess he was afraid the Committee would be against shooting a Bigfoot, while Krantz pinned his hopes on such action as the quickest and surest way to solve the problem. In analyzing Sasquatch evidence he was a brave and keen researcher, but in his practical approach to the problem he was more of an adventurer. Anyway, attempt number three was the case of a golden opportunity that was missed.

Number four was The North American Science Institute, created in 1998, whose staff included Dr. Henner Fahrenbach. The Institute undertook a $75,000 study of the Patterson film, found no sign of hoaxing in it, but did not broadcast the finding to the world. The organization petered out for lack of funding, I understand.

Number five. In January 1996, I wrote the following: "Speaking elliptically, the situation can be described like this: those who can, don't care; those who do care, can't. To interest the first and enable the second, it is necessary to bring about a psychological change, a change of awareness, both in the scientific community and the public at large. We need to make people 'snowman conscious' in a proper way, especially in the countries, regions and continents where the creatures still exist and are being sought, such as Russia, China and North America. To achieve recognition of relict hominoids by science is necessary not only for the growth of knowledge, but for their very protection and conservation.

"As the numbers and influence of those who 'do care' are too small in each country, the logic demands that hominologists unite their voices and efforts in a single international organization. It may be called the International Institute of Hominology. May this book help its formation" (In the Footsteps of the Russian Snowman, p.235).

An International Institute can't be founded without appropriate funding, which we lack. We have knowledge, we have information, but lack money and internationally recognized scientists among our group of diplomaed researchers. That is why we seek cooperation with mainstream scientists of international repute, with hopes of creating at last a viable scientific body specifically devoted to the business of hominology. We know that fear for one's reputation is a major problem with scientists turning to our subject, but what is looked upon as repute and disrepute today may be completely reversed tomorrow. Nothing is bound to cost so little and bring mankind so much self-knowledge as hominology.

With best New Year wishes,
cordially Dmitri Bayanov

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This essay was originally published on the Bigfoot Information Project website (, August 8, 2004. It has not been revised.

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