OTHER ORIGINS: The Search for the Giant Ape in Human Prehistory by Russell; John Olsen & Jamie James Ciochon

OTHER ORIGINS: The Search for the Giant Ape in Human Prehistory

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Dust-and-sweat paleoanthropology, as a team of American scientists comb Vietnam's remote cave systems for the remains of Sasquatch's great-great-grandparents. His name is Gigantopithicus, a.k.a. Giganto, a monster at ten feet and 1200 pounds (a typical male silverback gorilla weighs only 400 pounds); fortunately, he died out half-a-million years ago, a victim of human encroachment. As our story opens, the authors--two scientists (Ciochon: Paleontology/Univ. of Iowa; Olsen: Archeology/ Univ. of Arizona) and a free-lance writer--head to northern Vietnam to track down Giganto relics. This, the first joint field expedition by US and Vietnamese scientists, is plagued by red tape but finally unearths an invaluable cache of fossils in a remote cave. It also provides much amusing tourist trivia (on Air Vietnam, ""everyone, flight staff included, chain-smoked through the entire flight""). The smooth narrative covers, in addition to the Great Ape Hunt, the history of primate-fossil hunting in Asia--amazing how many discoveries wound up as ""dragon bones"" in Chinese pharmacies--theories of human origin, new techniques of fossil-dating, the importance of bamboo in human social evolution, and tales of Sasquatch, Yeti, and other giant apes, which the authors believe are ""firmly, deeply, and inextricably embedded in the human consciousness."" Not as gripping as Delta Willis' The Hominid Gang (1989), but still a peppy tale of field paleoanthropology, much enhanced by the firsthand authorship. The best present of the year for your friendly neighborhood Bigfoot.

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1990
Publisher: Bantam