While doing fieldwork on the remote Indonesian island of Flores, anthropologist Gregory Forth came across people talking about half-apelike, half-humanlike creatures that once lived in a cave on the slopes of a nearby volcano. Over the years he continued to record what locals had to say about these mystery hominoids while searching for ways to explain them as imaginary symbols of the wild or other cultural representations.
Then along came the ‘hobbit’. In 2003, several skeletons of a small-statured early human species alongside stone tools and animal remains were excavated in a cave in western Flores. Named Homo floresiensis, this ancient hominin was initially believed to have lived until as recently as 12,000 years ago— possibly overlapping with the appearance of Homo sapiens on Flores. In view of this timing and the striking resemblance of floresiensis to the mystery creatures described by the islanders, Forth began to think about the creatures as possibly reflecting a real species, either now extinct but retained in ‘cultural memory’ or even still surviving.
He began to investigate reports from the Lio region of the island where locals described 'ape-men' as still living. Dozens claimed to have even seen them.
In Between Ape and Human, we follow Forth on the trail of this mystery hominoid, and the space they occupy in islanders’ culture as both natural creatures and as supernatural beings. In a narrative filled with adventure, Lio culture and language, zoology and natural history, Forth comes to a startling and controversial conclusion.
Unique, important, and thought-provoking, this book will appeal to anyone interested in human evolution, the survival of species (including our own) and how humans might relate to ‘not-quite-human’ animals. Between Ape and Human is essential reading for all those interested in cryptozoology, and it is the only firsthand investigation by a leading anthropologist into the possible survival of a primitive species of human into recent times—and its coexistence with modern humans.
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Table of Contents
1 Ape-men of Flores Island 1
Part I What People Say about Ape-Men 23
2 Ape-men as Natural Creatures 25
3 Ape-men as Supernatural 54
Part II Stories of Ape-Men 81
4 Ape-men in Myth and Legend 83
5 What Someone Told Someone Else, or Secondhand Stories of Ape-man Encounters 101
Part III Eyewitness Accounts 121
6 From Questionable Stories to Compelling Reports 123
7 More Remarkable Encounters 153
8 The Little Naked Man and Other Extraterritorial Sightings 179
Part IV What to Believe 191
9 What do Stories of Ape-men Tells Us and What Else Could They Be? 193
10 Could Ape-men Survive on Flores Island? 218