From the Dreamtime the Yowie In Myth And Reality
erectus Skull find
1972, while fossicking on the Cudgegong River bank outside the central
western NSW town of Mudgee, I spotted an oddly-shaped fossil impression
on a small ironstone lump, cemented in a deposit of conglomerate. Digging
it out I found the impression to be that of a human palate with dental
arch, measuring 6 cm, the teeth marks clearly visible beneath the 1
cm high palate.
years later, in June 1997, while again fossicking along the same river
barely 5 km from the town, I chanced to find the 3m high bank of a long-vanished
creek that once flowed into the river.
from conglomerate at the base of the old bank, I spotted what turned
out to be a mineralised partially intact, primitive human skull. Once
removed, I found it lacked the right eyebrow ridge and facial section,
there was no lower jaw, the remaining bones all having turned to limestone.
Much of the
skull cap was missing, exposing internal mudstone filling, but the cranium's
shape allowing for some distortion, was doliocephalic with a very low
forehead. The left eyebrow ridge was very prominent with the facial
section below the eye socket present, if a little distorted, to about
the area of the palate.
some distortion due to the skull having been crushed on its right side
[through ages of pressure from overlying sediments], the remaining fossil
measures 21 cm long across the cranium, by 11.5 cm wide and 17 cm deep.
Its shape was
unmistakable and from the moment I first held it in my hands, I realised
it was the skull of a Homo erectus; a male or female hominid of at least
1.5 m in height.
suggests over 100,000 years of conglomerate sediment had covered the
skull since it's fossilisation. As the mineralisation process takes
up to 250,000 years, the Mudgee Homo erectus skull is certainly of some
antiquity; perhaps around the 400,000 years estimate of Dr Cherfas for
Homo erectus' Australian entry.
seems certain that, at present this is the oldest fossil hominid skull
so far unearthed in Australia, and concerning the subject of this book
it is also important for another reason.
old Aboriginal tales of the Mudgee district, the 'hairy people', or
Yowies, once inhabited the banks of the Cudgegong River. The Aboriginal
tribes hereabouts lived in constant fear of these primitive creatures,
for they often raided aboriginal camps, even stealing lubras on occasions.
the tribesmen banded together and attacked and killed many of them,
until the 'hairy people' were finally driven out of the area. As the
Mudgee Homo erectus skull was retrieved from an area where traditions
say the 'hairy people' once lived, I believe that, at last I have physical
proof of the Yowie's existence, for it seems certain that Homo erectus
was the origin of the Yowie mystery.
That Homo erectus
and the Yowie are one and the same is a valid argument.
average human height of most reliable Yowie reports from pioneer days
to the present certainly fit the known height of Homo erectus based
upon fossil remains.
There are of
course, since pioneering days, accounts of a taller variety, perhaps
suggesting the parallel existence of a larger form of Homo erectus in
Australia; and then there are those reports of a truly more ape-like
creature, which may or may not be a still-living form of the giant man-like
ape, Gigantopithecus, and which would have crossed the former land-bridge
from south-east Asia at a remote period.
Cook Area 1997
During a field
investigation in New Zealand, in September 1997 in the Mt Cook area
of South Island, at the base of the mountain near "The Hermitage',
I found a large human foot impression in a mudstone shoal.
36cm long by 13cm wide across the toes, 12cm wide at mid foot and 9cm
across the heel.
the turn-off to Mt Cook, while fossicking near the road, I chanced to
stumble upon a second, through smaller, mudstone-preserved fossil human
22.5cm long by 14.5cm across the toes, 11cm wide at mid-foot and 10cm
across the heel.