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 Big foot in Ice turns out to be Ape suit

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DJP

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PostSubject: Big foot in Ice turns out to be Ape suit   Tue 26 Aug 2008, 3:13 am

I thought this news article was amusing, I wonder how much the researchers paid for a rubber monkey suit?
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7571483.stm
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Mauro

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PostSubject: Re: Big foot in Ice turns out to be Ape suit   Tue 26 Aug 2008, 5:36 am

Tom Biscardi admitted paying "a considerable sum" for it. The Internet is abuzz with hypothesis: 50.000 US dollars is the most common figure. A rather good sum for a rubber suit stuffed full of rotten meat discarded from a butcher's.

Let me add a few lines to this. Loren Coleman is doing to cryptozoology what Adamski and Von Daniken did to UFOlogy: he's shredding to pieces the last shards of credibility left over from the days of the SIC. Without his partecipation there's little doubt that the story would have not reached such gargantuan proportions. So much for serious research...
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PostSubject: Re: Big foot in Ice turns out to be Ape suit   Tue 26 Aug 2008, 6:33 am

A great pity, but I can't say that I'm surprised.
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DJP

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PostSubject: Re: Big foot in Ice turns out to be Ape suit   Wed 27 Aug 2008, 1:38 am

I find it amazing that researchers paid for something without testing it first, and that alarm bells weren't set off when they knew it was in a block of ice like an old circus exhibit. If you did find a primate carcass surely you would let the authorities know rather than go to the trouble of creating a giant ice cube to preserve it.

Did researchers pay for it or is this part of the hoax as well?
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Mauro

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PostSubject: Re: Big foot in Ice turns out to be Ape suit   Wed 27 Aug 2008, 5:03 am

No serious researcher paid any sum of money for that thing. Tom Biscardi did and he's some kind of broker in Las Vegas, not a serious researcher in anything.
About your remarks: I do not believe that turning eveidence over to any kind of "authority" is a good idea: just ask the Chinese. Many times in the past 70-80 years authorities have taken charge of many "mysterious" creatures and each single time the physical evidence disappeared courtesy of bureaucracy. The only solid evidence we have right now are a pair of mummified hands chopped of a Rei-Xiong (Man-Bear... not manbearpig! Sorry could not resist) killed in 1957 by peasants after it attacked a girl. They have been preserved by the village teacher ever since and they have recently been examined by Dr Zhou Guoxing of the Beijing University. They belonged to an immense (read, well over the maximum known size) Macaca monkey, probably a M. arctoides.
The best course of action is the one adopted by the Center for Fortean Zoology: strike a deal with a good university and send them everything remotely interesting you find.
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baroniveagh

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PostSubject: Re: Big foot in Ice turns out to be Ape suit   Fri 26 Sep 2008, 10:45 pm

Never believe anyone who wants to sell you proof of something. If they really have the 'real goods' they'd be presenting it to a university and writing their OWN checks with book deals on how they caught it. If they're out to sell it, it's most likely not as advertised.


Last edited by baroniveagh on Fri 26 Sep 2008, 10:45 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling)
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Mauro

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PostSubject: Re: Big foot in Ice turns out to be Ape suit   Sun 28 Sep 2008, 11:57 am

The ironic thing with your assertion is that one of cryptozoology most interesting physical proof, the so-called Pangboche hand, was stolen from the temple in which had been housed for centuries and, as my well-informed friends told me, has been sold to some eccentric collector in Japan.
Turning over a sample to a university may sound like a great idea but I must remember that many interesting samples have been "lost in transit" while being sent or handled by seemingly trustworthy institutions. From my own experience and by talking to some zoologist and cryptozoologist friends the best course of action is not to turn over the whole sample for analysis but to have the researchers come at you and take the smallest amount they need. If you are to send the whole sample you have to make it as formal as possible to ensure it will be handled with care (for example formally turning it over as a loan for a given period of time): this will not only safeguard against mishandling, but will also be useful to have your sample back whole if it has never been properly studied. They lose it, they pay for it.
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agricola



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PostSubject: Re: Big foot in Ice turns out to be Ape suit   Tue 30 Sep 2008, 12:29 pm

But selective sampling, as you suggest Mauro, creates all sorts of problems in itself. A prime example being the carbondating of the Turin Shroud where researchers came and took a small sample and eight years later we still have the ongoing debate over its age because of where that small sample came from.
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PostSubject: Re: Big foot in Ice turns out to be Ape suit   Thu 02 Oct 2008, 5:20 am

Yes, well... they should have known that taking the sample from a burned area would alter it's carbon-14 signature, and raise questions. Please think all experiments through before taking samples.
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agricola



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PostSubject: Re: Big foot in Ice turns out to be Ape suit   Thu 02 Oct 2008, 10:00 am

I've never seen anything about the sample coming from a carbon damaged sample. I believe the dating issues stem from arguments that the sample was taken from an area which was 'patched up' in the middle ages.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turin_shroud
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PostSubject: Re: Big foot in Ice turns out to be Ape suit   Sat 04 Oct 2008, 1:30 am

The reason that it was patched, I might point out, was that it's reliquary was exposed to temps high enough to melt silver, a drop of which is what burned it, requiring the patching. Even if the sample didn't come from the patch itself, if it came from an area around it, as is stated, then the results of the carbon-14 test would be invalid.
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agricola



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PostSubject: Re: Big foot in Ice turns out to be Ape suit   Sat 04 Oct 2008, 6:18 am

As far as I'm aware, and its been a few years since I read anything in depth on c12 or c14 dating, but as far as I'm aware there have been no experiments which have conclusively proven that carbon in heavy concentrations, from a fire, or the dampening/circumstances of one, can cause reactions in the cloth which would affect dating.

You suggest that the c14 results would be invalidated, which suggests that you're looking for a specific date which the results have not lent themselves to. The results are not invalid because the c14 has provided a date for the sample. This may be the date for the Chambery fire or for a later patch or for whenever, but it is still a date from the sample..
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Mauro

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PostSubject: Re: Big foot in Ice turns out to be Ape suit   Sun 05 Oct 2008, 12:35 am

C14 analysis has some big limitations.
The first one is that is pretty much useless after it has gone through 7 or 8 halflife reductions, which means more or less 40.000 years. Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) promised to overcome this particular problem but the promise was not fullfilled when samples of a well known age (ie they had been extensively crosschecked using other datation methods I'll describe later) yielded very low dates. There are some practical limitations to the use of AMS and, at the moment, we are not so sure they'll ever be overcome. These problems are mostly related to processing such minute amounts of residual "radiocarbon".
The second problem is... pollution. As Agricola rightly pointed out there are no definitive studies about how contamination from external sources. For example contamination from ground calcium carbonate is a well known issue but there are standard methods to get rid of it (the most common method is to slowly dissolve the sample in very weak HCl). Other sources of contamination include algae, bacteria and fungi which, especially with older samples, can provide enough "foreign" proteins to invalidate the tests. The Longin method of separation is said to be very effective at purifying collagen in sub-fossil bones but is neither universally accepted nor employed, mostly because it is ineffective at removing humic and fulvic acids (by products of decomposition). A recently discovered issue is contamination during collection and storage: even a 5% addition of modern carbon is enough to reduce the age of a sample from, say 100.000 years to 24.000 years (AMS again showing its limits). Dr. J.W. Michels devised an extremely rigorous procedure to collect and handle samples, aimed at minimizing contamination from modern carbon. For example samples dropped to the ground should be discarded for testing and only metal or glass instruments and containers should come into contact with the sample. For example the shroud of Turin has been so much contaminated during the past four centuries as to make C14 dating difficult to say the least. Think about it: it has been handled by priests and kings, it has been host to innumerable generations of bacteria and fungi (do not jump... we all are), it has been exposed to the touch of countless persons and to the smoke arising from infinite candles and votive lamps... need I say more?
Having said that there are other methods that will give guidelines to dating a sample. Nitrogen content, fluorine and uranium tests (usually run together)... recently Amino Acid Racemization has become a serious contender to both the standard C14 test and AMS.
All of these tests have their practical and theoretical limits but, when run together and with the aid of stratigraphy and, when possible, potassium-argon testing of the surrounding rocks, can give a pretty reliable idea of the true date.
The main problem is that running at least three of these tests (say C14 and both fluorine and uranium testing), as are the general guidelines in analytical chemistry, is that they are expensive, time consuming and, what's more important, all of these tests are destructive in nature, meaning the sample will be destroyed to run the test.
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baroniveagh

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PostSubject: Re: Big foot in Ice turns out to be Ape suit   Fri 10 Oct 2008, 12:57 am

If I remember right the pollen analysis was consistent with a middle eastern origin for the cloth.

I wonder if it would be possible to separate some of the silica in the linen fibers and do a luminosity test? It might or might not give us a date other then that of the fire if it comes from an unburned area.

It might also be possible to do an o2 isotope test. I hear they have been having a lot of success with those in dating atmospheric bubbles in ice and amber. A small amount of oxygen is usually trapped in biological matter, or do we not yet have the technology to recover samples that small?
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Mauro

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PostSubject: Re: Big foot in Ice turns out to be Ape suit   Fri 10 Oct 2008, 2:17 am

As you rightly remarked there are very heavy limitations in recovering and handling such minute quantities of samples.
The AMS is an analytical method which holds much promise, since theoretically speaking could be used to date samples over 100.000 years old. Practical use demonstrated that we cannot overcome contamination from present day carbon, nor we will be able in the near future. Personally I believe that Amino Acid Racemization (AAR) will win the day in the short run: yes, it has its limitations, like every other analytical procedure, but it's much more accurate than AMS and is less susceptible to contamination. Also, just like C14, it's also relatively cheap.
Optical Stimulated Luminescence (OSL), the one you mentioned about silica, is an anaytical method which holds much promise. It overcomes the limitations of thermoluminescence (mostly redeposit issues) but some traditionalists do not see it in very good light, mostly because it was used by Roberts to date the earliest known human sites in Australia at over 50.000 years old. While Roberts' analytical methods were as sound as they could possibly be, the idea of humans settling in Australia so early is hard to stomach for many.
Finally Oxygen Isotope Variation presents exactly the challenges you highlighted: we are talking about such minute quantities that even carful handling is often not enough to insure against contamination.
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PostSubject: Re: Big foot in Ice turns out to be Ape suit   Sat 11 Oct 2008, 3:09 am

I'm not entirely sure Robert's findings are wrong. Our knowledge of early travel is very limited, and fixes on the idea that early travel was almost entirely by land. Most models of the out of Africa diaspora frankly hinge on it. Personally I think that it's not impossible that coastal areas were more quickly populated then is currently accepted, particularly since the West Wind Drift current crosses the Indian Ocean and terminates in Australia. It doesn't take a lot of people to start a colony, just like it doesn't take a forest to wash up on shore to create a mangrove swamp.

One thing I've always found irritating is the persistence of the Victorian idea that we're somehow superior to people who lived in more primitive cultures. Only lately does it seem to occur to us that our ancestors were quite possibly just as clever as we are, even if they didn't have the technology and science we have today.
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PostSubject: Re: Big foot in Ice turns out to be Ape suit   Sat 11 Oct 2008, 6:26 am

That's just an example of a perfectly legitimate technology which gets bashed or ignored when its results do not fit the preconcieved ideas of the fellows running the show. As I said his methods were spotless and even peer review confirmed his findings on some sites from Arnhem Land and Kimberley. In short, he employed perfectly sound methods which gave results which have been "shocking".
Since we've already staryed very far afield I'll add one final note before being incinerated by Ian. At the moment we know very little about human evolution and even migrations up to 2000 years ago. Genetics have probably caused more problems than they sorted and the problems get worse as our knowledge grows and, ironically, our analytical capabilities improve.
For example I have a biologist friend who did research into the Guanches, the aboriginal inhabitants of the Canaries who were wiped out by the invading Castillans in the XV and XVI centuries. According to "up to date" research they were purebred Cro-Magnons coming from the Atlas Mountains and surviving in isolation until modern times. But Cro-Magnons are not normally believed to have developed seafaring habilities. The Canaries were connected to Africa through a land bridge during the Miocene (24 to 5 million years ago), when man still didn't exist (unless you believe some early hominids to be "men" in the modern sense). So you now understand the magnitude of the problem.
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PostSubject: Re: Big foot in Ice turns out to be Ape suit   Sun 12 Oct 2008, 5:14 am

As the old saying goes, the more you know, the more you realize you don't really know anything.
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agricola



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PostSubject: Re: Big foot in Ice turns out to be Ape suit   Sun 12 Oct 2008, 12:08 pm

baroniveagh wrote:
Our knowledge of early travel is very limited, and fixes on the idea that early travel was almost entirely by land.

I recommend you read Barry Cunliffe's heavy tome, Iron Age Communities in Britain: An Account of England, Scotland and Wales from the Seventh Century B.C.Until the Roman Conquest which presents a lot of the evidence for early trading communities. Although Cunliffe later focuses on the Iron Age, he explores earlier periods, and also sets out a good argument applicable to even earlier migrations. In Facing the Ocean he goes even further in explaining theories on migration and trade, which, as he frequently states, has not really changed over time, we just do it a bit faster these days.
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