He is and he is not Bigfoot. But he is one certain thing: he is our key to unraveling the origins of all so-called “living hominid relics,” and uncovering the true Bigfoot and Sasquatch.
Meet the Dsonoqua and greet the controversy. It’s a controversy I created. But it is in print in my massively controversial Recasting Bigfoot and it isn’t going away– for it is also embedded forever in Indian artwork. Bigfoot is not a single species and most of the evidence proffered today to support Bigfoot has nothing whatsoever to do with the cone headed legend of the forest.
In 1920 in South America one was shot, killed and photographed by Swiss geologist Francois de Loys. He and 20 bravos went into the Venezuelan jungles looking for positive geologic signs of oil deposits. After 3 years in the “green hell” only 4 returned. Much had been lost, and de Loys had been able to save only one picture of the many he had taken. This was a photo of a strange bipedal ape they had encountered by the Rio Catatumba.
It took some 9 years for the account and photo to finally gain sufficient acceptance and credibility to be published. It surprised zoology. De Loys had shot what appeared to be an ape “version” of a known species of small spider monkey. He had put the corpse on a fuel crate and had it photographed. Its height could be estimated. It was about 5 feet tall and looked like a heavily developed spider monkey, which is only 3 feet at best, a quadruped with a long prehensile tail.
Yet de Loys’ description was hardly that of a small monkey. He described his band of men coming across two such creatures, male and female. They had no tail, they walked erect, and they grabbed branches and beat the bushes, furious at de Loys and his men encroaching into their territory. Then, just like spider monkeys, they defecated and flung their . . .stuff. . . at de Loys. That was enough. When the male stepped aside, the female advanced and with one shot de Loys dropped her. The male, wounded, ran off into the jungle and probably died.
Professor Georges Montandon was truly the one who caused the controversy in 1929 when the article and photos were published. He was a preeminent French zoologist. He believed de Loys and he believed the picture. He had examined it carefully for years and even went to the trouble of getting his cousin in the oil industry in South America to ship him an identical fuel crate as that used by de Loys in the picture so he could estimate height accurately.
The great outcry not only came from Montandon accepting the account and verifying the photo, but from the fact that he introduced the subject of the photo as a new species, giving it the name Ameranthropoides loysi –“Mr. Loys Ape Like American.” A new species was unofficially born, an apelike American that should not have existed. Apes were only known to live in the Old World, and none of them looked like a developed version of a known monkey. Evolutionary theory at the time also believed that for an ape to be bipedal it was a missing link, thus closer to modern man than any other primate. How could a South American primate with no relation to a man be the most advanced primate other than man? How could de Loys’ be right?
Responding to the massive amount of criticism Montandon looked back in history to uncover more corroborating evidence. Such apelike creatures were often reported at one time in South America. They always traveled in a male-female pair, were about 5 feet tall, walked on their hind legs and were known for their loud whistling.
Under the barrage of protests and accusations of hoax, the loysi finally faded away. Montandon and de Loys’ reputations were assailed –de Loys was called a hoaxer and Montandon a fool for believing it.
When the idea of an unknown and unusual anthropoid walking around the Pacific Northwest was reborn in 1958 as Bigfoot no one bothered to consider a native American origin. It was said to be bipedal, and by the theories of the time, once again, that made it a missing link. Thus it had to be from the Old World. Though Sasquatch or Bigfoot had not been seen clearly, they were portrayed as giant human troglodytes or eventually the cone headed Yeti. Yeti was the big thing. Yeti was a giant depending to whom you listened. Yeti was Gigantopithecus to hear some say it — including Harvard’s Carlton Coon. Gigantopithecus was thought to have been bipedal. This all seems to fit. Bigfoot was Yeti and both were Sasquatch, all were giants. All were the same single-o species.
Because Bigfooters sought a giant, perhaps even 10 feet tall, no one could believe there could be more than one species of such garish creatures that had never been caught. There was thus one aloof, mysterious cryptid about. He was from the Old World. He was a missing link. He was humanoid. Locating him and capturing or killing him was viewed as the biological and anthropological discovery of all time.
Regardless, Bigfooters needed proof. Claims of sightings and muddy footprints cast in distorted plaster were not enough for the new popular pastime to sustain momentum. They turned to Indian artwork. It was both history and something tangible. Tribal masks of Dsonoqua and Bukwas were the most frequently cited and presented to promote the ancient reality of Bigfoot the giant ape amongst the Indians.
Yet no Indian artwork showed the cone-headed giant. Dsonoqua were a strange “nude people” or “dangerous thing” in the deep forests. Dsonoqua masks always showed him whistling with lips puckered, because he frequently did this for no reason. Dsonoqua was often portrayed carrying his young, like the Maya statues at Merida in Mexico portray a strange anthropoid. Dsonoqua was always shown with an unusual and heavy ridge circling the eyes. The Koskimo Indians have a full body suit representing an entire Dsonoqua. Its body was hairy, with short legs and long arms with big hands. It looks an artistic representation of Ameranthropoides loysi. And it is just that.
Within old newspaper accounts there are reports of just such loysi. There is the report in 1869 from Crawford County, Kansas, in which M.S. Trimble describes such a creature terrorizing the community. He writes:
“It has so near a resemblance to the human form that the men are unwilling to shoot it. It is difficult to give a description of this wild man or animal. It has a stooping gait, very long arms with immense hands or claws; it has a hairy face and those who have been near it describe it as having a most ferocious expression of countenance; generally walks on its hind legs but sometimes on all fours. The beast or ‘what is it?’ is as cowardly as it is ugly and is next to impossible to get near enough to obtain a good view of it.”
Two such creatures were seen in Crow Canyon, California, in 1869 as well, and described as a pair male and female. They were about 5 feet tall and, according to hunter de Groot:
“Suddenly I was surprised by a shrill whistle, such as boys produced with two fingers under their tongues, and turning quickly, I ejaculated: ‘Good God!’ as I saw the object of my solicitude standing beside the fire and looking suspiciously around. It was the image of a man, but could not have been human. . . .As I looked he threw his head back and whistled again, and then stopped and grabbed a stick from the fire. This he swung round, until the fire at the end had gone out, when he repeated the maneuver. I was dumb, almost, and could only look. Fifteen minutes I sat and watched him as he whistled and scattered my fire about.”
All these accounts and more have found their way into the dossier of Bigfoot, despite the fact none of them match the cone headed giant Yeti. They match what de Loys shot in 1920 and they match Indian artwork of the whistling Dsonoqua.
Carved stone heads of the Columbia Valley have also been used to support the idea of Bigfoot. They show apes faces, but in a very clear example they also show the feature of the spider monkey or Ameranthropoides loysi— the brow ridge entirely encircling the eye.
This is Dsonoqua. They weren’t mountain dwellers. They dwelt in the deep forests. But they were not the dreaded Skoocoom of Mount St. Helens or one of the tribes of the Sasquatch. They were not giants. They were not humans.
The vast, vast majority of Indian artwork of Dsonoqua has been used to support Bigfoot, the gentle giant Gigantopithecus Yeti. It does not. It underscores for us, however, that such a thing as loysi does exist and is purely native American. It also shows that it migrated north from South America. It is a type of primate no one expected– akin to monkeys and yet apelike, bipedal, ferocious and far better able to migrate long distances.
It has been said that Bigfoot has long been de-monsterized; that he is now a benign, harmless friend in the woods. In reality, an anthropoid akin to monkeys and not man would be as nasty as monkeys except now these traits embodied in huge advanced “apes.” Monkeys are omnivorous. Imagine the diet of a 5 to 6 foot tall one. Indian tribes have stories of a “cannibal” tribe of “a different species of men.” The monster image must return. Not only for Dsonoqua but especially for “the other species of men” that lived in the mountains who were human enough to be considered cannibals for eating a White trapper. Only White Man confused all the accounts to be referring to one species. The Dsonoqua was probably the least dreaded, thus explaining why it seems the most frequently encountered and preserved in artwork. Nevertheless, these creatures held unique dread to the Indians and to the woodsmen who first encountered them, and they did so for a reason.
The bukwas is another example. The bukwas is the “wild man of the woods.” He is never shown harmlessly whistling. He is portrayed with teeth exposed in a snarling grimace. The symbolism is obvious. The wild man is dangerous. He is not so common as the Dsonoqua; not so surprising since he was so dangerous no Indian artist probably wanted to get close. He is shown as an apelike creature. Yet he is also shown as an unkempt human, but a very different human than anybody else. One apelike, one humanlike. But close enough in general appearance that both could be considered the “wild man of the woods.” In the next Bigfoot post we will meet bukwas.