Bernard Heuvelmans 10 October — 22 August was a Belgian-French zoologist, writer, and explorer who is regarded as the "Father of Cryptozoology ". His book On the Track of Unknown Animals is regarded as the founding document of the field. On the Track of Unknown Animals was followed by In the Wake of the Sea Serpents , which attempted to classify reports of sea serpents using the Heuvelmans system. During the 's, he was especially noted for his investigation of the Minnesota Iceman alongside Ivan T. He was a founding member and President of the International Society of Cryptozoology ,  and published a complete checklist of cryptids reported up to the time of publication in the Society's journal, Cryptozoology.
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Regular readers will know that I recently published a book on cryptozoology, titled Hunting Monsters Naish You can buy it here. The illustrations used here are also not present in Hunting Monsters.
In fact a startling and frustrating fact about this case is that none of the pictures famously associated with it are available free, under a creative commons licence, online… everything is protected by copyright. Anyway, without further ado…. The odd bones, hairs and so on sometimes said to be evidence for Bigfoot or the Yeti are a far cry from the most remarkable piece of data associated with the so-called crypto-hominids — the complete carcass of a hirsute male hominid, 1.
The specimen was brought to the attention of cryptozoologists Ivan T. Sanderson and Bernard Heuvelmans by aspiring naturalist Terry Cullen. Hansen claimed that he was only the temporary ward of the body and that it belonged to an undisclosed owner widely rumoured to be actor Jimmy Stewart.
At one time Hansen claimed that the body had been discovered floating in a block of ice off the Siberian coast by a Russian seal-hunting vessel. Later, he said that a Japanese whaling ship found the body. And later still it was said that the animal had been shot on a hunting trip in the Whiteface Reservoir region of Minnesota. Both became convinced of its reality, so much so that they prepared detailed illustrations and planned to have the creature described in the technical literature.
The body was that of a robust, barrel-chested male with a thick neck and large hands and feet. Its face was broad, flattened and possessed a short, upturned nose and prominent brow-ridges. An eyeball dangled from one of the sockets, apparently resulting from a gunshot to the back of the head, and a bend in the forearm was interpreted as evidence for a fractured radius and ulna.
Sanderson and Heuvelmans were intrigued by its enormous hands. At one point during the examination, the glass over its case cracked, releasing an odour described as that of decomposing flesh. This object has been known ever since as the Minnesota iceman. This seems oddly unhelpful given his apparent belief that it was real. He later modified this proposal, arguing that H. John Napier, a primatologist at the Smithsonian Institution with a serious interest in cryptohominids, was invited to examine the iceman.
He became sure that it was a latex model. Sanderson supported this by saying that the specimen examined by Napier was obviously different from the original one he and Heuvelmans had examined. Photos show that, over the years, the form of the face and body varied somewhat.
Maybe there was more than one model, and some of the models looked more realistic than others, but it also seems possible that as the model used by Hansen was defrosted and frozen again for each annual outing, it would have taken on a slightly different pose and appearance each time. The sceptical view of the Minnesota iceman has always been that it was a hoax — the latest in a long tradition of displaying enigmatic, memorable sideshow exhibits that are implied to be real.
In , what appears to be the original and genuine article was offered for sale online. Today, the Minnesota iceman is owned by Steve Busti of the Museum of the Weird in Austin, Texas, and certainly looks identical to the specimen discussed and illustrated by Heuvelmans and Sanderson. What makes the Minnesota iceman case especially interesting within the context of cryptozoology as a whole is how it was interpreted by supporters of its reality.
Cryptohominid researcher Helmut Loofs-Wissowa argued in that images from ancient art were consistent with this description, and hence that knowledge of Homo pongoides has been influential throughout human history Loofs-Wissowa A large number of wildman reports collected from the Caucasus in the west to Mongolia in the east by cryptohominid researchers Boris Porchnev, Dmitri Bayanov and Marie-Jeanne Koffman have been said to be uncannily similar to Homo pongoides in anatomy and therefore interpreted as sightings of the exact same species.
But the iceman was a model, and thus the species and the traits associated with it evaporate as anything meaningful in biological terms. We have to conclude that everything written about pongoides -like hominids encountered in ancient art and real life is erroneous — that people were picking and choosing those features that matched the pongoides concept, and being led astray by a mistaken assumption that it was a real animal.
Coleman, L. Cryptozoology A to Z. Costello, P. Mysterious man-beasts 2. In Brookesmith, P. Orbis Publishing, London, pp. About the survival of relict hominoids from the point of view of a zoologist. In Downes, J. CFZ Exeter , pp. Heuvelmans, B. Neanderthal: the Strange Saga of the Minnesota Iceman. Anomalist Books, San Antonio, Tx. Loofs-Wissowa, H. The penic rectus as a marker in human palaeontology? Human Evolution 9, Naish, D. Arcturus, London. Napier, J. Bigfoot: the Yeti and Sasquatch in Myth and Reality.
Raynal, M. In Heinselman, C. Craig Heinselman Francestown, New Hampshire , unpaginated. Sanderson, I. Preliminary description of the external morphology of what appeared to be the fresh corpse of a hitherto unknown form of living hominid.
Genus 25, Shackley, M. Wildmen: Yeti, Sasquatch and the Neanderthal Enigma. Thames and Hudson, London. The views expressed are those of the author s and are not necessarily those of Scientific American. Darren Naish is a science writer, technical editor and palaeozoologist affiliated with the University of Southampton, UK. He mostly works on Cretaceous dinosaurs and pterosaurs but has an avid interest in all things tetrapod. His publications can be downloaded at darrennaish. He has been blogging at Tetrapod Zoology since Check out the Tet Zoo podcast at tetzoo.
You have free article s left. Already a subscriber? Sign in. See Subscription Options. Read Now. Hunting Monsters the ebook cover at left ; Hunting Monsters the hardcopy cover at right. Credit: Arcturus Books.
Redrawings of at left the Minnesota Iceman as it looked when frozen, and at right as it was interpreted by Heuvelmans and Sanderson. Images in public domain. Credit: Darren Naish. Frank Hansen with the Iceman Credit: Costello Fairgrounds and carnivals have a long history of showing 'snowman' or 'wildman' exhibits.
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The Strange Case of the Minnesota Iceman
Bernard Heuvelmans, 84, the "Father of Cryptozoology. Heuvelmans, who had become a Buddhist during his lifetime, was buried in Buddhist monk attire during a private funeral at Le Vesinet on August His former wife, colleague, artist collaborator Alika Monique Watteau Lindbergh, who cared for him in his declining years, was in charge of the ceremony, following his last wishes. Heuvelmans' death is sad news. His towering presence in the field leaves a long shadow. His influence is great. Heuvelmans' contributions to cryptozoology, zoology, and anthropology are significant and far-reaching, and his impact on generations to come will cross decades.
Regular readers will know that I recently published a book on cryptozoology, titled Hunting Monsters Naish You can buy it here. The illustrations used here are also not present in Hunting Monsters. In fact a startling and frustrating fact about this case is that none of the pictures famously associated with it are available free, under a creative commons licence, online… everything is protected by copyright. Anyway, without further ado…. The odd bones, hairs and so on sometimes said to be evidence for Bigfoot or the Yeti are a far cry from the most remarkable piece of data associated with the so-called crypto-hominids — the complete carcass of a hirsute male hominid, 1.
Bernard Heuvelmans 10 October — 22 August was a Belgian - French scientist, explorer, researcher, and writer probably best known, along with Scottish-American biologist Ivan T. Sanderson , as a founding figure in the pseudoscientific and subculture of cryptozoology. In , his doctoral dissertation concerned the teeth of the aardvark. Heuvelmans' books made reference to literary sources. Sanderson , with inspiring a determined interest in unknown animals. Sanderson discussed the possibility of dinosaurs surviving in remote corners of the world.