Australian Cryptozoology

Australian Cryptozoology by Gary opit‘Cryptozoology is the science of “hidden” animals’, wrote the late founder of the science, Bernard Heuvelmans, in the abstract of the first article in the first interdisciplinary journal of the International Society of Cryptozoology, published in 1982. Bernard Heuvelmans coined the term “cryptozoology” in the late 1950’s from the Greek roots kryptos (hidden), zoon (animal), and logos (discourse) and means “the science of hidden animals.” Heuvelmans writes, “But what are “hidden animals? They are those more generally referred to as “unknowns,” even though they are typically known to local populations – at least sufficiently so that we often indirectly know of their existence, and certain aspects of their appearance and behaviour. It would be better to call them animals “undescribed by science,” at least according to prescribed zoological rules” (Heuvelmans, 1982).

The International Society of Cryptozoology published its 12 volumes between 1982 and 1996, and stated “The International Society of Cryptozoology serves as a focal point for the investigation, analysis, publication, and discussion of all matters related to animals of unexpected form or size, or unexpected occurrence in time or space. The first article to appear on an Australian subject was in Volume 3 in 1984, The Orang-utan in England: an Explanation for the Use of Yahoo as a Name for the Australian Hairy Man by Graham Joyner.

The second article to appear on an Australian subject was in Volume 5 in 1985, The Yahoo, The Yowie, and Reports of Australian Hairy Bipeds by Colin P. Groves, Department of Anthropology, The Australian National University, Canberra. In the abstract it states “Questions surrounding the supposed Yahoo, Yowie, or the supposed wild man of south-eastern Australia are examined in light of what is known of the Australian mammal fauna, the nomenclature of the Wildman, the role of the Wildman in both Aboriginal and Anglo cosmologies, and the claimed existence of the wild man himself..” (Groves, 1985).

The third article to appear on an Australian subject was in Volume 8 in 1989, Analysis of the Australian “Hairy Man” (Yahoo) Data, by Malcolm Smith. Two articles on an Australian subject appear in Volume 9 in 1990. The first is The Thylacine: A Case for Current Existence on Mainland Australia by Athol M. Douglas. In the abstract it states “The thylacine, Thylacinus cynocephalus, also known as the Tasmanian Tiger or Wolf, has been believed extinct on the island of Tasmania since 1936 and on the mainland of Australia for several thousand years. However, sightings of an animal apparently identical to the thylacine have been reported consistently from many parts of the Australian mainland for decades. Investigation of reports from people who have reported sightings of the thylacine in Western Australia are reviewed, and doubt is cast on the carbon 14 dating of a thylacine carcass found in a cave at Mundrabilla Station, Western Australia” (Douglas, 1990).

The second article on an Australian subject in Volume 9 is Scientific Discovery and the Place of the Yahoo in Australian Zoological History by Graham C. Joyner. In the abstract it states, “Discovery is an extended process in which observation needs to be accompanied by the necessary conceptualization. The Yahoo (or Australian “gorilla”) may be seen as an unresolved anomaly set against a background involving such anomalies as platypus eggs, marsupial birth, the African gorilla and the Queensland Lungfish” (Joyner, 1990).

The sixth article on an Australian subject was printed in Volume 11 in 1992, Some Unpublished Australasian “Sea Serpent” Reports, by Paul Cropper, and Malcolm Smith.

For more info on what you can find in the book “Australian Cryptozoology” go to the Yowie’s & Bigfoot page Here.

The ‘Punchum’ or striped marsupial cat, drawn by Jeff Johnson, is believed to be the marsupial lion, (Thylacoleo carnifex) known from fossil bone deposits in

caves, the youngest being 38,000 year old. Bundjalung Aboriginal people described this animal to early European settlers in this locality and two animals were shot and examined. Aboriginal cave paintings in northern Australia also illustrate this species. This drawing is based on one by Gary Opit who closely observed the animal crossing the road at 11 pm in September 1969.

My brother John Opit has observed this unrecognised animal three times and states that the base of the tail adjacent the rump has very short fur, much like a brush-tailed possum.

The Aboriginal People of North Eastern Queensland were familiar with a large carnivorous marsupial that they referred to as the “Yarri”. The Aboriginal People of South Eastern Queensland were also familiar with a large carnivorous marsupial, which they referred to as the “Punchum”. From 1850 to the late 1990s, for 150 years, European explorers, settlers, farmers, bush walkers and scientists observed, shot, skinned, examined and described the animal in detail in scientific publications, magazines and newspapers. Yet today there is not the slightest shred of physical evidence that the animal ever existed.

No specimen ever made it to a museum. Skins and skulls were lost to the ravages of animals and climate. Knowledge of its existence is now confined to the memories of those few people who were fortunate enough to encounter it and those who have read about it in books on cryptic animals.

Marsupial Lion Cave Painting

Aboriginal cave painting of the marsupial lion (Thylacoleo carnifex) in a remote location in Northern Australia. It can be distinguished from the Tasmanian Tiger or Thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus), of which there are many cave paintings in Northern Australia, by the very large head and the cat-like fore claws, which are used to grab hold of its prey. The Thylacine has dog-like front feet and a narrow fox or dog-like snout.

To learn much more about the Australian environment, the Aboriginal people and their Australian consciousness, the Dreaming, and the remarkable array of unrecognised animals, purchase my eBook, Australian Cryptozoology. Read about and view illustrations of the river and lake dwelling Bunyip, the Njimbin or Little Hairy Man, the Mainland Thylacine or Marsupial Wolf, The Striped Marsupial Cat, introduced Big Cats and the Ri or New Guinea Mermaid.