January 20, 2010

Theorizing the Yowie

Darren Naish reviews a recent book on the Yowie, Australia's Bigfoot.

While it's all very well saying that any and all reports of an ape-like creature in the Australian bush are nonsense and that the phenomenon can hence be rejected without question, the problem is that at least some Yowie accounts really do sound extremely intriguing at the very least. Maybe all the reports represent misidentifications, hoaxes and the manifestations of cultural stereotypes or something, but even if this is so, there's still an interesting phenomenon here that's worthy of investigation. Those of us predominantly interested in zoology sometimes forget that cryptozoological reports might tell us more about folklore, psychology, witness perception and/or cultural transmission than anything else. As a result I still think that investigation of subjects like the Yowie is worthwhile, and within the remit of science.


PBurns said...

Only if you think psychiatry is a science.

Really is nature so boring that we have to chase fantasy?

Australia is a country with egg-laying mammals, and things that look like a cross between a duck and a beaver with the sting of an adder ... it is a country of Whale Sharks and Black Swans, of Killer Molsuks and Sea Snakes, Toxic Toads and Fresh Water Crocodiles. Do we need to invent stuff and salute nonsense? Really? Do we really need to chase the Loch Ness Monster and Sasquatch and tell fantasy tales to each other to stay entertained? Is Nature not enough? Is all wonder gone from the wonderful that really exists?


Chas S. Clifton said...

On the other hand, if people claim to see yowies, is is fair to ask (a) what did they see and (b) why did they think they were seeing the yowie and not something else?

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

They went to search for yowies and stayed to marvel at all the other things they found. Wether the search is around a picnic spot or in the wilds of the imagination. A little wonderment cant be so bad?