Friday, 2 October 2009
This is Ardi's foot:
Compare it with the orang pendek track:
Ardi's anatomy suggests that the original African apes from which we, chimps, bonobos and gorillas descend were bipedal but still had the grasping toe. Ardi was the size of a chimp, which is consistent with the description of the orang pendek that the CFZ team saw.
Perhaps the orang pendek represents a relic primitive ape species.
The team of four British explorers and their Indonesian guide tracked through dense and treacherous jungle in the Kerinci National Park of Sumatra where two of them caught a glimpse of the Orang Pendek - or short man.
The team have brought back hair samples and a piece of palm they hope will provide DNA evidence of the Orang Pendek - a creature sighted in the area since colonial times and reputed to be immensely powerful....
I have heard that the Dippo Hotel, where Chris, Jon Hare and I stayed on our 2003 and 2004 expeditions, and of which I was very fond, has been destroyed.
Thankfully Sahar and his family, and Dally and the other guides are all safe as they were well out of the area. Dally is on Facebook and I spoke to him last night. The death toll has now reached 529. Padang is not a well-built city so I can well imagine how much of it must have been flattened.
As Padang is a Mecca for surfers, a charity called Surfaid is raising money for earthquake relief. You can donate here: