This has to be the story of the year. A recent paper published by the Royal Society identifies 30 alleged cryptid primate (Yeti, Bigfoot, Orang Pendek, Almasti) hair samples as having a known provenance, having a 100% mitochondrial 12S RNA match with GenBank library samples of known mammals. These include man, cows, horses, deer, antelope, tapir, porcupine, bear, and various canines. However, 2 samples, from archived hair samples from Ladakh, India and Bhutan matched -get this, the fossil remains of a Pleistocene age extinct Polar Bear. See excerpt below:
Sequences derived from hair sample nos. 25025 and 25191 had a 100% match with DNA recovered from a Pleistocene fossil more than 40 000 BP of U. maritimus ( polar bear) but not to modern examples of the species. Hair sample no. 25025 came from an animal shot by an experienced hunter in Ladakh, India ca 40 years ago who reported that its behaviour was very different from a brown bear Ursus arctos with which he was very familiar. Hair sample no. 25191 was recovered from a high altitude (ca 3500 m) bamboo forest in Bhutan and was identified as a nest of a migyhur, the Bhutanese equivalent of the yeti. The Ladakh hairs (no. 25025) were golden-brown, whereas the hair from Bhutan (no. 25191) was reddish-brown in appearance.
A link to the paper is below. I have also included papers on a fossil polar bear find. This is so freaking cool.
Genetic analysis of hair samples attributed to yeti, bigfoot and other anomalous primates
Two Wildlife Photographers. A Homicidal Hunter. A Head Start.
Tough guy William Smith (b. 1933) has played Dracula, Conan the Barbarian’s dad, cowboys, cops, bikers, a soviet officer, the Frankenstein monster, a space alien, Batman’s last nemesis Adonis (1968) and Clint Eastwood’s advisary Jack Wilson (the same name as Jack Palance’s gunslinger in Shane, 1953) in Any Which Way You Can (1980). The guy has had a prolific career and at his best he is a terrific villain. At his worst, like in low-budget exploitation flicks like Piranha (1972), he’s still a terrific villain.
I first learned about this low-budget “The Most Dangerous Game” while watching a beat up 16mm print at the underrated Cinema Wasteland show in Strongsville, Ohio. Aguire the Wrath of God this film is not, but Smith will hold your attention as the unpredictable Caribe.
The story is simple. A wildlife photographer Terry Browne (Ahna “Ahria” Capri) and her brother (Tom Simcox) are accompanied by guide Jim Pendrake (Peter Brown) in the Amazon jungle. Along the way, at the dubious establishment el milagro the trio encounter the hunter Caribe. He buys them a few drinks. Caribe takes a liking to Terry. The usual cock fighting cliches ensue. Caribe and Pendrake race dirt bikes. Caribe wins. Caribe doesn’t like losing. Caribe celebrates and takes his new friends to a diamond mine.
Piranha was filmed on location (Venezuela?) and some of the hand-held jungle photography by Luis Jacko is pretty good. The bike race is exciting, with Gauchos overlooking, and has some fairly interesting perspective camera angles. I also like some of the photography of native people along the Amazon tributaries. With the exception of Smith, who clenches his teeth a lot (he reminds me of Jack Palance), the acting is horrid.
Later, Caribe kills a King Vulture for fun. We learn about his dark side. Caribe hunts people.
Except for a very short but key sequence, no Piranha actually appear in the film. Perhaps Piranha is a reference to the predatory nature of Caribe? By the end Terry is pushed too far.
Will Caribe return?
Piranha is fairly difficult to find. I had my DVD from Miracle Pictures (PMC Corp) on back order from Amazon, about $11, for about 6 months. I don’t know if it was worth the wait. If you’re looking for something different this is it.