The oral history of the Aboriginal peoples of Australia is complex and multi-faceted. Looming large in the folklore of Australia, both ancient and modern, is a strange creature: a hairy ape-man of the outback known as the Yowie.
The Yowie has been described in many different ways, but some aspects remain consistent. It is a large, hairy upright hominid of height between 2.1m and a massive 3.6m (6 foot 9 inches to 11 foot 9 inches).
The distinguishing thing about Yowie is that it had big feet, larger than that of humans. But the purported tracks of the Yowie, like much else about this creature, are not consistent in size, shape and toe numbers.
There have been several witnesses to Yowie footprints over the years, but they do not match with the description of one another. The nose of Yowie is described sometimes as flat & wide, sometimes as missing. Some people reported Yowie as shy or timid, while some reported it as a violent creature.
Description and Theories
The Yowie is certainly more aggressive and dangerous than its American cousin, the bigfoot. It is said to have a large, red mouth and talon-like claws.
There have also been reports upon Yowie having two fang-like canines that distinguish it from other bigfoot species. The entire body is covered in reddish or brown fur.
Like most other bigfoot species, there is a theory that the Yowie also descends from the ancient and massive ape Gigantopithecus Blacki. This theory seems more fanciful given Australia’s genetic isolation, as G. Blacki is from Asia and Asian apes never spread to Australia.
There is another theory that they might be a living remnant of “Homo Erectus”. The presence of this pre-historic species in Australia has been theorized for a long time, but there has been no evidence.
Around 140 placental mammals do exist in Australia, mostly rodents and bats. However these are much smaller species who could in theory have traversed the sea barrier from Asia to Australia, something a larger species could not do.
Some theories posit that the Yowie might be a bipedal marsupial, maybe descending from the extinct Hulitherium (a marsupial similar to a giant panda) of New Guinea. But this lacks evidence and there are no similar creatures who were native to Australia in the fossil records.
There has been numerous studies and researches on the Yowie, seeking to align the physical evidence and sightings with the folklore. The name is obscure but certainly in use by 1875 amongst the Kamilaroi people of south eastern Australia.
The “Yo-wi” is said to a spirit that roams over the earth at night. And the name was then popular amongst the country and is still being used for characterizing the creature.
Much work has been poured into finding the real creature behind these stories, and proving the existence of Yowies. Many people have reported their existence but confirmatory proof of their existence is lacking. But with all of the cumulative research some consistency as to their description seems to have been reached.
Firstly, they do not seem to be as huge as people imagine them to be. At the same time, one should not count them as small and fast creatures! They seem to be muscular and with long arms, slimmer than the American bigfoot.
Secondly, they live close to humans in Australia. It seemed given their elusive nature that Yowies live in the far reaches of the outback, so the researchers concluded that there is less chance for people to run into one! But this is not the case.
Many reports, particularly from New South Wales, place Yowie sightings in the most heavily populated part of Australia. Woodenbong, which on the Queensland border, is known as the “Yowie Capital of Australia” and is only 145km (90 miles) from Brisbane.
Thirdly, they definitely appear somehow related to apes. Newspapers of the 19th century reported Yowie as “Australian Ape” and the descriptions of their appearance and behavior certainly seems to support this.
As far as the link the Aboriginal history is concerned, Yowies are either entirely mythical creatures or real animals with ascribed mythical properties. The oral history comes with numerous mentions of a creature named “Yahoo” that sounds very similar.
In a 1977 book The Hairy Man of South Eastern Australia, the historian Graham Joyner put up an argument that the media is in fact confusing the name “Yahoo” with “Yowie” and that they are one and the same. Joyner believed that Yahoo existed but is now extinct, and that modern sightings are hoaxes.
The Sightings of the Yowie
And yet the sightings continue, with the most recent sightings of Yowie were reported in early 2021. And in total, there were three sightings reported in the year 2021, and six in 2020.
Each of the sightings was reported in the region of Queensland. Most of the Yowie sightings were reported alongside the highways that run through the interior. A man who is driving across the Gold Coast in eastern Australia has reported the most recent incident. The report said that the Yowie was crouched over the highway.
Many more such sighting reports, horror stories, footprint marks, and instances indicate Yowie’s existence. People who believe that they have sighted one do believe their existence, but those who haven’t count it as fiction or false sightings.
Does it exist? Did it ever? Australia is a huge place and many species could easily hide in the vast wilderness, waiting to be discovered.
Top Image: Could the Yowie really exist, somewhere out there? Source: Ginettigino / Adobe Stock.
By Bipin Dimri