It Came From the Swamps!

A huge, hairy beast that walks upright and craves lima beans is stalking South Florida's marshland.

Like a microcosm of the Skunk Ape mystery itself, the cast Riggs brought back to show Carr offers a frustrating mix of clarity and obscurity. Where Shealy's fourteen-inch casts -- and the very similar footprint we found by the broken rake -- are indistinct, Carr says Riggs' cast is detailed enough to evidence dermal ridges, the fingerprint-like whorls on the bottoms of the feet of all higher primates. Tantalizingly, the toes of the Riggs print also seem to show no sign of having ever been confined in shoes. Then again, the new print still lies within the upper range of possibility for Homo sapiens. In Carr's view it could have been made by a barefoot human more than six feet tall and weighing more than 250 pounds. "The track is authentic in that it's a track of a hominid, or a Homo sapiens-type creature. There's no doubt -- or I should say little doubt -- about that," Carr says. "The problem is, we haven't eliminated the fact that an individual much larger than the average human being could have been barefoot back there. The size doesn't in itself prove anything."

Once again, it would seem, the Skunk Ape has vanished back into the woods. But Carr thinks the creature's latest foray into the sunlight may have set the stage for resolving the matter. He plans to have the newest footprint cast analyzed by physical anthropologists. He's continuing to monitor the Ochopee area, ready to chase the next sighting report at a moment's notice. He's even set up a toll-free number for Skunk Ape reports through the nonprofit Archaeological and Historical Conservancy -- stretching that organization's mandate to include the conservation of a living piece of Florida's heritage. The number is 800-790-0803.

If you happen to see a huge, hairy, horrible-smelling humanoid, Bob Carr wants to know.

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