Hidden Cousins

I’ve been thinking a lot about The Cryptoterrestrials by the late Mac Tonnies lately. 

Partly because of a super-secret fiction project that I’m slowly plugging away at (so super-secret in fact, that even though my fiancé knows of it, I’ve only toward her generalities in regards to what it’s about) and partly because there’s hardly been a day that’s gone by where I haven’t thought about it in the past year since I read that slim, little book. The thrust of it is a long meditation as Tonnies waxed philosophic on UFOlogy, alien abduction, and related Fortean phenomena all with the prime point being that it doesn’t necessarily have to be aliens (whether extra-terrestrial or extra-dimensional) as the culprits. Tonnies opined that it was possible that some cases of UFO encounters and alien abductions might actually be perpetrated by other members of the Homo genus, hiding among us.*

As one reviewer over on Amazon pointed out, it’s not technically a new idea: for millennia people have conjectured that we might be sharing the planet with other races of intelligent beings, from faeries and other spirits through on to Atlanteans or Lemurians inhabiting the caverns of a Hollow Earth below our feet. Hell, the idea has popped up in pop-culture over the last few decades, particularly in the ABC TV show Prey and in the Assassin’s Creed game series’ “Those Who Came Before” (script writer Darby McDevitt has confirmed that they’re not extra-terrestrials; the most logical answer would be that they’re hominids of some kind) But, it is the first time that I’ve heard it brought up as a possible explanation in semi-opposition to the Extra-Terrestrial and Extra-Dimensional hypotheses (I say “semi-opposition” since Tonnies himself admitted that none of the three were mutually exclusive and, depending on the scenario being investigated, any of them could be a viable explanation). Tonnies speculates that possibly these other hominids are on the decline (either from encroachment by us, H. sapiens, or possibly due to some genetic malady) or that they consciously decided to go incognito as they saw – more and more often – how we treat members of our own species that we fear or dislike. Whatever the explanation for their decision to hide, Tonnies points to several repeating scenarios where members of our species have encountered “aliens” who suspiciously made it extremely clear that they came from outer space  – suspicious because many of the incidents smack of a “methinks thou dost protest too much” air when looked at in this light.

Example: someone’s driving along a deserted country road late at night and they just happen to notice some strange lights coming from the nearby forest. They pull over and enter the woods, where they just happen to come across a group of humanoid aliens collecting dirt and plant samples near their spaceship. “Oh, drat!” says one of the aliens. “You’ve stumbled upon us! And we were trying so hard to be covert about this expedition. Well, come on, chums: let’s go back to space! You know…where we’re from.”

Number one: the likelihood of there being extraterrestrials that naturally evolved to look humanoid in even the vaguest way (as opposed to looking so due to genetic engineering, some form of highly advanced cosmetic surgery, holographic projection, et cetera) is slim to none. The fact that numerous alien abduction and alien encounter stories involve some form of sexual intercourse (see: the case of Antonio Villa-Boas) or harvesting of semen/ova for genetic testing or experimentation is odd: we can already get all the DNA we need to do genetic testing/engineering by swabbing the inside of a person’s mouth, but a species that has mastered interstellar travel has to commit rape (or, at the very least, an unwanted hand-job)? Suspicious.

Number two: a species that has mastered interstellar travel can’t come up with some kind of cloaking device for their crew-members or their ship when they’re “covertly” scouting a primitive (and possibly hostile) planet? We are a few decades off from having that capability. Granted, the aliens might not really care about hiding, but it should still raise an eyebrow.

Tonnies uses the above observation in regards to semen/ova harvesting as support for the possible explanation that these beings may indeed be some kind of cousin of ours who is suffering from some sort of genetic disease or seemingly-incurable population die-off. Which, to a degree, would make sense – especially if they’re not super-advanced, star-hopping beings from across the galaxy and only have a level of biotechnology roughly equal to or slightly exceeding our own.

I’m not going to sum up Tonnies’ entire musings here – buy his book if you’re interested in that (I suggest it). My point here is that, while I don’t believe that Tonnies is correct, I do however think this idea is an extremely viable solution to the UFO/alien abduction conundrum.

Think about it: if you look at what we know of fossil history, for the majority of our species’ lifetime there have usually been at least two or three other members of the Homo genus inhabiting the planet alongside us. And now…we’re all alone? If we are any indicator of what the species of our genus are capable of in terms of adaptability and intelligence, it should be extremely odd for us be the sole members of our genus alive. Even if other hominid species had experienced pressure as our populations expanded (and, really, our populations have only significantly expanded in any way that might impact another intelligent species during the last 12,000 years or so) they should have been able to adapt like we did. Or move.

Or, perhaps, blend in with the invading population.

It’s not unheard of. During the period of the Spanish Inquisition, a great number of Jews “converted” to Catholicism, while keeping their Jewish practice secret (they became known as conversos or “crypto-Jews“). Is it impossible to conceive that some hominid cousin of ours might have run the numbers and thought that going “underground” for a while might be the wisest decision? And if you think “There’s no way non-Human hominids could hide among us without us knowing; they’d stick out like sore thumbs!” Well, take a gander at the mugshots on this Daily Mail article. I’ve seen members of H. sapiens who look more freakish on Maury. We know that some populations of H. sapiens and H. neanderthalensis not only lived side-by-side, but actually interbred – with most current members of H. sapiens carrying between %1 to %4 of H. neanderthalensis DNA in their make-up. So, such over-lapping of populations has taken place in the past – is it really inconceivable that it might be happening, covertly, in the present?

And they needn’t be technically living among us, they could be living on the fringes of our society, off in the wilderness. Already, in the wake of the discovery of H. floresiensis‘ survival up to at least 12,000 years Before Present some researchers have suggested that the reports of cryptids like the Orang Pendek could be based on encounters with extant populations of the so-called “hobbits.” Hell, Sasquatches and Yetis could be explained as descendant species of something like Paranthropus robustus.

What if there are other hominids inhabiting the planet alongside us? What then? Obviously, if some kind of disclosure were to take place (a “family reunion” of sorts?), it would change our world-view just as surely as First Contact with an extra-terrestrial species would. For starters, the Abrahamic faiths would be facing a series of questions: are all hominids made in “God’s image” or just H. sapiens? Do these other hominids, under theological doctrine, have souls? Are they “Fallen” like H. sapiens? And many more. In a broader context, we would have to admit that we are not the sole occupants of the Earth (technically even now, if we are the only hominids, we’re not the sole occupants: we inhabit the planet with millions of other species who are just as much rightful tenants of this world as we are) and no longer have carte blanche to trash this planet. Sure, things would be crazy for a bit as we all reconfigure how we see ourselves and our place in the Cosmos, as we learn how to deal with one another and hopefully not destroy ourselves (just as surely as H. sapiens is not made of %100 savages or %100 saints, any other hominids would be just as spread out along the behavioral spectrum).

But you know what? We’d also know that we’re not alone. That we share the Cosmos with other intelligent beings and not only that, but that they’re our cousins. They are family.

But, that’s assuming that Tonnies’ conjecture and philosophical musings were accurate. That there are other hominids sharing the Earth with us. Maybe there are, maybe there aren’t. But if there are, hopefully they’ll make themselves known sometime soon – hopefully we’ll deserve that contact.

And if any of them happen to be reading this meager blog: I wouldn’t mind partaking in a family reunion. Just…please don’t appear in my bedroom some night. FYI, that shit is just plain creepy.


*- Granted, Tonnies doesn’t limit his speculation to only hidden members of the Homo genus – he lobs out the idea that humanoid beings like the (now) archetypal “Gray” might be a hybridized creature (half-human and half-alien) or that pulling the strings of some of these human-like beings might be a “rogues gallery of progressively stranger beings lurking behind the curtain.” (Tonnies, 51)


~ by crow365 on May 18, 2011.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: