Maria Lewis The Daily Mail
It’s considered Australia’s answer to the Loch Ness monster, with everyone from famous politicians to entire families having claimed to see the Yowie.
Now Yowie hunter Rex Gilroy believes he has found evidence that proves North America’s Bigfoot is a distant relative of the Australian bush monster.
The Blue Mountains resident and author of several books on the subject says he has identified four different species of the Yowie, which are a sub species of Homo erectus.
‘Bigfoot has Aussie genes,’ he told the MailOnline.
Aussie genes? Yowie hunter Rex Gilroy claims Bigfoot, pictured here in California in 1967, is a relative of the Australian Yowie
‘I’m going to cop flack for saying that, but it’s true and I have the evidence to prove it.
‘American and Canadian researchers are fixated on Bigfoot, when he’s a clear relative of our Homo erectus. You can see it in the similarity between the footprints of the Yowie.’
Gilroy has been investigating and documenting evidence of what some call the Bigfoot of the bush for 63-years and said reported sightings go as far back to Aboriginal times.
Playing footsie: The Blue Mountains-based expert says the evidence can be found in comparing Yowie footprints with that of the Bigfoot
‘The reason so many hunters have tried and failed is because they’re looking for a big, hairy monster that doesn’t exist,’ said Gilroy, who is one of dozens of experts speaking at paranormal convention Paracon Australia in May.
‘There’s a pattern throughout all of Australian where the Aboriginals used to refer to it as ‘The Hairy Man’ which meant a hairy man or hairy woman.
Enduring mystery: Husband and wife team Rex and Heather Gilroy have been on the case for 63-years, pictured with casts of Bigfoot and Yowie footprints
‘You have Homo erectus of variable heights. There’s and eight foot tall male living around Katoomba for example, but most are not much taller than your average person.’
There have been Yowie sightings in Australia dating back to pre-Federation times, with the first recorded accounts being in the mid 1800s.
It has been an enduring myth of Australian culture, in the same way that Bigfoot, Yeti and the Loch Ness monster have all sparked decade long quests to prove or disprove the legend.
‘The Hairy Man’: Aboriginal tribes referred to a creature fitting the Yowie’s description for hundreds of years before settlers arrived
‘If there’s one fake, then that discredits us all,’ notes Gilroy.
‘I’ve made a science of it. I’ve spent a lifetime doing it and I’ve copped plenty of criticism, but I am the Yowie man.
‘I’m going to die in the scrub looking for it.’
The creature has been spotted all over Australia, predominantly in the Blue Mountains region in New South Wales, the Australian Alps in Victoria, the Acacia Hills area of the Northern Territory and Springbrook in South-East Queensland.
One of the most notable sightings comes from former Queensland Senator Bill O’Chee who was one of over a dozen people – including fellow highschool students and teachers – who claim to have seen the ‘immensely powerful’ creature at a Springbrook camp site in 1977.
‘Basically we saw a Yowie, but we didn’t know what they were at the time,’ he said in a documentrary.
‘We saw a sort of hairy, ape-like thing that probably would have stood about eight feet tall and moved in a sort of crab-like fashion.’
In late March this year Jason Heal and Jason Dunn reported that they had caught the Yowie on camera in a similar location to the 1977 mass-sighting, with a figure shown in grainy black and white video footage.
Australian Yowie researcher Paul Cropper says there have been over 350 sightings and plenty of ‘compelling evidence’, but no smoking gun.
‘Anyone who says it’s just a hoax or a joke is wrong,’ he told the MailOnline.
‘It’s something more complicated that that. Exactly what it is, I don’t know.
‘In a country criss-crossed by Four Wheel Drives it’s really strange that no one has hit one with their car or captured clear photographic evidence.
‘Why haven’t we found a body?
‘It’s a genuine, fascinating mystery. Having spoken to hundreds of primary sources, people are absolutely clear that it was something.’
Cropper points to O’Chee’s account as the ‘most reliable’ in recorded history thanks to the sheer number of witnesses who went on the record.
‘Even now, 20 to 25 years later, he said he can’t lie about what he saw and there are other witnesses to back him up.
‘He’s a guy who had everything to lose by continuing to claim he saw something weird, but his story has never changed.
Despite having gathered dozens of Yowie footprints over the years, Gilroy too agrees the mystery will never be solved until there is biological evidence.
‘We need tissue. Tissue is the Holy Grail,’ he said.
Huge creature: A sketch based on an eye witness Yowie account in Acacia Hills in the Northern Territory in 1997