Minaret Skull

Monday, August 4, 2014

A physician, Dr. Robert Denton, acquired the skull on a Boy Scout camping trip in the Minaret area of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  He sent the bone to a county pathologist friend, who in turn sent it to UCLA, where it was examined by two anthropologists, but appears to have now disappeared for good.  Dr. Denton sent a sketch of the skull fragment, noting its length, width and bone thickness, and the unusual (for human) development of the nuchal ridge in the occipital zone, a matter, he originally said, “which suggested this must be some species of anthropoid other than human…,” and otherwise its comparative morphology and other new information.

Alan Berry learned of the skull fragment while researching a book on the Sierra Sound recordings in 1975, on a road trip through the Sierra which took him into Bishop, where the doctor practiced.  Berry spent time with the doctor, he corresponded with the pathologist, the museum curators, and he talked with both of the UCLA anthropologists—the former who thought the skull (a cranial portion) extremely interesting and would have liked to have examined it again; the latter, who said he had no idea what had become of the thing, and didn’t want to talk about it.

Al Berry and I, along with a cowboy friend, packed in on horseback to Hemlock Crossing on the Stanislaus River in the High Sierra, and spent a day digging in a boggy glacial step just above the crossing, where a tethered mule kicked up the bone, looking for more evidence.   We found nothing…but who knows what might be there yet to be found?

The story was first published in Bigfoot, a Bantam book, in 1976, which Berry co-authored.

Categories: Minaret Skull

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