Ucumar

Giant Hominid of South America. Etymology: After its ululating call. Variant names: Sachayoj, Ucu, Ukumar-zupai (in Tolar Grande). In Bolivia and Peru, the spectacled bear is known as Ucamari or Jucamari.

Physical description: Half man, half bear. Covered in long, black hair. Bearded. Small eyes. Large hands and feet. Opposed toes.

Behavior: Bipedal. Makes eerie, ululating calls ("uhu, uhu") at night. Eats wild fruit and honey. Said to abduct women for breeding. Tracks: Humanlike. Length, 17 inches. Habitat: Mountains, caves, and rocky areas. Distribution: Tolar Grande, Mount Umahuaca, El Chorro, and Baritu National Park in Sal ta Province, Caliliegua in Jujuy Province, Chaco Province, all in Argentina.

Possible explanation: The Spectacled bear ( Tremarctos ornatus) is found in the Andes as far south as northern Argentina. Its occasional forays into Argentina could contribute to Ucumar folklore.

Sources: Angel Luciano Lopez, Narraciones y supersticiones del Desierto Saladino (La Banda, Argentina, n.d.), pp. 20-26; José Murillo, Leyendas para todos (Buenos Aires: Editorial Guadalupe, 1978); Pablo Latapi Ortega, "Ucumar, the Argentinian Yeti," Contactos Extraterrestres, April 16, 1980; Simon Chapman, The Monster ofthe Madidi: Searching for the Giant Ape ofthe Bolivian Jungle (London: Aurum, 2001).

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