Dao van Tien

DAO VAN TIEN ( 1910-1995)

Dao Van Tien was born in Nam Dinh City, Nam Dinh Province, Vietnam, and graduated from Universite de l' Indochine in 1942, with a master's degree in zoology in 1944. As a teacher and professor of zoology at Viet Minh and Hanoi Universities from 1946 until his retirement in 1986, Professor Tien was the most important figure in biology in northern Vietnam. He taught three generations of scientists. He sought to persuade others -through his collegial relationships and a series of articles about unknown hairy hominids in Vietnam-to consider the merits of cryptozoology.

From the early 1960s on, Tien journeyed to small villages in Vietnam to interview eyewitnesses who had reportedly seen the local Wildman of the Forests, the Nguoi Rung. He headed at least two Vietnamese expeditions in search of this hominoid.

While spending the night at Thuan Chau in the Central Highlands in 1963, Tien learned of a local type of Wildman that foraged at night and sneaked into houses to steal food. His informant said he had himself seen the creature on a moonlit night through a crack in the window. Five feet tall, covered with hair, it walked erect and had a human-like face. When a noise disturbed it, it leaped to the ground, ran off, and disappeared into the bush.

On another research trip in the Sa Thiiy area (Gia Lai-Kon Tum) in 1979, local people told Tien of another type of Wildman: taller than an ordinary person, ferocious-looking, hairy, and upright. It was said to use its hands and fingers to pierce the trunk of banana trees to get juice, sometimes tearing its flesh in the process and leaving blood on the trunk.

In 1981, coincidentally, Professor Pham Huy Thong read a book titled L'Homme de Neanderthal est toujours vivant (Neanderthal Man Is Still Alive, 1974), written by Bernard Heuvelmans and Boris Porshnev.
The book contains a mass of information on worldwide Wildmen traditions. According to Thong, when Heuvelmans sent him the book, he urged him to “try your hardest to provide more information about Wildmen in Vietnam to the science world, because you have the perfect opportunity.”

On reading the part of the book dealing with Wildmen in Vietnam, Tien noticed that the exhibitor (and owner?) of the Minnesota Iceman was a U.S. Air Force captain, Frank Hansen, who had fought in Vietnam. The book took note of a 1966 American newspaper report alleging that U.S . Marines once shot and killed “a huge ape” in the Highlands not far from Danang, where Captain Hansen had been stationed; since there are no huge apes, such as the gorilla, in Vietnam (only small gibbons), Tien thought this must have been a Wildman. Hansen then supposedly arranged for the body to be flown to the United States in the same manner as the bodies of American soldiers killed in action, refrigerated it, and, having retired from the Air Force, showed it at country fairs. (This claim, it should be noted, is much disputed, and Hansen has never been able to provide convincing evidence that it is true.)

When Tien finished the Heuvelmans and Porshnev book, his reservations about the Wildman's presence in Vietnam diminished. He wondered if the body Hansen had exhibited could have been that of a genuine Wildman. Such speculations influenced a subsequent generation of researchers who would actively search for the Nguoi Rung. From 1980 onward, various zoologists carried out further research in the areas of Gia Lai and Kon Tum.

Tien's series of articles “The Faces About Forest Man” appeared in 1990 in Tap Chi' Lim Nghiep (Forestry Review), published in Hanoi. Tien died in May 1995 of a heart attack.



The Encyclopedia of Loch Monsters,Sasquatch, Chupacabras, and Other Authentic Mysteries of Nature
Written by Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark – Copyright 1999 Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark

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