A RESEARCHERS GUIDE by Australian Yowie Researcher, Russell Ladmore



The whole problem with researching yowies is that in the mind of most of the scientific community and most of the Australian public they do not exist! This is the biggest problem for us. How do we prove the existence of something that doesn't exist?


If we happened to video a bird sitting in a tree or a car crash on a dash cam no one would question our video. Most videos or pictures offered up as "proof" of the existence of yowies or bigfoot will never be taken seriously by most because in the minds of most people they don't exist.


So how do we do it? The scientific method ! But I'm not a scientist and I'm not familiar with scientific procedures! This is also a major problem, we need to know how to do it, a scientific method. We need science whether we like it or not.


In order to prove the existence of yowies we need to do things in a specific way . Scientists are the gatekeers and only through science will the scientific community recognise or acknowledge the existence of yowies in Australia. By collecting data that can be analysed and repeated by other researchers including scientists we can start to move forward with this subject instead of shouting at the sky and hoping for the best. Scientists need facts not blurry pictures and claims.


Catchy headlines, BOLD STATEMENTS and blurry pictures without any supporting evidence may serve an interest to a small percentage of the general public but it doesn't help us move forward, it actually inhibits us from moving forward and makes the yowie community as a whole look like a group of deluded individuals on the fringe of society with a distinct lack of rational thinking or even mental illness.


Applying a scientific method to our research with verifiable, repeatable results is the only way the yowie will ever be discovered or at the very least acknowledged. If we all use the same tools and methods for collecting data and we all come up with the same results in different regions of our country then we're one step ahead of where we are now.




Like fishing, surfing , golf or photography, each hobby or sport has it's own language . In order for us to understand where we fit in it's important for us to understand the language of science and be familiar with it's terms.

Below is a list of important words and meanings that we need to be aware of. These words will helps us move in the right direction.




The key distinguishing feature of science is falsifiability. All good science is subject to being falsified, or proven to be false, by experimental data or observations. Anything that can not be tested and subjected to the possibility of being proven wrong is not science.




The state of knowing. Knowledge as distinguished from ignorance, belief or misunderstanding.




A proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation. This is where the Yowie community is right now, we have a hypothesis. As you can see below we have a long way to go. We are at the begining, the first step.




A plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena.

After submitting a white paper to the scientific community with our hypothesis, evidence, data, methods, photographs, observations and conclusions the paper is peer reviewed. If we succeed the paper will be published .

Other scientists will then try to replicate our experiment, evidence, methods and observations. If this succeeds then our hypothesis becomes a theory. After years of testing the theory it may then become a fact.




A fact is a statement that is consistent with reality or can be proven with evidence. A thing that is known to be true.




Evidence is something which shows that something exists or is true. Refers to pieces of information and facts.




Identifying empirical evidence in another researcher's experiments can sometimes be difficult.

⦁              Can the experiment be recreated and tested?

⦁              Does the experiment have a statement about the methodology, tools and controls used?

⦁              Is there a definition of the group or phenomena being studied?

Empirical evidence includes measurements or data collected through direct observation or experimentation.

Quantitative research involves methods that are used to collect numerical data and analyze it using statistical methods. Quantitative numerical data can be any data that uses measurements, including mass, size or volume.





Proof is the evidence for argument establishing a fact or the truth of a statement. The logical conclusion we arrive at after analyzing the evidence.




In the natural sciences a protocol is a predefined written procedural method in the design and implementation of experiments. The yowie community needs a strict protocol that we can all follow.




Reproducibility is the closeness of the agreement between the results of measurements of the same measure and carried out with the same methodology described in the corresponding scientific evidence (e.g. a publication in a peer-reviewed journal)




A white paper is a persuasive essay that uses facts and logic to promote a certain viewpoint . In our case this would be a complex , detailed written report with included evidence, data, photographs, methods, conclusions and hypothesis that forms a specific view and is presented to the scientific community for peer review. Below is a link to Mitchel Townsend's white paper. This example white paper should be seen as the ultimate goal for all researchers. If you've read it then you now know why you tube videos with "100% proof" of anything are the equivelant of shouting at the sky. Having said that I don't blame anyone for not understanding what we need to be doing.


Click to Read - Using Biotic Taphonomy Signature Analysis:





An evaluation of a person's work or performance by a group of people in the same occupation, profession, or industry. It could be argued that asking for original pictures and secondary evidence from researchers is a form of peer review.




Variables come in two forms: dependent and independent. Most experiments have the goal of determining the relationship between the dependent and independent variables. The dependent variable is the variable the scientist is most interested in. The control is a variable held constant, thereby not being “variable” at all.


The role of a control is to ensure that varying factors the scientist is not interested in will not have an influence on the dependent variable in the experiment.

As an example it could be argued that my footstep analysis (a hypothesis) falls into this category. The unchanging recorded footsteps of myself are the control and the footsteps recorded in the forest are the dependant and independant variables. The results presented in graphs for analysis, stride length and impact charts.




Transparency ensures that all aspects of scientific methods and results are available for critique, compliment, or reuse. This not only meets a social imperative, it also allows others to test new questions with existing data, makes it easier to identify and correct errors, and helps unmask academic fraud.





A key element of credibility involves transparency, trustworthiness, and moral predictability. People who have a track record of being objective and truthful are perceived as more credible than those who don’t. People assign you a degree of credibility based on how they rate you on the interplay between the elements of credibility: integrity, expertise, sound judgment, relationship sensitivity, and likeability.



The feeling of being certain that something exists or is true.




A view, judgment, or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular matter.




Not based on fact or sound evidence; groundless.




The objective of science is that all empirical data that has been gathered through observation, experience and experimentation is without bias. The strength of any scientific research depends on the ability to gather and analyze empirical data in the most unbiased and controlled fashion possible .




One of the longest-recognized and most pervasive forms of bias in research, confirmation bias occurs when a researcher forms a hypothesis or belief and uses respondents information to confirm that belief. You Tube is swamped in confirmation bias.





The tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful image in a random or ambiguous photograph or video.





In the sciences, denialism is the rejection of basic facts and concepts that are undisputed, well-supported parts of the scientific consensus on a subject, in favor of radical and controversial ideas.




Many people think of plagiarism as copying another's work or borrowing someone else's original ideas. But terms like "copying" and "borrowing" can disguise the seriousness of the offense.

To steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own.

To use (another's production) without crediting the source.

To commit literary theft to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.




Scientific misconduct is the violation of the standard codes of scholarly conduct and ethical behavior.

The consequences of scientific misconduct can be damaging for perpetrators and for any individual who exposes it.




Something intended to deceive or defraud. Science is not imune to hoaxers.




A “scientific” claim that is made without the appropriate evidence to back it up is called pseudoscience. Research becomes pseudoscience when it attempts to clothe itself in the legitimacy of scientific rigor without actually subscribing to the scientific method. Pseudoscience can be deliberately deceptive or merely misguided. The problem is presenting statements as 100% true when the methodology doesn’t allow that certainty.





The term "scientific fraud" is used to describe intentional misrepresentation of the methods, procedures, evidence, or results of scientific research. Behavior characterized as scientific fraud includes fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing scientific research, or in reporting research results.





A Simple Explanation of the Scientific Method

The scientific method is the series of steps scientists use to determine if they can prove something to be true or not. These are the basic parts of the scientific method.



The problem is the question being addressed. It could be something like Why do Australian citizens keep reporting encounters with "hairy ape men" in the forest?



The hypothesis is a guess. It is what we think the answer to the problem might be, it could be something like, Yowies do exist in the Australian forest. At this point, we don’t know if the hypothesis is correct or not because we haven’t done any testing.



The procedure is the series of steps we are going to take to try to prove the hypothesis correct. Scientists try to write very detailed procedures so that somebody who tries to repeat the same experiment later will be able to repeat it exactly and (hopefully) duplicate the results.



The data is the information which is collected when the procedure is run . It could be a series of observations, such as vocalisations or woodknocks at different times of day. Or it could be a lot of numbers, such as footstep impacts or stride length comparisons (hypothesis).



The data is grouped and organized into results so it is easier to figure out what it means. Results are often presented as a graph.



After the results are organized, we can draw a conclusion. The conclusion can be “My hypothesis was correct”, “My hypothesis was incorrect”, or even “I’m not sure if my hypothesis was correct”. None of these conclusions should be seen as failures. Sometimes scientists learn more from an incorrect hypothesis than they do from a correct hypothesis.


Click to Watch - The Scientific method made easy:





  1. Base the conclusion on the evidence.
  2. Measure objectively , not guess selectively.
  3. Back up your statements with evidence.
  4. Use large sample numbers.
  5. Tests shall be blind.
  6. Test shall have controls.
  7. Cite your sources of information.
  8. Sources of information must be reliable, verifiable and backed by evidence.
  9. Opinion is not fact.
  10. Do not bear false witness (don't cheat).
  11. The main challenge of a yowie researcher




Although some reasearchers only wish to see a yowie for themselves, the ultimate point and challenge of researching yowies is to prove that they exist in a scientific manner with undeniable evidence and data to support your hypothesis. A scientist may take a whole lifetime to prove a hypothesis. This is the challenge!



What about the public ?

The public is a very important part of all this and has a right to know the truth. There are people out there right now who've had extraordinary life changing experiences and are looking for answers, real answers with facts and evidence. It is our duty to inform the public in an honest fashion without any embroidering or embelishing the truth. We know the truth and owe it to them to tell it like it is.



What if I have a picture of a yowie ?

If you believe you have a picture of a yowie then by all means post the original photographs or video up here so we can all see it. What ever you do don't say IT IS A YOWIE because you'll have to prove it, which, without evidence will be impossible. This will involve many questions (peer review), we'll want to see your evidence and we will examine the claim closer than ever before. If you can't prove it, no one will ever take you seriously again, goodbye! Be careful what you say, if you can't prove it don't say it.



Speculation ?

Speculate all you like just make sure we know your speculating.



Developing thick skin

AYR has always been controversial and will always be so. Some members can be blunt and forward to you and you must take this all in your stride. Take a deep breathe and think before replying to blunt comments with emotional responses, AYR is no place for emotions. Some members may offer alternate explanations for your evidence and this must be taken into account by you, be realistic and do your own research. Yowie research is a hobby like fishing and should always have it's place and time. Don't take blunt comments too seriously.



The dangers of this topic

Many people involved with this hobby or researching the yowie have gone too close to the fire and have burnt themselves, sometimes seriously. Some have lost marriages, bank accounts and families over this, some have lost everything. Yowie politics can also destroy you and others, be careful what your getting into and what you say. Make no mistake the yowie subject can consume your entire life and spit you out at the end.






Although we can't prove it we know they make noises OR there are unknown calls emminating from the forest.

It's the same for woodknocks.

We know they leave footprints.

It would also appear that they are capable of being habituated.

Apparently they are also capable of making nests.

As above it would also appear that they may leave behind hair on the ground.

If all of the above is true then it isn't impossible to collect data and evidence.




As for audio it is possible to triangulate calls and woodknocks using 3 audio recorders placed in a triangle fashion (Trilateration). Sound travels at 330 metres a second. If you know what your doing it is possible to pinpoint the location of calls and woodknocks using trilateration.


Another method is to have 4 audio recorders facing 4 different directions, North, South, East and West. By measuring the volume of each call from each audio recorder it is possible to calculate the direction of the calls you may collect. If you have comparison calls of yourself at different distances that you can compare then it may be possible to know the rough distance of the call thereby finding a rough location for the call.


If you can do that then you have the chance at finding footprints , hair samples and signs of activity. BINGO !


DOCUMENT, MEASURE and PHOTOGRAPH EVERYTHING before touching anything! The time of day, the distance from the audio recorders, what time of year (mating), what type of call, was the call coming from behind a tree, think of everything you can.


Another audio method is long term continuous recording with the aim to collect unknown calls. Although this is extremely teadious and time consuming it does yield results but you have to work for it.




I have deliberately searched for and found odd footprints in remote locations. It's a bit like fishing, target your species but in our case it's target your evidence. It does work.


Looking for footprints is probably the easiest method for finding anything that may be odd . Remote creeks after flooding can be a great target area and fresh sand banks will be where you want to be looking. I've found unusual footprints in these locations using this method.

Mud flats or the edges of mangroves are a likely area for footprints. Muddy roads , muddy river banks or muddy firetrails are also worth pursuing . I've found footprints on a muddy firetrail.

Dust can be a great source of footprints too and in the dry months or dry regions would be a great place to start looking. I've found footprints in dust although I think it was a double print from a wombat.

Remote beaches are also a source for footprints and I know people who've found odd footprints on beaches in remote locations.





Click to Watch - How to Cast Footwear Impression Evidence: 






Click to Watch - How to Properly Photograph Footwear Impressions:







Trying to catch these guys on video or with timelapse cameras or trail cameras is almost impossible. It all comes down to odds, the more cameras you have and the more times you put them out the better the odds.

If you collect a photo or video that you think might be a yowie then you must go back to the exact location and face the camera to the exact direction so we can see the comparison photograph or video. This is transparency, it helps you earn credibility and trust. You can mount a laser onto the camera which will direct you to the exact location the subject was standing. Look for footprints or any tree damage or broken debris on the ground.




Wearing your disposable overalls and gloves you should then collect the debris off the ground and put it into a new plastic bag.

When you get the bag home you must still put on your overalls and gloves so as not to contaminate the bag with your own hair. Pull one leaf from the bag and hold it up to the light while turning the leaf in all directions. Do this with each leaf or piece of debris until you find something. When you find a hair, put it into a small plastic or paper bag. Write on the first bag "101" and include the location and date it was collected. The next hair you collect will be called "102" and so on. Hair samples are all over the forest floor so don't get too excited when you find one.


Now that you've gone through the entire bag and collected a number of hair samples you will need a microscope, the Hair ID program and a micrometer. Carefully measure the length and diameter of each hair sample and take note of shape and any banding that the hair may have. You'll need this information to help find out who owns it. You will also need a cast and a cross section of the hair which is explained in the Hair ID software. Looking at the cast, the cross section, the shape and the actual hair under the microscope and using the measurements it's possible to identify which animal it comes from. Marsupials will have a "ladder" medula.


The Hair ID program has a search function which will help you identify the owner of the hair. I've collected many bags of forest debris but only ever found something odd a small number of times. It does work but you have to keep trying. If you don't find any odd hair samples and have no secondary evidence like audio to support your photo or video then I'm afraid your out of luck and your photo or video might as well be nothing but an interesting shot. Words won't mean a whole lot, you need secondary evidence to support your shot.


If you do find something odd then your next step would be a labratory . Unless you know someone on the inside the chances of a labratory confirming an unknown hair sample are zero. This is where politics comes in. Labratories are notorious for failing blind tests for what ever reason. Your unknown hair sample will however be secondary evidence for you photo or video, adding weight to your shot.


One last thing with collecting debris or hair samples, video everything so we can see that you actually went through the process of collecting it and searching through. This will also earn you trust and credibilty.





Click to Watch - How to Collect Hair and Fibre Evidence:







Do yowies poop in the woods, it would appear so. There have been a number of finds over the years of suspect looking scats. A former member on here once sent me a dried and crumbling scat sample which contained rodent, wallaby, pig, possum and deer hair samples. It also contained two types of beetle casings and wild fig seeds. It was sent to a hair "expert" who was puzzled as to who might own the scat. What we didn't know at the time was that the scat may have contained DNA. We were also unaware of how dangerous it was too handle unknown scat and that sending it through the mail may have been illegal.


This is a warning from the book, "SCATS TRACKS AND OTHER SIGNS"


"Many animals carry worms and parasites harmful to humans, and the careless handling of scats can result in infection. Hydatids, a disease in which cysts form in the liver and other organs of humans and some other animals , such as sheep and wallabies, is caused by the larvae of certain tape worms. The eggs in these tapeworms may be present in the scats of Dingoes and Dogs, both wild and domestic, and in foxes, so their scats should be handled with great care and attention to hygiene" .


Here also is a piece from the "HAIR ID" program about scat preparation and extracting hairs from scats and pellets.


"Scats and pellets should be dried at 80 degrees for 24 hours to free them of viable parasite egg. After soaking in water for 24 hours they can be washed in a fine sieve under running water. The remaining material can be flushed into a disecting tray and the individual hairs removed for analysis . Scats and pellets are best sealed in envelopes which have written on them the date, site of collection and type of predator. The scat or pellet should be placed in the envelope with forceps ".


Australia Post. Dangerous and prohibited goods. Infectious substances.


An infectious substance is any substance known to contain pathogens. Pathogens are defined as micro-organisms and other agents such as prions, which can cause disease in humans or animals. Some common examples are Excreta, Parasites human or animal, biological products.


"Australia Post accepts infectious substances in the domestic post subject to conditions"

"The sender of an infectious or non-infectious substance must ensure that the article complies with all state and territory legislation".


Deviating from the above advice may be dangerous to your health and others and we shouldnt consider baking scat in a home oven or sending scat through the mail.


Maybe a second hand microwave from the recyling centre could be used outside the home to kill any parasites contained in collected scats. The scat could then be soaked, sieved, dried and the contents (hairs, beetle casings, seeds) be sent safely through the mail. I would also imagine that inhaling vapours from scat could be harmful.


Please do your own research on the safe handling of scat. Sending fresh scat through the mail is apparently a no no and fines could apply.

Definately worth looking for.




Habituation is expensive and extremely time consuming. It requires dedication, punctuality, patience and deep pockets. "They" will control how the relationship progresses and you may spend 10 or more years trying to get a glimpse of them. Not for the casual researcher.


You may have to become a footprint expert, hair expert, biomechanics expert, primate expert or god knows what else.


The yowie mystery is a puzzle, all we have to do is find the pieces to create the bigger picture, a body of evidence. Document and keep your evidence, it's an important piece of the puzzle.


The best advice I can offer is to get out of the house and start looking!




When you eat chicken on a plate with a knife and fork you put your bones to the side of the plate to be dealt with later. It is thought that these creatures may do the same thing. While eating their prey in a safe place the unedible bones are discarded onto the ground in the same place . After doing this for a while there becomes quite a collection of bones from different species all landing in the one place. This is called a bone assemblage and may be evidence of yowies, keep an eye open for these.





I'm no scientist and I've made my share of mistakes and unfounded claims through inexperience and I now recognise the need to do things in a more scientific way. If we all used the same tools and procedures we might actually get somewhere.

No scientist is going to commit professional suicide to help us which means we have to do this ourselves, it's not impossible, it all depends how determined you are. Determination, hard work and persistance is how things get discovered.

Some researchers may find it too hard , some may not have the time and some may not be interested . We've come to a time in history where the technology has finally arrived that can assist us to collect data. Audio recorders can now record an entire week. High definition CCTV, large capacity hard drives and new battery technology now makes it possible to record and entire weeks activity in remote areas. This wasn't possible 10 years ago. The window has opened, now is the time, it is possible.





History will not change because of an extraordinary claim no matter how many you make. It won't matter if your name appears in the newspaper or if you appear on the national news. We need to get the attention of the scientific community by collecting evidence and doing things in a scientific fashion .


I suppose the whole point is that you don't find yowie footprints everyday and yowie hair samples don't grow on trees. If your going to look for evidence take a tape measure, plaster and a camera or even better a video camera and tripod . Take some unused paper evidence bags and use gloves and plastic overalls so as not to contaminate the site with your own hair. If you do find something cool, at least try to document as much information and facts as possible, you'll only get 1 chance to do it and you'll be glad you did.