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A Candidate For Sasquatch?

If the North American Bigfoot really does exist and is a flesh-and-blood creature (and is not, as I suspect, something paranormal), then what might it be? Fingers point in the direction of Gigantopithecus blacki. It was a massive ape that lived in the distant past and which some Bigfoot researchers are convinced may explain sightings of large, anomalous apes in some of the wilder, desolate, and forested areas of our planet today. There is just one problem with this particular theory: mainstream science, biology, and zoology all assure us that Gigantopithecus became extinct hundreds of thousands of years ago. Just maybe, however, it didn’t.

In terms of what is known about Gigantopithecus, we have to travel back in time to a relatively recent period: the 1930s. The immense beast has the thorny problem of nothing less than male impotence to thank for its discovery. For years, Chinese herbalists and doctors have utilized fossilized teeth to create cocktails that, so they claim, can cure the embarrassing ailment of being unable to “get it up.” Since the Chinese landscape is rich in fossilized bones, people have made significant profits from selling such items to apothecaries all across China.

It turns out that in 1936 a German man named Ralph von Koenigswald came across a huge fossilized tooth – specifically a molar – in a Hong Kong apothecary. It was highly fortuitous that von Koenigswald was the man that made the discovery, since he was a paleontologist, and instantly recognized the significance of what had fallen into his lap. Not only was the molar giant-sized, von Koenigswald was able to determine it came from a primate – and a large one; a very large one. In the immediate years that followed, von Koenigswald found further such examples and coined the term Gigantopithecus blacki – the former word standing for “gigantic ape” and the latter a reference to a deceased friend Davidson Black. Von Koenigswald was temporarily, and disastrously, interrupted at the height of the Second World War when he became a prisoner of war of the Japanese. Nevertheless, he was not deterred, and, when the hostilities were over, he continued his quest to understand the true nature and life of Gigantopithecus. As did several other people. One of them was an anatomist named Franz Weidenreich.

In his 1946 book, Apes, Giants, and Man, Weidenreich made the controversial assertion that Gigantopithecus may have been far more human-like than ape-like. Chinese scientists also got hot on the trail of Gigantopithecus during this same time frame. Then, in 1956, a massive jawbone of the huge ape was unearthed at a cave in Liucheng, China. The result was that, in a relatively short time, a great deal was learned about this previously unheard of hairy giant. Perhaps most amazing and impressive of all were Gigantopithecus’s statistics: estimates suggested that the height for an adult male would have been around ten-feet, while it might have tipped the scales in excess of 1,000 pounds in weight. As for when it lived, the estimates were intriguing.

One could make an extremely valid argument that since people are still claiming to see giant apes in the very areas where we know Gigantopithecus roamed – such as Tibet, Vietnam, China, and India – this is evidence that the mighty, hairy giant is still among us, but now known by its far more famous names of Bigfoot. There is, however, one problem: due to its massive size, there is a general consensus among primatologists that Gigantopithecus walked on its knuckles.

Bigfoot, the Yeti, and the rest of the monstrous pack are almost exclusively described as standing and walking in an upright fashion. Plus, many of the cryptid apes of our world are described as tall: we’re generally talking about creatures of seven to eight feet in height. Encounters with man-beasts in excess of ten-feet in height are far fewer in number. On top of that, there are even suggestions that Gigantopithecus may have reached – and possibly even surpassed – a height of thirteen feet. This is far in excess of what is generally reported in Bigfoot. Admittedly, however, there are reports from Tibet of a particular type of Yeti referred to as the Nyalmo which, is said to be huge in size. So, are Bigfoot and Gigantopithecus one and the same? The answer, unfortunately, still eludes us.

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Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.
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