All across the world, thousands of reports describe a similar, 6-11 foot tall bipedal ape. Many call it Bigfoot, and some believe it is an ancient hominin. However there may just be another explanation to the sightings of such a creature. Thousands of years ago, a creature called Gigantopithecus was undeniably the King Kong of ancient people. It thrived for 6 million years in Southeast Asia before dying out just a few thousand years ago...or did it?
Dr. Russel Ciochon, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Iowa, says that when Gigantopithecus was standing on its hind limbs, it would have measured up to the eves of a one story house, almost doubling the size of a human. It was about 10 ft tall and 1,100lbs. The fossils of this massive and mysterious creature have been carefully studied, and although scientists only have 3 jaws and 1,100 isolated teeth, they can conclude that it was the largest ape that ever lived. Gigantopithecus was also the only one to go extinct in the Pleistocene, the geological epoch which lasted from about 2,588,000 to 11,700 years ago. But what if this creature did not go extinct...what if it was still thriving, perhaps in a different location than it originally inhabited.
Scientists believe that the land bridge that once connected Siberia to Alaska may have been a possible route for Gigantopithecus to have traveled to North America. Dr.Jeff Meldrum from Idaho State University points out that the environments of both continents share a striking resemblance. If this giant ape has been dwelling in North American forests, then perhaps it could explain the thousands of eye witness reports of an ape-like creature called Bigfoot. Some experts even believe Bigfoot may be a relative of Gigantopithecus. Either way, the countless sightings and descriptions of a giant ape-like creature have been talked about for centuries. Aboriginals have told many stories of giant apes kidnapping their women and children from the village, and different Native American tribes have over 100 names for it.
Dr.Briggs Hall is a Washington State wildlife veterinarian, and he believes the possibility of a giant ape living in the North American forests is high if the creature is nocturnal and very intelligent. But, if this giant ape exists in North America, why did it go extinct in Asia? Aaron Clauset, a computer scientist at the University of Boulder has been studying the extinction of Gigantopithecus. He explains that as an animal gets larger, they become unable to produce offspring as quickly, therefore reducing the population and making them more sensitive to changes. As a result, fluctuations in climate that threatened their food sources caused their ultimate demise. But, if their food source was being affected in Asia, perhaps they were intelligent enough to seek it out elsewhere. If Gigantopithecus really did migrate to the Northwestern United States, then it would have had an abundance of food and water, and it would be able to sustain its population. Until further evidence is discovered, we must assume the extinction of Gigantopithecus. Could Bigfoot be a descendant...or perhaps not an ape at all? Bigfoot may just be closer to us in DNA than we think.
"The Largest Ape That Ever Lived Documentary." YouTube. N.p., 23 July 2015. Web. 03 May 2017.
"The Largest Ape That Ever Lived Was Doomed By Its Size." National Geographic. National Geographic Society, 01 May 2017. Web. 03 May 2017.