Gigantopithecus: The Real King Kong
Posted on April 14, 2006
Gigantopithecus was a 10-foot tall, 1,200 pound ape that lived in Southeast Asia. Researchers think the enormous ape lived alongside humans during the Pleistocene period before dying out about 100,000 years ago. An image of Gigantopithecus blackii is pictured above. The massive ape would have dwarfed humans.
Jack Rink, associate professor of geography and earth sciences at McMaster University, says in a statement, "A missing piece of the puzzle has always focused on pin-pointing when Gigantopithecus existed. This is a primate that co-existed with humans at a time when humans were undergoing a major evolutionary change. Guangxi province in southern China, where the Gigantopithecus fossils were found, is the same region where some believe the modern human race originated."
Teeth and jawbones have been used by researchers to estimate the size of the ancient ape. These include a huge molar that has a crown measuring about 1 inch across. The researchers say it is believed the huge ape was a herbivore. Some scientists think it had a monster appetite for bamboo. An image of its huge jaw bone can be seen here.
The Wikipedia entry for Gigantopithecus writes that a mock documentary on the 2005 King Kong DVD about Skull Island says that King Kong was based on Gigantopithecus. The fictional King Kong was still at least twice as tall as Gigantopithecus. The Wikipedia article also contains an illustration that shows a size comparison between humans and G. blackii.
Some point towards reports of Bigfoot, Yeti and Abominable Snowmen as evidence the extinct ape may still be alive. However, there is no solid evidence for the existence of any of these creatures.
The History Channel aired a special about Gigantopithecus in 2005 called Giganto: The Real King Kong.