Gigantopithecus was a 10-foot tall, 1,200 pound ape that lived in Southeast Asia. A recent Eureka report says the enormous ape lived alongside humans before dying out 100,000 years ago.
Using a high-precision absolute-dating method (techniques involving electron spin resonance and uranium series), Jack Rink, associate professor of geography and earth sciences at McMaster, has determined that Gigantopithecus blackii, the largest primate that ever lived, roamed southeast Asia for nearly a million years before the species died out 100,000 years ago. This was known as the Pleistocene period, by which time humans had already existed for a million years.
"A missing piece of the puzzle has always focused on pin-pointing when Gigantopithecus existed," explains Rink. "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."
A 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.
As the discovery and description of the creature first occurred in the 1920s, it may have had some influence on the core concept of a super large gorilla-like ape that became King Kong, the movie monster, in the 1933 film classic - in fact, a mock documentary about Skull Island on the DVD for the 2005 remake of the film suggests that Kong's species evolved from Gigantopithecus.
Some point towards reports of Bigfoot, Yeti and Abominable Snowmen as evidence the extinct ape may still be alive. Here are some other interesting articles and resources about Gigantopithecus: