Temporal range: Pleistocene
|An artist's illustration of Gigantopithecus blacki|
von Koenigswald, 1935
Gigantopithecus was a genus of ape that existed from 1 to 5 million years ago in what is today the countries of China and India. The fossil record suggests that the Gigantopithecus species were the largest apes that ever lived. It was a quadruped and an herbivore and probably had a diet that consisted primarily of bamboo. Although it is not known why Gigantopithecus died out, researchers believe that climate change and resource competition with better adapted species were the main reasons.
Based on the slim fossil evidence, Gigantopithecus was likely near ten feet tall and weighed from 700 to 1200 lb — 2 to 3 times larger than gorillas, although its closest living relatives are the orangutans.
Despite lacking any verified proof such as a corpse or living specimen, some cryptozoology enthusiasts believe Gigantopithecus to be the same creature as or related to certain types of Bigfoot. Cryptozoology is the study of animals believed to not exist by the scientific community, from mainstream famous cryptids with hundreds of sightings and the most evidence [most of which being debunked] such as the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot, to more obscure creatures who's existence has less precedent, such as an Irish Bigfoot, Atmospheric Beasts, and other 'out there' creatures. Bigfoot is the name given to a hoaxed footprint found in 1958, however, the name stuck and is now used to describe the creature allegedly making the many inconclusive footprints that have been found. The Native Americans described a creature known as the Sasquatch, a hairy giant, normally described as having red or brown hair, similiar to the 8 foot tall upright ape being allegedly seen in modern times. In China, Japan, the Himalayas, certain islands, Australia, and even the UK [including Ireland, as mentioned before], stories of hairy human-like creatures, normally eight foot tall, are told, historically and in modern times. Some cryptozoology enthusiasts say Gigantopithecus was a biped, and that it migrated to America, or in some cases, other parts of the world aswell, and is now being called Bigfoot. There is no evidence as of now that Gigantopithecus was a biped, it was a strict herbivore from certain parts of Asia and ate only bamboo, that combined with it's size making it difficult for it to adapt, so it seems this theory is now only supported by the fact that Gigantopithecus was alive at the right time to go to America, aswell as the simularity in colour and size.
In the Media
- Gigantopithecus is a creature in Zoo Tycoon 2: Extinct Animals.
- Gigantopithecus is a limited edition creature in Jurassic Park: Builder. It is portrayed as a carnivore when in reality, it was an herbivore that occasionally ate insects.
- In the 2012 film Ice Age: Continental Drift, the pirate Captain Gutt (voiced by Peter Dinklage) is presented as a Gigantopithecus.
- It appears in ARK: Survival Evolved as a completly biped when it likely walked on its' knucles like most apes.
- In the 2016 live-action adaptation of The Disney film The Jungle Book directed by Jon Favreau, King Louie is portrayed as a Bornean orangutan-resembling Gigantopithecus (as his original orangutan incarnations never inhabited India, although Gigantopithecus should've been extinct by the time the movie took place) and voiced by actor Christopher Walken.