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 Post subject: ‘Big Foot’: Chinese Hot on the Trail
PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2019 8:39 pm 
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Los Angeles Times pg. B1 April 10, 1981
Apeman Hunted
‘Big Foot’: Chinese Hot on the Trail
By Michael Parks
Times Staff Writer
Peking – Zhou Xiagqun was gathering wild herbs on the edge of the forest in the Shennongjia Mountains one bright morning late last summer when she felt someone staring at her.
She raised her eyes slowly and saw a hairy, apelike man watching her intensely from perhaps 60 feet away. Both unbelieving and frightened, she summoned her courage and looked again to see that the creature, perhaps 7 feet tall, covered with reddish fur and with long, swinging arms had moved closer.
What to do? Was this some daytime nightmare? She looked up a third time, to see that he was no more than four or five feet away.
Zhou hesitated no longer and fled back to her home two-thirds of a mile away. There, other peasants quickly armed themselves with hoes, poles and a couple of hunting rifles and raced back to the forest. But the wild man was gone.
12-Inch Footprints Found
All this might have been dismissed by Chinese authorities as the product of the vivid imagination of a young country girl affected by peasant stories of apelike men said by legend to inhabit the Shennongjia Mountain forests-were it not for the clear, 12-inch-ling footprints the creature had left in the moist earth.
These were smaller, about two-thirds the size, but very similar to the footprints that teams of Chinese scientists have collected in an intensified search for the “wild man” of the Shennongjia Mountains of Hubei province in east-central China.
Through the winter, spring and summer, the search teams had been collecting footprints, hair and feces. They had found what appeared to be two resent nests and they had listened to various peasant stories of amiable, furry red giants.
But Zhou’s encounter was a breakthrough – a reliable sighting, confirmed with footprints and a trail that was followed deep into the forest.
‘No Longer Superstition’
“We are on the track now,” one of the team leaders told Chinese newsmen. “We are certain we are no longer dealing with something that is part or even wholly superstition.”
Huang Wanpo, a researcher at the Academy of Sciences Institute of Paleoanthropology and Vertebrate Paleontology and an organizer of the Hubei expedition, found support in the first year’s results for his theory that the “wild man” was “man’s next of kin in the evolutionary line.”
Huang had theorized, without much support from fellow scientists, that the Hubei “wild man” was a descendant of the giant ape. Chinese archeologists have found fossils of the giant ape that go back 200,000 years. The heavily forested, 10,000=foot Shennongjia Mountains, with and adjacent 7,000-foot plateau and some deep valleys, may have made it possible, Huang argued for an otherwise extinct species to live on in small numbers, and he had urged the institute to sponsor what is to be a five-year effort to trace and capture on the creatures.
Like the Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas or “Bigfoot,” the hairy giant of the U.S. Pacific Northwest, the “wild man” of Hubei has always had his believers-there are accounts of him throughout China’s 4,000 years of recorded history-but most Chinese scientists have been skeptical that they were dealing with anything but a saint baboon or perhaps an unknown species of bear.
Analysis of the 2,000 fresh footprints, hair, feces and nests found over the past year in the first full-scale effort to track down the “wild man” has convinced even the skeptics that he is neither bear nor ape –nor purely human.
Most of the footprints are about 18 inches long and show very long strides, often more than six feet when he lopes through the forest.
The size and impact of the footprints indicate that, fully grown, the “wild man” is about 8 ½ feet tall and weighs about 550 pounds, according to a field report to the Institute of Paleoanthropology and Vertebrate Paleontology in Peking.
The footprints are human in general form except that the oval-shaped big toe turns outward, scientists from the institute said.
His hair is more like that of the great apes than a bear but has certain characteristics of that of humans.
Two piles of excrement, found while still warm, showed him to be omnivorous, eating both bamboo shoots like the giant panda and small wild animals found in the forest.
He frequently makes a nest of woven bamboo, but moves into some of the 10-foot tall caves of the Shennongjia Mountains in winter weather.
But none of the scientists on the search teams sighted one of the creatures, who are now thought to live in several small tribes, despite traveling back and forth more than 4,000 miles to cover 580 square miles in the Shennongjia Mountains. And no photographs have ever been take of one.
Still, a newsreel documentary film made of the Academy of Sciences search over the past year has proved to be a sensation among Chinese, who are fascinated with monsters, real and legendary, and newspapers here have chronicled the Shennongjia expedition at length.
There was also a report of an attempt by a Shanghai scientist to create an “apeman,” insemination a female chimpanzee with human sperm. The fetus was kept alive in the chimp’s womb, Chinese news media reported until Red Guards destroyed the laboratory in 1967 during the Cultural Revolution.


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This forum will sometimes contain copyrighted information, however, it is placed here under Title 17

Not withstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.