Gigantic Species of Leopard-Eating Chimps Rule the Congo Jungle
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July 16, 2007

Gigantic Species of Leopard-Eating Chimps Rule the Congo Jungle

Chimpanzee_gallery Deep in the jungles of Congo lives a huge band of giant apes that kill lions, go fishing and howl at the moon—or at least that’s what the local hunters claim. However, up until fairly recently, scientists were unable verify those bizarre accounts.

The supposed location of the strange animals was at the center of a bloody civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which meant that the mystery apes were almost completely inaccessible to western scientists. Reaching the region also means traversing the heart of a nearly impenetrable forest.

But despite the difficulties, a handful of scientists have verified the existence of the animals. In truth, the animals are nearly as strange as the locals described them. Scientists have also been able to confirm that they are not gorillas, or a hybrid resulting from Gorillas and chimps mating (as once suspected), but rather they are a sub-species of gigantic chimps with their own unique culture.

Just as the locals claimed, they seem to have a taste for large predator cats. Normally, it is chimps that would be hunted by these fierce predators, but these super-strong, super-sized primates don’t seem to be worried.

Researcher Cleve Hicks, of the University of Amsterdam, spent 18 months in the field watching the “Bili apes”, which were named after a local town. At one point his team of trackers heard the chimps calling for several days from the same spot. When he investigated, Hicks came across a chimp feasting on a leopard.

"What we have found is this completely new chimpanzee culture," said Hicks.

Unlike their cousins, these chimps regularly bed down for the night in nests on the ground. Other chimps are known to nest high up in trees where they are safe from predators.

"How can they get away with sleeping on the ground when there are lions, leopards, golden cats around as well as other dangerous animals like elephants and buffalo?" asks Hicks.

"I don't like to paint them as being more aggressive, but maybe they prey on some of these predators and the predators kind of leave them alone."

The big chimps even seem to be unaffected by the poison arrows used by locals, which are lethal to their smaller cousins. However, Hicks is quick to point out that in spite of their strength they are not known to be aggressive towards humans. To the contrary, researchers have reported that the chimps seem to “recognize” humans as similar creatures and behave with curiosity rather than hostility.

Colin Groves, an expert on primate morphology at the Australian National University in Canberra who has observed the nests in the field says that the strange sub-species is in a category of their own.

"The ground nests were very big and there was obviously something very unusual going on there."

Posted by Rebecca Sato

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Comments

I swear I've seen this in a movie somewhere.

Jeremy, you're probably referring to the worst gorilla movie ever made--Congo, based on the Michael Creighton novel of the same name, where diamond mines of the Congo are guarded by a breed of ferocious, super-evolved gorillas.

This does appear to be a case of life imitating art to a point. But these real life giant chimps are actually quite different from their fictional counter-parts. For one thing, they aren't known to decapitate humans.

However, it is kind of cool that Creighton was right about there being a giant unknown primate lurking in the Congo.

Now if we end up finding gigantic diamonds there as well (that make super-satellites as in the movie), then I'll really be impressed with Creighton's "prophetic" novel. Ha!

biggest made up crap i have ever heard

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bili_ape#The_.27Lion_Killers.27

It's Michael CHRICHTON you illiterate bitch!

@Marley, Tone your hostility down a notch. You come across as a powerless juvenile with limited vocabulary. If this story is true, I'd like to see some footage. If it isn't true, why did the author bother?

Lthis article is the legitimate their is scientific PROOF!!!!

@Marley. LOL it is Crichton not Chrichton. Way to go, bro. FAIL!


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