- Sasquatch Parallels
- Bili Chimps
- External links
The term 'chimpanzee' technically applies to both the common chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes, and the bonobo, Pan paniscus. They are members of the great ape or Hominidae family. Though often colloquially referred to as 'monkeys,' chimpanzees are in fact not monkeys but are apes (see discussion here).
Common chimpanzees are traditionally divided into three subspecies, western, central, and eastern, though recent studies have suggested further divisions and/or elevation of these groups to species rather than subspecies status. Common chimpanzees differ from bonobos in being only slightly larger, being more carnivorous, and having groups predominantly led by alpha males.
A number of behavioral similarities have been proposed between purported sasquatch behavior and that of great apes, some best illustrated by chimpanzees. These include nest building, possible tool-use, wood knocking, hunting and preying on other animals including mammals, displaying with branches and stones, and are best discussed in John Bindernagel's 1998 book North America's Great Ape: The Sasquatch.
In 1998 a Swiss wildlife photographer, Karl Amman started properly investigating stories of unknown reportedly 'gorilla-like' ape that inhabited a remote area of war-torn northern Democratic Republic of Congo. He had previously photographed mysterious skulls in this region. Initial investigations and reports by Amman and others uncovered some intriguing stories and photographs that led to further investigations that ignited a media frenzy, which Amman has since classified as "not only to have been premature and incorrect, but above all scientifically far fetched and tendentious..."
Connections were immediately made with the most famous undocumented ape, sasquatch, as even Amman linked a number of sasquacth related websites to the Bili Ape page on his website. The sasquatch community embraced the story as good evidence that undocumented apes did indeed exist and even solicited Jane Goodall's opinion in an interview.
The frenzy and widespread speculation on the discovery of a new species, possible hybridization of gorillas and chimpanzees, and accounts of enormous size, lion-killing, and howling at the moon have all turned out to be false. The animal's morphology, behavior and DNA have all revealed them to be little more than a unique population of eastern chimpanzees.
While it may seem noteworthy that even a new population of known great apes was was seemingly so recently "discovered," it should be noted that these chimpanzees, like many other populations of apes including some initial species "discoveries," had been known, seen, and even killed and eaten by local populations long before they were recognized by western society or properly documented by science.
A chimpanzee named Oliver has a long, sordid history of exploitation and mystery because he exhibited a number of abnormal physical characteristics including a preference for walking bipedally. Commonly billed as a human-chimpanzee hybrid or "humanzee," Oliver was also often suspected of being a "missing link" or even a bigfoot. DNA testing has conclusively proven Oliver to be a chimpanzee, most likely of the central African subspecies P.t. troglodytes.